Pictured on the left is the extraordinary group of competitors I met at The Canadian Global Impact Competition. The event is the brainchild of Singularity University in Silicon Valley and takes place in 19 countries each year; Canada’s version happened on April 2nd at the Markham Civic Centre. What you see is five social entrepreneurs who were addressing the challenge, “How can we improve the standard of living for one million Canadians within the next three to five years through the use of technology?”
From left: Finalist Moufeed Kaddoura, of Waterloo, ON proposed safe, simple diagnostic tools that will help clinicians revolutionize health care delivery. Dylan Lidster, of Ucluelet BC, tackled the idea of mobile agrology data disrupting the agriculture industry.Shaharris Beh, 31, of Toronto, ON proposed connecting city technology ecosystems and globally changing the face of local economies. Winner Andrea Palmer-Boroski, and Hannah Bell, of Charlottetown, PEI pitched an idea for low-cost, high-speed, high-quality wireless internet anywhere.
The five finalists were selected from 54 applications from across Canada that were assessed through an exhaustive selection process. The event was led by ventureLAB with the help of many partners, including Innovation Guelph who organized the event in 2014. The event will be led by Communitech in Waterloo for 2016.
The winner was Andrea Palmer-Boroski of Port Moody, BC. She was awarded the first place prize worth $30,000 USD. The 24 year old co-founder of Awake Labs will attend a highly competitive 10-week graduate studies program at Singularity University in California’s Silicon Valley where participants examine ways that technology can create a better world.
Andrea’s idea: A wearable stress and anxiety measurement called Reveal which could make ‘quantified-self health care’ increasingly available for millions of people who suffer anxiety related disorders and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
The People’s Choice award went to Hannah Bell from Charlottetown. She pitched a classic social enterprise model consisting of a web of community and corporate partnerships to drive its mission and business. The business will be enabled by lower-cost technology combined innovatively to provide free, high speed Internet of 5mgbs to those areas not currently not well-served (e.g. rural areas) and those who cannot afford current prices. The business has the potential to be profitable and impactful.
It was a honour to work as a mentor for one of the competitors as part of a group of mentors from ventureLAB. It was a tiring but rewarding experience with such talent applied through hardwork, courage and creativity. For further information on the competition, here are a couple of links: