TORONTO, February 24, 2012 — University of Waterloo students were named the winners of the 2012 RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge. The university team was awarded $20,000 by a panel of RBC senior executives after presenting their idea for an innovation that will help Canadians at different life stages to achieve financial security.
The winners of the 2012 RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge, the Inspirators, accept their $20,000 prize.
"We're thrilled to be chosen as the winners of the 2012 Next Great Innovator Challenge - it's a great honour. This national competition has been a winning experience in itself," said John Zupancic on behalf of the team. "Not only did we network with RBC executives and win a great prize, we will also be interviewing with an RBC recruiter. In today's competitive job market, the Challenge has been an invaluable opportunity to get our foot in the door and have a taste of the corporate experience."
The winning team focused on mobile banking and showcased a new opportunity for RBC to help Canadians use this platform to achieve their financial goals. The team's submission will help ensure that young Canadians do not have to compromise when seeking financial advice through non-traditional methods.
The finalists of the 6th annual RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge join Morteza Mahjour, Chief Information & Operations Officer, and Avi Pollock, Vice President, Innovation & Strategic Planning, after the awards ceremony.
Since its start in 2006, the RBC Next Great Innovator Challenge has received almost 600 post-secondary student team submissions and over 2,200 students have participated. The five finalist teams this year were selected from the 21 schools that competed across Canada. A team from Queen's University was the runner-up, winning $10,000; while the other three team finalists - two from Queen's and one from the Rotman School of Management - each received $5,000. For the first time since the inception of the challenge, all finalists will have the opportunity to interview with an RBC recruiter.
"Each year I'm more impressed with the calibre of our students and their innovative concepts and ideas," said Morteza Mahjour, Chief Information & Operations officer, RBC, and a judge of this year's competition. "At RBC, innovation means constantly challenging the status quo - looking for new ways to approach our work and bringing those ideas to life. The Innovation Challenge brings us fresh and diverse perspectives, and the opportunity to meet young, talented people who are eager to contribute to our innovative culture."
Numerous ideas put forward by competing students over the last six years have been tested and streamlined in the RBC Experiential Lab, and some have been developed for use at RBC. One of RBC's most popular online expense tracking, budgeting and saving tools, myFinanceTracker, was inspired by a past submission.
Challenge submissions were evaluated by the RBC Applied Innovation team and narrowed down to the top 15 proposals. A panel of RBC executives then selected the top five entries as finalists.
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Lauren Raley, RBC, 416-313-6496,