The word “innovation” can refer to many things: a new app that rates the latest craft beers, a life-changing tech gadget that you can’t live without, artificial intelligence or self-driving vehicles.
Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, (247,000 members, $9.9 billion in assets), recently supported out-of-the-box thinking with the launch of the South Island Prosperity Project’s Innovation Challenge, an event aimed at developing smart solutions for Greater Victoria’s real-world challenges. Ten finalists were chosen from 69 submissions for this free public competition.
The finalists came from a diversity of backgrounds and despite vast differences in submissions, there was one unified vision — creating a better future for others.
Three winners, Simon Park, Matthew Kemshaw and Derek Jacoby, were chosen at the March event and awarded $15,000 each to advance their project. Park’s innovation, “the Caboost,” is a small electric bicycle trailer that can adapt any bicycle to provide electric drive assistance, enabling anybody to support sustainable transportation. Kemshaw’s project is a technology that addresses food harvesting abundance by bringing together people living and farming in urban areas to ensure that no food is wasted. Jacoby’s winning innovation aims to address the ongoing problem of drug overdoses by connecting those who possess overdose kits with those who need them in emergency situations. “The 10 ideas that were brought forward represented innovation in its purest form and I was blown away by the passion of the presenters,” says First West’s chief brand innovation officer Bryan Mavrow, who served as a judge at the event. ◊