How mentorship from a Dragons' Den star changed this Toronto company

Nov 6 2019, 12:44 pm

Technology is accelerating at a faster pace than ever before, inspiring Canadian companies to break boundaries and create innovative products with the goal of making a difference in people’s lives.

In Toronto, this is exactly what SenseTech Solutions is doing by developing accessible and realistic VR and AR simulations for those living with a disability.

Of course, like any small business, SenseTech Solutions needs mentorship and capital to work towards smashing their next goal. Earlier this year, the team received exceptionally good news when they emerged as one of three winners of Staples Canada‘s “This is How I Grow My Business” contest.

Since then, the Toronto-based company has been receiving support from Staples with $20,000 worth of new technology and Solutionshop services as well as mentorship from style icon and champion of entrepreneurs, Joe Mimran.

SenseTech Solutions/Staples Canada

SenseTech Solutions was founded by four engineering graduates who met when they attended York University: Ali Raza Syed, Rui Amoah, Robert Ingino, and Rijul Aggarwal. During their time at university, they worked on a project for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), which allowed them to discover the need for a specific kind of technology.

“Once we had made our first simulation, we saw how it affected people’s lives, and it was a really good feeling to see instant gratification for what you’re doing,” CEO of SenseTech Solutions, Robert Ingino, tells Daily Hive. “From there, it inspired me and my team to start our company.”

Today, SenseTech Solutions creates simulations that replicate environments for training and rehabilitation for those who need it most. They also create simulations that act as outreach tools for organizations to raise disability awareness.

“We are currently mainly serving CNIB in expanding the virtual reality that’s available to their clients. But we’re also going across other sectors of disabilities, such as wheelchair accessibility, and even the health sector,” says Ingino.

Ingino says the experience of working with Mimran has been great. “It gave us the chance to see how our business is doing from a really professional perspective. He [Mimran] was going right down to the base of our company and trying to understand what our values are, from the ground up.”

Mimran gave the SenseTech Solutions team advice that spoke to the backbone of their company, Ingino says, which is all about getting the best customer experience for their simulations.

SenseTech Solutions/Staples Canada

“It was very eye-opening to have that alignment,” Ingino explains. In case you’re wondering, the entrepreneur says Mimran was very welcoming — despite his tough-guy demeanour on Dragon’s Den.

Working with Staples has changed many facets of the SenseTech Solutions business; it also provided the founders with access to the latest computers with virtual reality capabilities to do their work. Solutionshop services are also being used for the company’s marketing efforts, something that will help them during upcoming trade shows throughout the rest of the year.

SenseTech Solutions/Staples Canada

Ingino says the team is now going to take the insights learned from Mimran and continue to improve on the work that they’re doing.

“We have a bunch of upcoming projects that involve multitudes of virtual reality experiences that would be perhaps like a job simulator, or like a restaurant. These experiences will help people in their communities gauge their experiences and get rehabilitation training, or outreach experience, from our work.”

Curious to learn more about the work that SenseTech Solutions is doing? Ingino encourages everyone to come down to the CNIB on Yonge Street to see what they’re creating for people living with disabilities.