Student’s talents garner national attention

By Lindsay DucharmeAnand Shad Valley ( first right)

Anand Mathew may still be in high school, however, his talents are already garnering national attention. Mathew was recently recognized in Waterloo, Ontario at the Shad Valley Entrepreneurship Cup, a competition meant to inspire and promote the entrepreneurial spirit among Canadian youth.

“The Shad Valley Entrepreneurship Cup is a visible manifestation of our mission in action – unleashing the entrepreneurial and innovative potential of exceptional youth,” said Barry Bisson, President of Shad Valley International. “Shad Valley instills self-confidence that empowers our students to develop the attributes needed for success in entrepreneurship – qualities such as passion, vision, resilience and determination. This entrepreneurial process, from idea to execution, enables youth to witness a transformation in themselves and their team.”

“The Shad Valley Entrepreneurship Cup is an extension of Shad Valley’s annual four-week enrichment program. A platform for students to learn to lead among leaders and use their creativity and knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to develop solutions to real world problems, the Shad program offers workshops, lectures and team-building activities run by industry and academic leaders to top students from grades 10-12 as they live in residence at top Canadian university campuses.”

Mathew, a grade 12 student at Westwood Community High School, got involved in the competition when he attended Shad Valley’s summer enrichment program.  During the program Mathew joined forces with nine fellow participants and decided to enter the competition.

“The theme of this year’s program was improving the safety and efficiency of year round human powered transportation in Canada.  Our project was VISIBL, it was a LED infused jacket that alerted drivers of vehicles to the presence and turning path of cyclists,” he explained.

“After doing some research we discovered that the bike is the most common and popular form of human transportation and we wanted to better increase the efficiency and safety of this experience.  When we noticed that many collisions occurred because drivers could not see cyclists and could not predict their turning paths because hand signals were not clear, we decided to incorporate LED lighting to increase visibility.  And we made a jacket and included gloves which have sensors that connect the jacket and you can control the LED lighting.”

VISIBL, who competed against 14 fellow Shad alumni groups, received top honours in four of seven award categories including: Best Overall, Best Application of Theme, Best Marketing Plan and Best Business Plan.

Mathew said although it was his interest in engineering that lead him to attend Shad Valley initially, the experience has opened his eyes to new passions and career opportunities.

“This summer the SHAD Valley program taught us how to write a business plan and increase our knowledge in engineering facets. It was great.  I specifically worked on the marketing part of the project. It has definitely exposed me to new interests and post-secondary options.  Before I was solely focused on engineering, but now the business side has also appealed to me. Now I would like to attend University and pursue an engineering degree and then pursue an MBA after that. This whole experience has made me realize I have a passion for business I had never discovered before.”

Shad Valley is currently accepting applications for 2014 until December 12. High school students with high academic achievement as well as exceptional drive, initiative and creativity are encouraged to investigate the opportunity. For more information visit the website at www.shad.ca.