Brownoff started her career as a dietitian, then she shifted to interior design. You might remember her writing about community and design in the Edmonton Journal. She also became a business coach, and in the course of that work, she began to see a need for a tool to help employees take care of their own mental wellness. She and human-resources professional Danielle Bragge started VR Pathways to meet that need by combining virtual reality and cognitive behavioural therapy.
VR Pathways is in Cohort 2 of the TELUS Community Safety and Wellness Accelerator powered by Alchemist X, one of several accelerators that came to Edmonton as part of the Alberta Scaleup and Growth Accelerator Program. The accelerator "has been amazing," Brownoff said.
"This is a unique opportunity because it came to Edmonton. We've always had to go everywhere else," she said. "The other great thing about this is that they're bringing 20 different companies from across the world."
Two of VR Pathways' fellow cohort members are local — Technology North and Islamic Family — but the rest are from elsewhere, which creates valuable cross-pollination and introduces entrepreneurs from places like Australia, Israel, or the UK to Edmonton. It has made a positive impression, she said.
"A lot of times, they would make phone calls, phone calls, phone calls, and never hear back from anybody. They'd (send) emails out, never hear back. This city responded. And they were like, 'This is an amazing place.' So it's pretty cool to hear that."
Learn more about Brownoff's journey and what's next for VR Pathways, as well as a roundup of what's new with the various accelerators, in the Oct. 20 episode of Taproot's podcast about innovation in Edmonton.