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.


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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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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 28 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
$4 M


Since 2015, AquaHacking finalist teams have collected a total of $4,000,000 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
Soula Chronopoulos
Kariann Aarup
VP Program Development & Impact
Ann Sundius
Vice President of Partnerships
Dominique Monchamp
Senior Advisor
Anne Pascale Richardson
AquaHacking Challenge Manager
Laurence Basso
Communications Manager
Kayla Menu-Courey
Partnership Manager
Alejandro Martinez-Ramos
Start-up Community Coordinator
Juliette Dufresne
Program Coordinator
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Vittoria De Palma
Headshot: Nan
Nan-B De Gaspé Beaubien
Founding Chair, AquaAction
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Nan-B De Gaspé Beaubien
Founding Chair, AquaAction

Co-chair, De Gaspe Beaubien Foundation, 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
Founding Chair, AquaAction
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François de Gaspé Beaubien
Founding Chair, AquaAction

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, AquaAction
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Simon Olivier
Lead Director, AquaAction

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).


“We have underinvested in the water sector. The recent climate crisis forces us to spark innovation. Water has no substitute – with AquaAction, we propel sustainable technological solutions to ensure freshwater’s future and raise awareness about the water crisis.”

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Barrie Laver
Managing Director, Head Venture Capital & Private Equity, RBC
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Barrie Laver
Managing Director, Head Venture Capital & Private Equity, RBC

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
President, Corporate Finance & Treasury, Ovivo
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Pierre-Marc Sarrazin
President, Corporate Finance & Treasury, Ovivo

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.

“I am involved with AquaAction because of its core mission, which contributes to two of my great passions: entrepreneurship and environmental protection. It is very rewarding to make a lasting difference through the creation and acceleration of innovative start-ups developing solutions to water-related problems.”

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Blaine Favel
CEO, Kanata Earth
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Blaine Favel
CEO, Kanata Earth

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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de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
Founded AquaAction in 2015
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RBC Foundation
Powering AquaAction since 2018
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Accelerated by
Lavery Lawyers
Funder since 2020
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2 Degrés
Daniel St-George
Associate Partner IBM
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Daniel St-George
Associate Partner IBM

Daniel has extensive experience in digital strategy, business architecture, and complex technology implementation projects. He is a trusted advisor to executives and managers looking to reinvent their business or create more value from their current operations. He works across the entire strategy to execution domains.

Daniel has broad industry experience and has spent a significant part of his recent career in agribusiness and agri-food both in Canada, US and New Zealand. More recently he has led digital strategy and digital transformation engagements for a global consumer food organization and large ag-retailing co-operative. He has experience in agribusiness operations, with technologies such as farm management information systems, precision farming technologies, eCommerce and agronomy applications. He is also experienced in helping agribusiness and agri-food enterprises in areas such as digital strategy, business architecture, data integration, innovation and cognitive applications, cloud infrastructure, and data governance

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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.