2021 Jack Rosen pitch competition winners announced

11 teams of student entrepreneurs presented their ideas for sustainable businesses, find which ideas stole the show

The 2021 Jack Rosen pitch competition was held virtually for the first time on February 3, 2021. A total of 11 teams consisting of 26 students joined the Dragon’s Den style pitch competition for the chance to win a grand prize of $3,000 or an honorable mention of $1,000. Over 100 people from across Canada and internationally joined in to watch top student entrepreneurs pitch their innovative ideas to solve, mitigate or avoid an environmental problem. 

Blue BoxAmong those attending were family members of Jack Rosen, an environmental innovator instrumental in establishing Canada’s first “Blue Box” recycling program. The familie's generous donation makes the sustainable-entrepreneurship event possible.  

In addition to the Rosen family we had three judges attend the competition. They were, Paul Neto, co-founder, Chief Marketing Officer at Measure Protocol, a blockchain-powered economy for human-generated data, Tania Del Matto, Director of GreenHouse and Dr. Georgina O’Farrill, Outreach and Partnerships Officer at Commission for Environmental Cooperation. 

As each of the teams presented the judges’ decision grew harder. While the judges deliberated, Kelsey Leonard, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Environment and Water Scholar/Activist advocating for Indigenous water rights presented on the concept of Indigenous sustainability.

With their verdict in, ultimately it was the final group of student entrepreneurs who captured the judges’ imagination the most.  

Decomp, a venture ideated by Isabella Daneyko, a 2nd year Biomedical Engineering undergraduate student, Munira Lakdawala, a 3rd year Chemical Engineering undergraduate student, Haya EL-Merheby, a 2nd year Environment, Resources and Sustainability undergraduate student, Gabriel Saunders, MBET BA Business and Political Science, and Tooba Mohtsham, MBET MSc Biochemistry, BSc Biochemistry. addressed plastic waste pollution and the consequences of greenhouse gas associated with it. As they imagine it, Decomp works as an organic plastic waste disposal solution using bioreactor technology to create and maintain the optimal growing conditions for plastic degrading microbes. 

With the presentation of all teams done, the judges deliberated and concluded that Decomp were the Grand Prize winners of the 2021 Jack Rosen pitch competition, taking home $3,000 and an opportunity to connect further with the judges about taking their idea to market. In addition to this, team Prokaryo and team Circular Harvest Farm Co. Ltd received honorable mentions and won $1,000 each. 

A large congratulations to Decomp, and also to all the competitors that took part. While there can be only one winner, we are happy to showcase each of the groups’ idea, as they too can play a part in building a sustainable future together.  

Team Name 


Electric Aviation Canada 

Team Electric Aviation Canada aimed to implement and integrate electric training aircraft into the licensing requirements for pilots to help resolve the immense amount of fuel used during standard aircraft training for airline pilots, and to lower operation costs while drastically reducing carbon emissions.  


University of Waterloo 

Team University of Waterloo addressed the labor-intensive and time-consuming manual methods used for measuring soil water content. Their proposed solution was to use reflected GPS signals from a Drone to study the reflectivity of the soil to retrieve soil water content values. 


Beyond Energy 

Beyond Energy aimed to reduce the high demand for non-renewable fossil fuels. Their proposed solution was to reduce fossil fuel use by decreasing household energy use, specifically water heating. They introduced an easy-to-use temperature reading device that would monitor and notify the person of the current water temperature from anywhere in the house to ensure that they are not using more energy than needed. 


Spirulina solutions 

Spirulina solutions addressed eutrophication and malnutrition by taking cyanobacteria out of water sources and converting it into a nutrient dense and affordable supplement called spirulina.  




Re-Source addressed economic development for poverty eradication through Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM). MCDM is a tool to provide a more holistic decision-making resource for communities that acknowledge the interconnectivity of economic indicators with social and environmental outcomes. 



MAV addressed unsustainable management of coastal areas by implement a VR digital coast manager. This virtual reality-based platform would allow for planning professionals to explore and simulate the impact of their decisions and actions on coastal areas.  


Circular Harvest Farm Co. Ltd.  


Circular Harvest Farm Co. Ltd. addressed the loss of nutritional value of fresh herbs and leafy greens due to international shipping, traditional methods of pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. Their proposed solution was to leverage vertical hydroponic technology to grow and provide fresh crops year-round using less water, a smaller amount of land and zero pesticides. 



Status aimed to destigmatize mental health in the aviation industry through an app that is specifically designed for pilots to help eliminate mental health issues in the field through normalization, discussion, and empowerment.  


Cryptic Cobalt  


The 9th team, Cryptic Cobalt addressed the issues around the lack of transparency and ethical behaviour in the cobalt mining industry. Their proposed solution was to implement a distributed ledger technology (DLT) called blockchain to ensure transparency and ethical supply chain practices. 




The 10th team, Prokaryo addressed the use of chromium tanning in the production of leather which results in the pollution of leftover chemicals and hazardous waste. Their proposed solution was to genetically engineer bacteria to produce a leather-like textile that would use less resources than traditional leather and plastic alternatives.  



Decomp addressed plastic waste pollution and the consequences of greenhouse gas associated with it. As they imagine it, Decomp works as an organic plastic waste disposal solution using bioreactor technology to create and maintain the optimal growing conditions for plastic degrading microbes.