James Perreault, a junior finance major at Saint Mary’s, had an opportunity to pitch his idea for a sanitizing system for wheelchairs and other hospital equipment, called UVCanopy, to medical professionals at Mayo Clinic as part of the Mayo Walleye Tank competition. To qualify for the competition, he first had to pass a Student Entrepreneurial Showcase, a collaboration between Saint Mary’s Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, Collider Coworking, and the Mayo Clinic Office of Entrepreneurship. Perreault not only passed and qualified for the junior angler division of Walleye Tank, he also won the Audience Favorite Award and was the only undergraduate student to qualify for the competition. Other competitors included medical professionals and graduate students from Ivy League Schools.
UVCanopy uses germicidal Ultraviolet-C light to kill bacteria in a tunnel-shaped device. Perreault explains that medical equipment or wheelchairs would be pushed through the tunnel via a conveyor belt, eliminating human error, saving time, and reducing dependency on hazardous sterilization chemicals. Target users would be nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Although he didn’t win, Perreault said several angel investors contacted him to tell him they’d like to hear more.