Velocity and St Paul’s GreenHouse are both calling out social and environmental visionaries  through their separate pitch competitions being held on campus: St. Paul’s Greenhouse’s Big Idea Challenge and Velocity’s World’s Challenge Challenge.

St. Paul’s GreenHouse’s Big Ideas Challenge

St. Paul’s GreenHouse Big Ideas Challenge is celebrating its third year and continuing searching for inspired social and environmental thinking.

“We’re looking for innovative solutions to complex social problems, and we’re looking for students who are interested in making a difference,” GreenHouse program co-ordinator Lexi Salt said.

Five winners of the Big Ideas Challenge will pitch their ideas at the Social Impact Showcase, in addition to being given a fully-funded fellowship at GreenHouse during the spring term. During the four months in the program, students are given mentorship to move their idea forward.

“We really recommend anyone with an idea to apply because it’s a really good experience and practice on pitching and understanding your idea,” Salt said.

According to Salt, the Big Ideas Challenge provides an opportunity to students further along in their idea to create change in an immersive environment.

“There have been so many amazing students who have gone through the Big Ideas Challenge,” Salt said. “As the program co-ordinator, I have seen tremendous personal and professional development of the fellows, which has been such a pleasure for me to watch.”

When asked about Velocity’s World’s Challenge Challenge, Salt said,  “If you have an idea, apply for the Big Ideas Challenge, and do the World’s Challenge Challenge if you want because it seems like a good fit if you are interested in more the problem level, whereas the Big Ideas Challenge is more for when you have an idea.”

The information session will be held on Feb. 9, while the application deadline is set for Feb. 26.

Velocity’s World’s Challenge Challenge

Velocity is collaborating with Western University to partake in the World’s Challenge Challenge, a competition that “gives students an opportunity to explore United Nations sustainability goals and propose a solution, and contribute on a global scale,” according to Velocity business advisor Crista Renner.

“The competition started through Western University, and they wanted to introduce students to problems in other parts of the world. Waterloo will be on a global stage as other Canadian universities, along with universities from Europe, Asia and South America,” Renner said.

Renner emphasized the importance of the competition for students interested in global issues.

“Students can get recognition and start looking at problems from a global perspective; if they care about something and have a unique perspective on a challenge… [or an] innovative idea, they can take their unique experience and attribute it on a global scale,” said Renner.

Each member of the winning team will receive $1,000 to contribute to an international travel experience, and the winning team will move on to compete against other schools in the first International World’s Challenge Challenge in May 2017, held at Western University, with all expenses paid.

When asked about St. Paul’s Big Ideas Challenge, Renner said, “This is an another opportunity for students interested in entrepreneurship looking to contribute. [The Big Ideas Challenges is] complementary and the common goal we share is to bring people in our community interested in solving problems and contributing from innovative thinking and applying what they’re learning in their class; we want to provide opportunities for people that apply their thinking.”

The application deadline for the World’s Challenge Challenge is Feb. 5, and presentations begin March 2.

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