Sobey School of Business > About Sobey > News > 2017 Durland Innovation Winners

Art, Blood sugar and Chickens – ABCs take the 2017 Durland Innovation Competition

Date Published: May 2, 2017

A cutting edge security technology to protect artists from forgeries and theft.

A wearable technology that helps the millions of diabetes sufferers around the world monitor their glucose.

A technology solution to save the 40% of poultry livestock lost every year to viruses.


On May 2nd, these three business projects, proposed by teams of current Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MTEI) students, were each recognized with a $20,000 innovation investment to help launch. The Durland Innovation Fund was created in 2015 thanks to the generosity of Dr. J. Michael and Catherine Durland.
Each year, the Durland Innovation Fund provides awards to the top three teams from the Sobey School of Business Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MTEI) program. Students in the MTEI program develop innovative technology start-up companies and present promising new ventures to a panel of rigorous industry judges. Six teams competed this year.

The winning teams and their members were Art Trust (Mohamed El Kandri, Sean Kelly, and Akshay Gupta), Providenc (Hamed Khorrami, Parvathy Nair, and Brendan Nkala) and Diamon (Tiffany James).
Saint Mary’s Sobey School of Business has an ambitious vision to increase the number of technology start-ups in Canada and propel innovation and entrepreneurial activity in the Maritimes. The first graduate level professional degree program of its kind in Atlantic Canada, the Sobey School of Business Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MTEI) attracts students from the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and develops them into entrepreneurial professionals conversant in lean startup practices.
The Durlands are both graduates of the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University. Mike holds a PhD in Finance and Operations Research from Queen’s University, and was awarded his Honorary Doctorate from Saint Mary’s in 2010. He is the President and CEO of Melancthon Capital, a private company which provides capital and advisory services to socially purposeful emerging Canadian companies. Mike also holds the position of Professor of Practice at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, is the Chair of the Board of Directors of, and is a founding principal in Cabot Links. He serves on the boards of TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture, the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and Capitalize for Kids. He is a member of the Business Strategy Committee for the Global Risk Institute, a member of advisory boards for Riipen Networks Inc, the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, the Center for Social Impact at Queen’s University and the Master of Management Analytics Program at Queen’s University. Mike is a former Group Head and CEO, Global Banking and Markets for Scotiabank.

Catherine was born in Amherst Nova Scotia, and is a graduate of Saint Mary's University - BCom, 87. For the past 30 years Catherine has been highly involved in her community and has held a leadership role in a number of charitable organizations. Today, she is principally engaged in the family business. She is the CFO of Melancthon Capital, and plays an active role in a number of start up companies.

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