Courtesy of the Open Innovation Challenge, Simon Park received $15,000 toward Caboost, his electric bike innovation. Travis Paterson/News Staff

South Island innovators win $15,000 each for ideas to improve Victoria

Smart South Island Innovation Challenge funds new ideas and entrepreneurship

Three Island innovations have received a $15,000 kick-start, thanks to the Smart South Island Innovation Challenge.

The challenge was to create a product or service to improve lives within the Smart South Island key priority areas. These include transportation and mobility, housing and affordability, human health, environmental health, and economic resilience and inclusion.

Ten finalists were chosen to go before a panel of judges to answer exactly how their innovation was sustainable, practical and accessible to the community.

“We were overwhelmed by the quality of the submissions. Choosing 10 from the 69 was no small task, and coming up with a top three was extremely difficult,” says South Island Prosperity Project CEO Emilie de Rosenroll.

“We have already been getting tremendous feedback from participants that this challenge has made a huge difference for catalyzing their ideas – even for those who didn’t win the cash prizes. The value of going through a fun, challenging and stimulating process like this is hard to quantify.”

The winners were Caboost (in the field of transport and mobility), Harvesting Abundance in the Urban Orchard (economic resilience and inclusion), and Naloxone Pal (human health).

“It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve learned so much,” says University of Victoria engineering student Simon Park, whose innovation is a battery-powered bicycle technology he calls Caboost. Driven to make electric bike transportation more affordable, Park said he developed his business plan and made important contacts during the Challenge.

Matthew Kemshaw’s winning project is an app to support Harvesting Abundance in the Urban Orchard, a program for those who want to harvest food within urban areas. Kemshaw will use his cash prize to develop the gleaming hub technology that will power his innovation.

Nal-Pal is the nickname of the third winning innovation presented at the Challenge on Sunday. Derek Jacoby and his team designed an app to link people to the destination of naloxone kits.

“The idea is to establish a network of people who can help in the case of overdose,” he said. “The level of innovation is more social and answering need than it is technical.”

The public event at UVic was presented by Island Savings. More information on the winners can be found at smartsouthisland.ca.

The Innovation Challenge is an initiative of the South Island Prosperity Project, the regional economic development agency for south Vancouver Island.

anna.james@vicnews.com

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