By Paul Heidebrecht
For those of us who work and study in universities, there are distinct rhythms to each semester, and right now we are entering a time of endings. Classes are wrapping up, major projects are coming due, and exams are looming. Meetings and publication deadlines that some of us have managed to put off are starting to pile up. And, right on cue, the University of Waterloo is providing a dizzying array of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to test and showcase their efforts.
On November 13, Entrepreneurship @ Environment awarded the Jack Rosen Memorial Award for Environmental Innovation (and $3,000) to Team Trum.
The next night, the Quantum Valley Investments® Problem Pitch Competition awarded $7,500 to two winning teams to further research and develop a solution to their identified problems. And then on November 20, four of the ten teams pitching at the Concept $5k Finals received $5,000 to support their ongoing efforts.
Looking ahead, on December 3 at 6 pm, I’m eager to join our friends at the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business to hear from some promising social entrepreneurs (including Anna Kuepfer, Incubator Fellow and co-founder of SheCycle) at this year’s Hult Prize Finals. And then at 4 pm on December 5, I’ll be heading next door to St. Paul’s University College for the GreenHouse Social Impact Showcase and another window into how “young people are finding purpose, taking action and creating impact.”
As I have written elsewhere, if anyone is looking for a dose of inspiration and hope, there is nothing like attending a pitch competition!
Even better, you can take all that inspiration and do something small to make the world a better place. Check out the annual Make-A-Difference Market organized by Grebel’s Peace Society on December 7 from 10 am to 4 pm, which will include local and fair-trade vendors, a food and bake sale, and a silent auction and live music performances to support the efforts of SheCycle.
Of course, the innovation ecosystem in our broader region is not beholden to academic schedules, means that anyone interested in PeaceTech will have no shortage of potential distractions from their final exams. For example, on December 10 at 7 pm, I’ll be attending the 4th Waterloo Symposium on Technology & Society featuring Douglas Rushkoff speaking about “Team Human,” his manifesto for the future of civilization and human nature.
What a community to be a part of!