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Canadian Landmine Foundation supports GreenHouse startup The Landmine Boys

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Richard Yim and supporters

Left to right: Paul Heidebrecht, Richard Yim, Lloyd Axworthy, Tania Del Matto

St. Paul’s GreenHouse Fellow Richard Yim and his social-purpose startup, The Landmine Boys, have received $5,000 in funding from the Canadian Landmine Foundation (CLMF), a national organization based in Waterloo with a mission to raise awareness and funds to end the human and economic suffering caused by landmines.

“This donation is very much in accordance with our mandate, which increasingly includes connecting and working with people and organizations focused on these goals,” said Chris Snyder, Chair of the CLMF. “This collaboration with St. Paul’s and The Landmine Boys clearly meets these objectives and we are excited about the possibilities that this could lead to in removing landmines and the improvement it could bring to many people around the world.”

Richard is a recent University of Waterloo Engineering grad who, during his stay at the St. Paul’s GreenHouse social impact incubator, has been working on a robotic device that will allow landmines to be neutralized on site without human supervision so that fewer people will be at risk of injury or death. He used funding from GreenHouse to successfully test a first prototype in Cambodia in December 2015 and is working on the next iteration.

Landmines still exist in at least 80 countries in the world, with an estimated 4-6 million in Cambodia, where Richard was born.

The CLMF is also working to put Richard and his colleagues in touch with like-minded people in Cambodia as the project advances.

St. Paul’s Chancellor, the Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, is involved with the CLMF and has been a supporter and advisor to The Landmine Boys since last summer.

Tania Del Matto, Director of St. Paul’s GreenHouse, said, “A key component of a successful social venture is to find the right support for your innovation. Putting Richard and his team in touch with Dr. Axworthy and the CLMF – a leader in landmine removal support – is the right next step at this time.”

Paul Heidebrecht, one of Richard’s advisors and Director of the MSCU Centre for Peace Advancement at UWaterloo, said, “Richard’s project presents an opportunity for Canada to once again play a leadership role in the global effort to eradicate landmines. It also illustrates how the University of Waterloo’s tech innovation ecosystem has the capacity to tackle pressing humanitarian challenges.”

The Landmine Boys have received support from various areas of the Waterloo innovation ecosystem, including the Faculty of Engineering, Conrad Centre, GreenHouse, the Centre for Peace Advancement, and Velocity. Financially, they have received around $60,000 from these sources, as well as from other external institutions.