Innovation Guelph, headed by executive director Anne Toner Fung, is a regional accelerator conglomerate in southwestern Ontario, Canada. The organization’s ventures include a coaching and education program called Speedway, a business scale-up program called Fast Lane, a seed funding program called Fuel Injection, an initiative to increase the number of women-owned businesses in the area called The Rhyze Project, and more.
The annual awards
Some of the Innovation Guelph programs regularly give out awards; and, each year the overall group honors one startup and one SME (small or medium-sized enterprise).
The award for Startup of the Year “recognizes some of Innovation Guelph’s exciting start-up clients. These companies have high future potential and are poised to make a big difference in the world around us,” according to the group’s website.
Local industry leaders serve as judges and consider nominated businesses according to the following 5 criteria: “progress in past year” as indicated by an increase in revenue, number of new hires, product development, proof of market potential, and funding); “high future potential,” “ability to execute,” “coachability of founder(s),” and “proactive use of Innovation Guelph’s programs and services for entrepreneurs.”
This year, Altilis Beauty, founded and led by Kenna Whitnell, was recognized as Startup of the Year. In a Tweet shared the day after the awards event, @AltilisBeauty posted: “We feel so extremely honoured to have won the Start Up Of The Year Award from @InnovateGuelph at the @GuelphChamber's Business Awards of Excellence Gala. Thank you to everyone who has helped us on our journey so far!”
The winning startup
Atilis Beauty and its parent company Soleluna Cosmetics Inc. were founded by Kenna Whitnell, a biochemistry major at the University of Guelph.
Altilis is short for Artocarpus altilis, the taxonomic name for Breadfruit. Breadfruit trees are native to the South Pacific and related to the Mulberry tree. Altilis Beauty products are formulated with ingredients derived from Breadfruit tree flowers.
The Breadfruit flower ingredients are, according to the Altilis Beauty site, “incredibly rich in unique and powerful phytochemicals with antioxidant, soothing and protective benefits for the skin. The compounds scavenge free radicals that damage and age skin, provide anti-inflammatory and UVB-protective properties and replenish the skin’s natural protective barrier for a glowing complexion.”
Atilis Beauty currently retails a portfolio of products 7 deep, not including bundles and samples sizes. There is a day cream, a facial cleanser, a serum, a moisturizer, a hand cream, a body butter (which also includes Cannabis sativa), and a lip balm.
According to an Innovation Guelph blog post about this year’s award winners, “Altilis Beauty…is disrupting the cosmetics industry through the sourcing of effective, innovative and environmentally responsible ingredients.”
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.