Dawson City birch sap skincare idea wins 2017 Yukon Innovation Prize

WHITEHORSE— Elise McCormick and Joanne Sherrard from Dawson City have won the 2017 Yukon Innovation Prize. McCormick and Sherrard were awarded the $60,000 grand prize today by Stephen Rose, Assistant Deputy Minister, Yukon Economic Development, and Stephen Mooney, Director, Cold Climate Innovation at Yukon College, in a ceremony at Ayamdigut campus.

McCormick and Sherrard’s winning project proposed Aurum Birch Sap Skincare – a line of facial care products made with natural compounds found in raw birch sap. They will now use the $60,000 to further bring their idea to commercialization.

“We are really excited. This support from the Yukon Innovation Prize gives us the opportunity to bring our product to market much sooner than we would have been able to,” said Joanne Sherrard.

From 23 initial submissions, the shortlist was made up of four ideas from five Yukon innovators with high market and commercialization potential in health and wellness. The finalists each received $10,000 to further develop their idea, providing evidence of its technical and economic viability, and compete for the grand prize.

One of the finalists, Lisa Kanary, withdrew from the competition last month. The remaining four finalists presented their three final proposals and directly pitched the judges this morning.

The Yukon Innovation Prize was created in 2014 by Cold Climate Innovation at Yukon College and Government of Yukon’s Economic Development to invigorate and support Yukon innovators.

“We are proud to support this year’s innovation prize to help Yukoners develop and market innovative products, grow their businesses, and create economic opportunities.  This aligns with our government’s key goal to develop Yukon’s innovation and knowledge economy, encouraging economic growth and sustainability in the Yukon,” said the Honourable Ranj Pillai, Minister of Economic Development.

There are seven key programs that operate under YRC at Yukon College: Biodiversity Monitoring, Cold Climate Innovation, Northern Climate ExChange, NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Mine Life Cycle, NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Northern Energy Innovation, Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic, and Technology Innovation.