Innovation Guelph client Milieu Technologies Ltd.  is heading to the finals of the International Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition in Shenzhen, China in April, following the company’s successful pitch at a regional competition in Toronto March 18.

Toronto was one of eight cities worldwide to host regional rounds of the competition, which offers the opportunity for high-calibre talent and projects to win funding of up to $240,000, access to venture capital and China government grants, as well as office space to develop and launch their technologies and build their companies in Shenzhen.

Milieu, a tech company dedicated to “data-driven city building,” won entry to the City of Guelph’s Civic Accelerator pilot program in September 2016. Since then, the company has been working with the City and partners such as Innovation Guelph to improve planning notifications through a web applications that connects citizens, urban developers and City officials. The goal is to increase channels for citizen participation, and help cities and urban developers engage citizens to build consensus and harness the power of civic intelligence to make confident decisions for land use planning and development. A city-wide pilot is set to launch in mid-2017.

The Civic Accelerator experience and the Toronto competition are opening doors to “other opportunities outside of Guelph and globally,” said Milieu co-founder Luisa Ji.

Milieu has also received financial and mentoring support through the Innovation Guelph Fuel Injection Seed Funding Program, which enabled the successful completion of the Civic Accelerator project, resulting in the development of a digital toolkit for civic engagement. The toolkit includes a civic engagement platform and a lightweight widget, known as Urbot, which can be deployed to any website. Both collect public feedback and conduct sentiment analysis.

The Fuel Injection program also provided Milieu with advice and coaching from several Innovation Guelph mentors, who helped the company shape its business plan and story.

“The selection process for the Guelph Civic Accelerator was critical to identifying candidates who had the passion to make a big difference in the world as well as appropriate innovations to make it happen,” said Innovation Guelph mentor Jeff Campbell.  “It’s great to see this validation from the Toronto innovation competition. We’re excited to see Milieu ready to compete in China with an outstanding civic engagement solution backed by a world-class business plan.”