MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Virtuous Waste, a team of five students from the University of Waterloo’s Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, outshone 46 other competitors from across Canada to emerge as winners of the 2019 World Vision Social Innovation Challenge. The team will receive $25,000 in seed capital over a 12-month incubation period.
The Virtuous Waste team’s winning pitch proposed environment-friendly sachets made from seaweed which is water-soluble and infused with an organic cleaning solution that can eliminate pollution from water sources such as rivers or lakes, while promoting biodiversity.
“We wanted to create change, and that's what we get to do now: make change happen. This incredible journey started with an idea in January. We can’t wait to connect with communities where the idea will be implemented and empower people to improve their environment,” said Amirah Mohamed, co-founder of Virtuous Waste.
The World Vision Social Innovation Challenge is an annual pitch competition that invites and rewards the most creative technology, social, and environment ideas by Canadian innovators to help communities in developing countries solve issues affecting them locally.
This year’s challenge focused on the plastic waste problem in the Philippines city of Ilo Ilo, which churns out over 300 tons of trash daily, clogging up its river arteries and putting thousands of young children at risk of water- and air-borne diseases. Past winners have helped farmers in Nepal increase their crop yields dramatically through water management techniques while another winner showed farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa how to convert agricultural waste into fuel briquettes.
“The Social Innovation Challenge celebrates of Canada’s extraordinary innovators and change-makers,” said David O’Leary, Director of Impact Investing, World Vision Canada. “By focusing on tangible solutions, our participants can combine technology and design to promote sustainable development in communities across the world.”
- The Social Innovation Challenge supports Canada’s young entrepreneurial minds creating market-based solutions to some of the world’s most difficult development challenges.
- Winning team Virtuous Waste proposed replacing plastic packaging with environment-friendly seaweed packaging that can eliminate pollution, toxins and diseases from water sources, while promoting diversity.
About World Vision
World Vision is a relief, development and advocacy organization working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by our Christian values, World Vision is dedicated to working with the world’s most vulnerable people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.