We’re AquaAction


We see a future where freshwater is clean, abundant, accessible for all, and managed for the long term.


We make this happen by engaging talented young innovators, activating their technologies, and supporting them as they turn their solutions into results.

Want to get involved? Join AquaAction.

AquaAction is a registered charity in Canada.

Next Gen Solutions

Since 2015, AquaAction’s flagship program has been the AquaHacking Challenge, a catalyst for freshwater innovation led by young Canadians.


Through AquaHacking, we’re helping talented young Canadians take on real-life freshwater issues, offer concrete solutions, and tap into an extensive network of experts and mentors.


Meet the AquaHacking Alumni members who are leading the way towards healthier water through their start-ups and initiatives.


A woman presenting a water technology solution to a judge
A group of young people sitting on a dock on the lake


AquaAction has helped young innovators have positive impacts for 110+ rivers, lakes, and watersheds across Canada and the United States.

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A man and a woman speaking while wearing AquaHacking lanyards


Through AquaHacking, young innovators have tackled 25+ water issues.

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A group of young women at a seminar with reusable water bottles


Since the first AquaHacking Challenge, we have engaged hundreds of young innovators, and our teams have formed 36 startups – several of which are actively growing and expanding.

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A woman and a man holding a trophy at an AquaHacking challenge
$1 M


Since 2015, AquaHacking finalist teams have collected a total of $1,000,000 in investment and seed funding.

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“It’s unbelievable how far we’ve come, what we have accomplished. Through the AquaHacking experience I was challenged personally and professionally, and I had to push myself. I am very grateful for that.”


CEO, Blue Lion Labs AquaHacking 2017 winner

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Our Team

We believe in the power of new technology and of the next generation of young innovators to bring a solution-focused mindset to solving some of the most pressing water issues we face in North America.

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Board of Directors
Headshot: Nan
Nan-B De Gaspé Beaubien
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Nan-B De Gaspé Beaubien

Nan‑bowles (Nan‑b) de Gaspé Beaubien is a businesswoman and a pioneer in the advancement of family enterprise. As Founder and Chair of the de Gaspé Beaubien Family Foundation, she devotes her time to philanthropic endeavours that continue to break new ground supporting enterprising women and enterprising families, public health and environmental causes. An internationally renowned expert on the topic of family enterprise, Nan‑b is a regular speaker at global conferences and top universities worldwide.

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François de Gaspé Beaubien
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François de Gaspé Beaubien

François de Gaspé Beaubien obtained a BA with honours from Haverford College before earning an MBA with distinction at Harvard Business School in 1989. Because of his strong academic performance, he was recruited by the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity, one of the oldest and most prestigious academic honour societies in the United States. After concluding his studies, François rose up the publishing ranks from publisher of New England Monthly magazine to eventually become President of Telemedia Publishing, Canada’s largest consumer magazine company at the time with titles ranging from TV Guide to Elle magazine. He and his team turned the organization from losses to the most profitable publishing group in Canada and he then sold that division in 2000. He and his brother oversaw the expansion of their radio division as co-CEOs to become Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, Telemedia, which they then sold in 2002. In 2003, François acquired Zoom Media, an indoor advertising company. Since he became CEO, the company has experienced tremendous growth (and focus), digitally entertaining and educating over 35 million fitness members every month across all of Canada, the USA, and the United Kingdom. He is the sole owner of Zoom. The businessman is also the co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Hivestack, a company that allows advertisers to target custom audiences digitally, based on physical world behaviors (combining the engagement of mobile devices with digital billboards). François recently sold Ayuda Media Systems, a software company utilized across 22 countries for its billboard management systems of which he was the Executive Chairman of the board. He is very involved in the industry and serves as Chairman of the board of the Digital Place Based Advertising Association (DPAA), a global initiative based out of NYC seeking to foster the growth of Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) media by bringing together market participants (media owners and tech suppliers) and educating marketers.

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Simon Olivier
Lead Director
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Simon Olivier
Lead Director

Simon is currently a Senior Partner at Cycle Capital and Lead of BleuImpact, a water impact investment fund. Simon is an executive leader with 30 years experience in strategy, innovation, finance, and operations. He spent more than 20 years at GE, including roles with GE Capital, GE Corporate (M&A and Ventures) and GE Renewable Energy, where he built a multi-billion-dollar franchise in Canada and Northeast USA.

Simon holds an engineering degree from Polytechnique Montreal and an MBA in finance from McGill University, where he is a member of the McGill Global Leadership Council. In 2009, he was named young international leader of Quebec by the Arista organisation. Simon served on several boards of directors including GE Canada, C2 Montreal, the Canadian Wind Energy Association, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montréal, etc. He actively supports his community through his lasting engagement with United Way (Centraide).

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Headshot Barrie
Barrie Laver
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Barrie Laver

Barrie Laver is Managing Director, Head Venture Capital & Private Equity with Royal Bank of Canada and leads RBC Capital Partners, the bank’s VC & PE arm. Mr. Laver’s background is primarily in the venture capital industry both with RBC as well as having founded his own independent venture fund that focused on early stage technology investments. Mr. Laver has also served as CEO with companies in the technology, hospitality and manufacturing sectors and has experience on numerous private, public and not-for-profit boards.


Mr. Laver is a member of CPA Canada and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

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Pierre-Marc Sarrazin
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Pierre-Marc Sarrazin

Pierre-Marc Sarrazin is Vice-President, Corporate Finance, Development & Treasurer

Ovivo, a global provider of water and wastewater treatment equipment headquartered in Montreal. He joined Ovivo in 2011 and he currently leads the mergers and acquisitions strategy, financing, treasury operations and investor relations.

Pierre-Marc cumulates close to twenty years of corporate finance and development experience for several multinational public companies, where he also actively participated in a number of strategic transactions, such as acquisitions, divestments, financing and restructuring.

Pierre-Marc holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Master of Science in International Business from HEC Montreal. He also holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Headshot Allen
Allen Lalonde
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Allen Lalonde

Allen Lalonde was the former IBM Canada’s Senior Innovation Executive and Director of IBM Canada’s Research & Development Centre. In directing IBM’s investments and collaboration in strategic innovation initiatives across Canada, Allen and his team were focused on driving social and economic growth in Canada through IBM’s leadership, participation and support of collaborative innovation initiatives and models, and especially through IBM’s support for big data, analytics and cognitive research projects. In this role, Allen has collaborated with Municipal, Federal and Provincial governments, academic institutions and researchers, and industry associations and partners to establish, progress and execute such initiatives. He led a team of research, project management, business development and operations leaders who were dedicated to exciting research projects to answer Canada’s most pressing challenges, including challenges like those prioritized with the AquaHacking Movement.

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Headshot: Matthew
Matthew Price-Gallagher
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Matthew Price-Gallagher

Matthew Price-Gallagher is President & CEO, Watercluster Scientific Inc. Watercluster Scientific Inc. is a Montreal-based privately held corporation focusing on innovative science-based technology solutions using nanotechnology. For the past seventeen years, Mr. Price-Gallagher has guided the Company through its commercial and R&D initiatives with leading researchers and engineers around the world. Current research partners include Brojde Center for Innovation in Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, both at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as NanoSpun Technologies, a spin-off of the Technion.

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Blaine Favel
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Blaine Favel

Blaine Favel is Founder of First Peoples Pipeline, CEO of Kanata Earth, and President of Battle River Bison, a not for profit focused on bringing the bison back. Mr. Favel served as the University of Saskatchewan’s chancellor from 2013 to 2016. Mr. Favel is member of Poundmaker Cree Nation and an influential Plains Cree leader who has made significant contributions to scholarship, education, public service and the Canadian public good.

In addition to a Bachelor of Education, Mr. Favel has a law degree from Queen’s University and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business. He was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan in 2012.

During his term as Chancellor, Mr. Favel played a key role in guiding the university’s planning and actions in Indigenous education and engagement. In the fall of 2015, alongside President Stoicheff, Mr. Favel co-hosted the first Building Reconciliation National Forum, where Aboriginal and university leaders gathered to discuss how universities across Canada can respond to the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr. Favel worked to ensure that this first forum was the beginning of what has now become an annual gathering hosted by Canadian universities.

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Laila Abou El Bal
Managing Consultant | Sustainability at IBM
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Laila Abou El Bal
Managing Consultant | Sustainability at IBM

Laïla is a managing consultant in the sustainability practice at IBM Canada. Her expertise is focused on advising and building innovative solutions which will lower the carbon footprint of various companies. Laila is working with large institutions, from the private and public sectors, to enable their ESG agenda through strategic initiatives unlocked by data, AI, and emerging technologies.

Laïla believes that the biggest challenges of the climate crisis will be overcome with the use of technology and innovative communities.

At IBM, she co-founded the largest employee engagement community named Bee Green Canada which acts as a grassroots movement for the climate crisis internally. She’s also certified as a Climate Reality Leader from Al Gore’s corps, and holds a Sustainable Business Strategy certification from Harvard Business School.

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Kariann Aarup
General Manager
Laurence Basso
Communications Coordinator
Anne Pascale Richardson
AquaHacking Challenge Manager
Melissa Dick
Impact Acceleration Manager
Dominique Monchamp
Senior Advisor
Vittoria De Palma
de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
Founded AquaAction in 2015
RBC Foundation
Powering AquaAction since 2018
Accelerated by
Lavery Lawyers
Funder since 2020
Sylvie Charbonneau
AquaEntrepreneur Program Director
Alejandro Martinez-Ramos
Start-up Community Coordinator
Léa Baroud
Communications Intern
Syphax Farez
Database Analyst Intern
Aidan Price Gallagher
Donor Development & Outreach Intern

Water is essential to life on earth. It sustains us, it connects us, it nourishes us all. AquaAction is here to help everyone find meaningful ways to protect freshwater for future generations.


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Thousands of people are taking AquaAction to save freshwater. Support the next generation of freshwater solutions. Every drop counts.