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Ocean Wise Innovator Lab

A global project-based competition for youth aged 13-30, including university students, student clubs, high school students, youth-led organizations and startups. Applications are now closed.

About the program

The Ocean Wise Innovator Lab is elevating youth voices by providing mentorship from leading ocean experts and entrepreneurs, access to funding and educational resources that will help participants realize and share their innovative ocean health solutions.

During the three month program, participants will learn about issues impacting the ocean, in particular ocean plastics, and develop an innovation that tackles this problem.

At the end of the program, participants will submit their innovation, with a chance to win up to $2,500 CAD.

Call for innovations

What we’re looking for

What types of innovations are Ocean Wise looking for? That’s up to you! The program is inclusive by design and open to all youth aged 13-30 interested in taking direct action to change the trajectory of ocean health.

We invite participants with interest in a variety of disciplines and subjects.

• A fresh and original YouTube channel, TikTok or podcast dedicated to building awareness about ocean plastics and inspiring viewers / listeners to take direct action to address the issue – this may appeal to youth interested in communications

• An inclusive initiative that encourages and enables community members to tackle the issue of ocean plastics, especially those who may face barriers doing so – this may appeal to youth interested in social sciences

• A prototype for cutting-edge technology that addresses the issue of ocean plastics – this may appeal to youth interested in engineering

• An engaging campaign that brings awareness to ocean plastics and / or encourages behaviour change or donations – this may appeal to youth interested in marketing

• A prototype of a captivating app / game that addresses ocean plastics and encourages direct action – this may appeal to youth interested in computer sciences

• An impactful and entertaining plastic-free culinary event or event series – this may appeal to youth in hospitality

Meet The Innovator Lab Winners

First Place: Ranah Chavoshi, Vancouver, British Columbia

Ranah began developing a prototype for a biodegradable and non-toxic bioplastic without a petroleum-based plasticizer. By working with local Indigenous communities, Ranah hopes to utilize seaweed aquaculture and farm multiple seaweed species with coastal communities to create a seaweed bioplastic.

Second Place: Jocelyn Marsh, Vancouver, British Columbia

Jocelyn started the “Love Our Oceans Project” to combat plastic waste throughout Veterinary Medicine. A multi-step process, including audits and a Pill Vial Recycling Program, the project is the first of its kind within the industry, having the potential to decrease approximately 2.7 million plastic needles / syringes and 340,000 pill vials per year in Veterinary clinics across Canada.

Third Place: Brittney St. Amant, Tofino, British Columbia

Brittney plans to release a documentary, “Along the Mountains and the Sea,” which documents the impacts of plastic pollution on unceded Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations territory through the eyes of the Nuu-chah-nulth. Brittney will continue to educate and raise awareness after the documentary release by setting up educational booths and hosting shoreline cleanups.

Speakers

Alexandra Cousteau

Co-Founder of Ocean 2050, a global program of ocean afforestation. Alexandra is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and has also received an honorary doctorate from Georgetown University, her alma mater

Brad Liski

CEO of True Earth, an organization that creates zero-waste, environmentally friendly laundry detergent. Brad was named one of 16 top sustainability leaders in Canada by Clean50 for 2022

Brian Hardwick

Partner and impact strategist at Enso Collaborative, a futures design and creative impact agency. Brian has helped lead presidential elections, built a national movement on climate change with Al Gore and guided brands of all sizes to create breakthrough initiatives for big impact

Natalie Fee

Natalie Fee is an award-winning environmentalist, author of How to Save the World for Free, speaker and founder of City to Sea, a UK-based organization running campaigns to stop plastic pollution at source.

Mentors

Laura Hardman

Director of Ocean Wise Plastics Initiative, with years of experience in the ocean conservation and sustainability space

Joe Mwakiremba

Business Development Executive at Ocean Sole Africa, a social enterprise that removes trash from the oceans, and makes art to support marine conservation, while creating employment opportunities in high impact areas

Soraya Abdel-Hadi

Operations Manager for eXXpedition, organizing all-women sailing trips exploring the impact of plastics and toxics all over the world, and founder of All The Elements – a network working to increase diversity in the UK outdoors. She is also a Lonely Planet Sustainable Storyteller 2021

Brianne Miller

Brianne Miller is an award-winning food systems expert and the founder of Nada, a certified B-Corporation and carbon negative package-free grocery store and delivery service on a mission to connect people to a more equitable, just and regenerative food system

Land acknowledgement

Ocean Wise is grateful to be headquartered on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̕ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil – Waututh) Nations.

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