Students Unite to Tackle Freshwater Challenges in Atlantic Canada

By Laurence Basso
Spread the Word

For immediate release
June 19, 2023

Students Unite to Tackle Freshwater Challenges in Atlantic Canada 

Halifax, N.S. — Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre at Saint Mary’s University and AquaAction co-hosted a hybrid streaming of the Atlantic Canada 2023 Aquahacking Challenge finals on Friday June 16. Five teams pitched their solutions live at Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE) in Dartmouth, vying for $50,000 in seed funding, helping teams take their water solutions to market.

The winners are:

5th place – * Sense H20 with its innovative cloud-based platform that delivers real-time water quality data for watershed organizations and open databases.

4th place – * Kamino and their brilliant program that uses stormwater databases and GIS maps to determine potential green infrastructure benefits for the intended area.

3rd place and audience choice award receiving $1,000 – * Seacycle and their innovative water filtration system that filters out plastic waste ranging from water bottles to microplastics using a gravity filter while also providing automated water quality reports.

2nd place – * SU, with their reusable straws made of phragmites, an ingenious use of an invasive plant in Canadian wetlands.

1st place – * TechStars Digital Labs and their unique solution “GreenHut”, an intensive green roofing solution for households, providing a natural form of vegetation to reduce stormwater runoff from buildings.

“The unwavering dedication and passion exhibited by these teams in developing solutions to freshwater challenges is both inspiring and crucial in the face of climate change,” emphasized Soula Chronopoulos, President of AquaAction. “As we strive to adapt to the impacts of climate change and ensure the resilience of our freshwater resources for future generations, their innovative approaches provide us with hope and optimism,” she added.

“Congratulations to all the innovators who participated in the 2023 AquaHacking Challenge – and especially to the first place winner, GreenHut. Our fresh water is a precious and limited resource. By investing in young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas, we’re helping to find new ways to protect and conserve this vital resource. Thank you to everyone involved for your dedication to such an important cause.”
– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

“This dynamic interdisciplinary competition brought together bright minds and unique social innovation from across Atlantic Canada,” says Michael Sanderson, Director of Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre, “it has been inspiring to see students and community from across Atlantic Canada working together in addressing and developing solutions for water-based challenges facing our world.”

Over the past nine months, student teams from across Atlantic Canada worked on their solutions with the support of mentors and industry leaders. ACOA announced a $175,000 investment in the program in September, engaging talented young innovators from across Atlantic Canada to put their skills to work for freshwater.

Special thanks to Atlantic Canada AquaHacking Challenge sponsors and partners: Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency, De Gaspe Beaubien Foundation, RBC Foundation, Ovivo, Lavery Lawyers, IBM, Echo Foundation, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, Hackworks, Waterlution and Mitacs.

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About AquaAction 

AquaAction is a Canadian registered charity established by the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation in 2015 to disrupt the status quo with innovative ideas and engage youth in the fight against the water-related climate crisis. AquaAction has developed three programs focused on water innovation and technology: the AquaHacking Challenge, AquaEntrepreneur and the AquaAction Alumni Community. Since its launch inception, 28 innovative start-up companies have been created across Canada. AquaAction is proud to count among its partners the RBC Foundation, Ovivo, IBM Canada, Lavery and Mitacs.

About Saint Mary’s University 

Saint Mary’s University is one of Canada’s top primarily undergraduate universities known for its international collaborations, leadership in entrepreneurship, and research that benefits local and global communities. Our programs in Arts, Science, Graduate Studies and the Sobey School of Business are among Canada’s best and feature professors who are committed to the success of their students. Saint Mary’s provides our more than 6,600 students with a place that fosters possibility, excellent research opportunities, and distinguished graduate and professional programs combined with a caring community.

Nestled in the heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast, Saint Mary’s University is marked by iconic buildings, green spaces and fresh ocean air. The Saint Mary’s University community is committed to a prosperous future for the world—a World without limits.

Media Contact:
Laurence Basso
Communications Manager, AquaAction


Leslie Arsenault
Marketing and Communications Officer, Arthur L. Irving Entrepreneurship Centre