Sidestix highlighted as success story

Innovation

Christine Wood / Staff Writer
July 3, 2014 10:24 AM

The local company Sidestix was highlighted during a funding announcement by the province last week that will see $3 million go into Mitacs, a not-for-profit research and training organization. From left to right: Kerith Perreur-Lloyd, co-founder and general manager, Sidestix; Sarah Doherty, co-founder, Sidestix; Dr. Arvind Gupta, president and vice chancellor of UBC; Terry Lake, Minister of Health; Megan MacGillivray, UBC student, Mitacs Accelerate intern; and Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Innovation, Technology and Citizens’ Services.

Last week Sidestix was highlighted as the kind of innovative company the government wants to support through Mitacs, a not-for-profit research and training organization.

Sidestix has received three grants through Mitacs in the past that have resulted in research projects proving the benefits of the adaptive forearm crutches dubbed Sidestix. Those research projects are helping the local company improve its design and push to have Sidestix covered by all health care plans.

Currently most extended health care plans cover the cost of Sidestix for people who need them.

On June 25 the provincial government announced it will inject $3 million into Mitacs this year during a press conference where Sidestix owner Sarah Doherty was highlighted and asked to speak.

Sidestix was pointed to as a Mitacs success story, “a perfect example of the sort of small dynamic company that really benefits from research investments,” said Rob Annan, interim CEO with Mitacs.

“They’ve got this great product and a dynamic founder and a lot of potential, and some targeted investments in a few key research areas really helps them make their case both for building their markets, improving their products and so on. So we really think that this is how small companies, generally speaking, can benefit from collaborating with universities.”

Mitacs matches innovative companies with university students who are willing to do the research those companies need and it leverages money from the government to help foot the bill.

“We couldn’t afford these kinds of studies as a small company without the help of Mitacs,” Doherty noted.

“The more validation we get from research and from doctors, the more credit we have in regards to validating our efforts. And we’re really walking the talk. We’re not just saying it, we’re proving it.”

The local company is also diversifying, having just received the U.S. patent for a shock absorbing grip system that can be used on mountain bikes to alleviate stress on wrists and arms.

Doherty said she’s just waiting on the Canadian patent before she starts pitching the product for mass production.

Doherty is also involved in more research projects to prove the benefits of Sidestix this year. Currently she has research projects underway with the Canadian Armed Forces, the University of B.C. and the University of Toronto.

Find out more about Sidestix at www.sidestix.com and learn more about Mitacs at www.mitacs.ca.


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