Vancouver startup brings renewable energy to remote communities – Environment
Sumreen and her father, Daljit Singh Rattan, at the 2019 IKB Women in Technology scholarship ceremony
Sumreen Rattan’s love for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) began in childhood. Her father was a mechanical engineer and nurtured her interest in the field, often taking her to work with him, where she was first exposed to female engineers in managerial positions. From an early age he knew that Sumreen could achieve this as well and encouraged her to pursue her passion.
Despite being one of only three women in her first-year engineering courses at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Sumreen was determined to succeed. She has faced internal struggles including impostor syndrome and the lack of diversity and representation of women in the field, especially women of color, but during her undergraduate degree, the confidence of Sumreen grew up. She had access to resources such as Coast Capital Savings Business Connection Program, SFU’s start-up incubator, which helped it thrive.
Entrepreneur at heart, Sumreen is now a recent graduate of the Mechatronic Systems Engineering program at SFU, as well as the co-founder and COO of Energy of the moment, a start-up that strives to provide better access to renewable and reliable energy storage.
The company is giving electric vehicle batteries a second life by converting them into clean energy storage units that can help remote and off-grid communities inexpensively switch to renewables, providing a much needed solution to the energy intermittence and redirecting these batteries. landfills. âSolar energy cannot be generated when there is no sun,â Sumreen shares. “Our energy storage units solve this problem by storing renewable energy so that users can access it at any time.”
Moment Energy co-founder and CTO Gabriel Soares (left) and chief engineer James Evans (right) installing their battery system in an off-grid environment
Sumreen and his Moment Energy co-founders – Gabriel Soares, Eddy Chiang and Gurmesh Sidhu – met at SFU, finding common ground in their passion for clean energy and their experience in building the electric vehicle fleet of SFU (Team Phantom). Together, they were introduced to the Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection program through entrepreneurship resources at SFU and, with support from the program, created Moment Energy in 2019.
The Venture Connection program provides students like Sumreen and the Moment Energy team with the resources and opportunities they need to explore their passions. Through mentoring, training, networking and more, they receive invaluable advice and support to explore their passions.
âPursuing entrepreneurship versus a full-time job after graduation was a huge risk,â Sumreen said. Without Venture Connection, Sumreen doesn’t know that she and her co-founders could have gone this route. As winners of the Social Impact Award in Venture Connection’s annual Venture Prize competition, Moment has gained legitimacy, experiencing increased public exposure and awareness, which has enabled it to connect and build relationships that will contribute to their long life. success in the long term. The prize also featured a monetary prize, which allowed them to keep operating and working while raising their first equity funding.
For Sumreen, one of the strengths of Venture Connection was the opportunity it gave him to attend events such as Pitch for the Purse, which brings together women entrepreneurs so they can share their visions of business. business to get the funding, community and support they grow. “It was so inspiring to see where other women in the startup community started and where they are now.”
Sumreen in attendance at SFU Surrey Tech Entrepreneurship Event.
Now, Sumreen is excited to make her own mark as a woman entrepreneur in STEM. She strongly believes that early education and advocacy are essential to open doors for women in the field and present these disciplines as viable career options. âWith education and marketing or media that showcase women on the ground, young girls will see people like them in these roles and know it’s achievable,â says Sumreen. She hopes that as a representative of women of color in STEM, she too can encourage and inspire other women.
Sumreen’s passion for using technology and his skills as an engineer for “the greater good” fuel his vision for the future: to gain recognition for Moment Energy around the world for the reuse of electric vehicle batteries. and be a force for good in the world. âYou can have a positive impact on the environment and a successful business. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.