Design Challenge Winner Focused on
Youth Mental Health

Private Donor raises Challenge to Food Accessibility

Beecuz, a nonprofit organization founded by Lena Schreyer, has been announced as the main recipient of the $20,000 Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge Two.

Established in 2019 by a young female entrepreneur, Beecuz offers innovative, skill-based workshops and educational curricula to support youth with the tools they need to proactively address and care for their mental health. 

This critical need has emerged as youth and children are disproportionately affected by mental health challenges due to COVID-19, referenced in this article by Children’s Mental Health Ontario, along with new data shared by the Canadian Mental Health Association predicting a serious mental health crisis following the impacts of COVID-19. 

In addition to the $20,000, the successful applicant will receive a personalized suite of business advisory, financial coaching and community impact services presented by Libro Credit Union, Pillar Nonprofit Network and TechAlliance. Both Design Challenges are co-presented by Communitech, in Waterloo Region, and WEtech Alliance, in Windsor-Essex.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since Beecuz was incorporated. So much has happened in such a short time! This is an important and exciting milestone for our organization,” said Lena Schreyer, Founder and Director of Beecuz. “Now that we’ve won this Design Challenge, we can grow our classroom model to an online platform, increasing accessibility of our services beyond Kitchener-Waterloo and London with the potential to bring mental health programming to all schools across the province.”

This report, authored by the Mental Health Commission, speaks to how marginalized groups are harder hit by social determinants associated with mental health and economic difficulties in the face of COVID-19.

That’s why Lena Schreyer, who has a background in neuroscience, positive psychology, and mental health advocacy, hopes to use the coaching supports from the Design Challenge partners to ensure Beecuz continues to be inclusive, diverse, and accessible for everyone. 

The social media buzz of the Design Challenge sparked interest from a private donor who contributed $5,000. This was awarded to The Working Centre located in downtown Kitchener, who the partners felt would benefit from the support and recognition.

The Working Centre has been responding to unemployment and poverty in downtown Kitchener since 1982. The Design Challenge funds will be used to support Project 4000, a collaboration between engineers, horticulturalists, and community leaders to apply tech innovations in agriculture to grow 4,000 servings of produce in two shipping containers, create new jobs in the region and create profit to support their community rebuilding efforts.

“Over the past few months, we watched the negative economic impact of COVID-19 cause families in our community to make decisions between eating healthy or paying for rent.  We see the ability to more efficiently produce microgreens and seedlings as a necessary step towards increasing our production of local nutritious produce. This contribution from the Design Challenge allows us to accelerate the project while offsetting our environmental impact.” Joe Mancini, Director of The Working Centre.

These collaborative solutions selected by the Design Challenge partners will work towards rebuilding the region from the impact of COVID-19 on jobs, food accessibility and mental health.

Read the full announcement here.

Design Challenge Winner Focused on Youth Mental Health
Private Donor raises Challenge to Food Accessibility

Beecuz, a nonprofit organization founded by Lena Schreyer, has been announced as the main recipient of the $20,000 Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge Two.

Established in 2019 by a young female entrepreneur, Beecuz offers innovative, skill-based workshops and educational curricula to support youth with the tools they need to proactively address and care for their mental health. 

This critical need has emerged as youth and children are disproportionately affected by mental health challenges due to COVID-19, referenced in this article by Children’s Mental Health Ontario, along with new data shared by the Canadian Mental Health Association predicting a serious mental health crisis following the impacts of COVID-19. 

In addition to the $20,000, the successful applicant will receive a personalized suite of business advisory, financial coaching and community impact services presented by Libro Credit Union, Pillar Nonprofit Network and TechAlliance. Both Design Challenges are co-presented by Communitech, in Waterloo Region, and WEtech Alliance, in Windsor-Essex.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a year since Beecuz was incorporated. So much has happened in such a short time! This is an important and exciting milestone for our organization,” said Lena Schreyer, Founder and Director of Beecuz. “Now that we’ve won this Design Challenge, we can grow our classroom model to an online platform, increasing accessibility of our services beyond Kitchener-Waterloo and London with the potential to bring mental health programming to all schools across the province.”

This report, authored by the Mental Health Commission, speaks to how marginalized groups are harder hit by social determinants associated with mental health and economic difficulties in the face of COVID-19.

That’s why Lena Schreyer, who has a background in neuroscience, positive psychology, and mental health advocacy, hopes to use the coaching supports from the Design Challenge partners to ensure Beecuz continues to be inclusive, diverse, and accessible for everyone. 

The social media buzz of the Design Challenge sparked interest from a private donor who contributed $5,000. This was awarded to The Working Centre located in downtown Kitchener, who the partners felt would benefit from the support and recognition.

The Working Centre has been responding to unemployment and poverty in downtown Kitchener since 1982. The Design Challenge funds will be used to support Project 4000, a collaboration between engineers, horticulturalists, and community leaders to apply tech innovations in agriculture to grow 4,000 servings of produce in two shipping containers, create new jobs in the region and create profit to support their community rebuilding efforts.

“Over the past few months, we watched the negative economic impact of COVID-19 cause families in our community to make decisions between eating healthy or paying for rent.  We see the ability to more efficiently produce microgreens and seedlings as a necessary step towards increasing our production of local nutritious produce. This contribution from the Design Challenge allows us to accelerate the project while offsetting our environmental impact.” Joe Mancini, Director of The Working Centre.

These collaborative solutions selected by the Design Challenge partners will work towards rebuilding the region from the impact of COVID-19 on jobs, food accessibility and mental health.

Read the full announcement here.

Communities everywhere have felt the impact of COVID-19 — Southwestern Ontario among them. Comprised of diverse talent, innovators, entrepreneurs, and industry experts, we know that disrupted times invite innovative solutions.

That’s why Libro Credit Union, Pillar Nonprofit Network and TechAlliance have  launched Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenges, to accelerate and scale select “Made in Southwestern Ontario” solutions with a $20,000 financial investment and a suite of personalized business advisory, financial coaching and community impact services.

Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenges are an open call from London to Windsor and Waterloo, and are co-presented by Communitech and WEtech Alliance, for agile and inclusive innovation designed with diverse perspectives in mind.

Design Challenge Two: “Rebuilding” will focus on a collaborative and innovative solution that supports economic recovery and community prosperity for Southwestern Ontario.

To ensure timely mobilization and solution delivery, the applications will be open for three days, starting June 15. Following the evaluation period, we’ll announce the successful applicant and begin to deploy support. You can see the application questions ahead of time here.

Innovative and technology-enabled solutions that put collaboration at the centre of their design open the door to new, inclusive and disruptive approaches to economic recovery and community prosperity.

Applicants are encouraged to design with empathy for those most affected by COVID-19 and be mindful of diverse perspectives as they create their solutions. We also encourage applications from grass-roots initiatives, individuals or teams of people who are engaged in startup or scaling enterprises and nonprofits.

Be part of the recovery and rebuild. Southwestern Ontario is ready for your solutions.

Read the full announcement details here.

Investment-2

Financial investment of $20,000

Coaching-2

Coaching to accelerate and scale

Networks-2

Access to partner networks

The Challenges

Challenge Two Timeline

Challenge Two Launched

June 10, 2020

Open for Applications

June 15, 2020 at 9:00 am

Application Deadline

June 17, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Review of Applications

Begins June 18, 2020

Recipient Announced

June 29, 2020

The submission phase has now closed.

Thank you for contributing your ideas!

Challenge Criteria

Collaborative Innovation

How the project, product, service or solution demonstrates collaboration

Regional Impact

How the innovation is able to demonstrate measurable regional impact

Viability & Design

How the innovation aligns with economic and community prosperity through technology-enabled social impact

Equity & Inclusion

How the innovation showcases an openness to new, inclusive and disruptive approaches and could meet the needs of any communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

Design Scalability

How the innovation has potential for a project, product, service or solution that could be viable, profitable, scalable and able to create jobs

Financial Investment & Coaching Supports

How the $20K investment will be used and what wraparound and coaching supports would support your innovation

Preview the application questions here.

Questions?

How do I apply?

We invite interested parties to submit their online applications Monday June 15, 2020. The last day for submission is 4 pm EST on Wednesday, June 172020. 

Review the criteria, determine if your idea is a fit, and submit your application online. All submissions will be in English. Paper entries will not be accepted. 

Who is eligible to participate?

Recovery & Rebuilding the Region: Design Challenge Two, is open to everyone. We encourage applications from, yet not limited to, grassroots initiatives, individuals or teams of people who are engaged in startup or scaling enterprises and nonprofits. Applicants are encouraged across Southwestern Ontario in Essex, Huron, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, Oxford, Perth, and Waterloo Counties.

Staff, Owner Representatives and Board of Directors members of TechAlliance, Pillar Nonprofit Network, Libro Credit Union, WEtech Alliance and Communitech and immediate family members living in the same house are not eligible to enter in the contest. Immediate family members include: spouse, child, parent, stepchild, stepparent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, father- in- law, mother–in–law and any other relative permanently residing in the employee’s household.

Does the design idea need to be a new innovation?

Not at all. This design challenge is open to all enterprises and companies including those already engaged in startup, scaling or enterprise operations focusing on collaboration, revitalizing and rebuilding Southwestern Ontario, tapping into the collaborative spirit across the region. What could you do with others that you could not do on your own?

Can a single applicant submit multiple applications?

Yes. A single applicant can apply to the challenge to develop different projects.  However, only one project will be selected. Multiple applications may not be submitted for the same project.

What are the terms and conditions of financial award?

The terms and conditions on the use of the financial award and timeline of use will be negotiated between the award recipient and Libro Credit Union.  

Only one applicant will be selected as the successful candidate of the challenge and will receive an award valued at $20,000 CAD. The successful applicant will develop their entry throughout June and July 2020 with support from Libro Credit Union, TechAlliance and Pillar Nonprofit Network and/or co-presenting organizations, WEtech or Communitech. The successful applicant and the challenge partners will agree upon a suitable start date for advisory services and coaching following the announcement.

Are there any restrictions around the selected design concept continuing, expanding or commercialized after the completion of the challenge?

Quite the opposite! The Recovery & Rebuilding the Region: Design Challenge Two, is shaped to accelerate the project through the innovation continuum of inspiration, ideation and implementation or the business stages of idea, discovery, validation, efficiency, scale, to a final product, service, approach or solution that is viable, scalable and impactful.

Who owns the ideas submitted to the Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge?

All concepts contributed to The Recovery & Rebuilding the Region: Design Challenge Twobelong to the applicant who created and submitted them. All work, data, material, documents, software, idea, know-how, expression, etc., in whole or in part, created by the winning applicant pursuant to a business plan where applicable, are the applicant’s sole property.

What happens after the award recipient is announced?

Now is the time to roll up your sleeves! The successful applicant of the challenge will be granted the financial investment of $20,000 CAD. Additionally, the successful applicant will work directly with coaches at Libro Credit Union, TechAlliance and Pillar Nonprofit Network and/or co-presenting organizations, WEtech or Communitech, tailored to the specific needs associated with the innovation.  This could include business model canvassing, access to product viability labs, marketing and communications guidance, connection to other collaborators, etc. Throughout that development period, the successful applicant will be expected to contribute to storytelling by the partners, activated to draw focus to regional innovative and technology-enabled solutions through collaboration. 

What if I have additional questions?

Given the large community response, and in fairness to all applicants, we are not providing guidance beyond our published information. The application questions available here, provide further details and we encourage you to review the Questions section on this page.

Recipient announced for Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge One

London-based Go Fog It, founded by Diana House and Melissa McInerney, was announced as the recipient of the first Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge.

Go Fog It, which offers disinfectant fogging to make spaces safer, has two main components to helping southwestern Ontario recover from COVID-19. The first one is safety and health, with a goal to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The second is helping open up the economy and supporting business owners with their disinfecting challenges so they are able to focus on their business.

The successful recipient was chosen from over 100 applicants and will receive $20,000 of seed funding and a personalized suite of business advisory, financial coaching and community impact services presented by Libro Credit Union, Pillar Nonprofit Network and TechAlliance.

This women-led, environmentally friendly startup will use the seed funding to hire operations staff, purchase equipment and continue to scale quickly. Advisors from Libro, Pillar and TechAlliance will provide expertise on connecting with new networks and leveraging available resources in order to effectively combat the issue at hand. In times of crisis, innovation can’t wait.

“Winning the Design Challenge has meant the world to us. Over the past few months, we have poured blood, sweat and tears into Go Fog It.” said Diana House, President, Go Fog It. “ But we didn’t do it alone. It takes a team of brilliant people with different skill sets, mentors, advisors and early believers.”

“We really think that navigating the post-COVID-19 economy is going to be a huge challenge. As experts in what we do, we are confident that we can provide a cost-effective and accessible solution to residents and businesses on a global scale.”

Read the full announcement here.

Recipient announced for Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge One

London-based Go Fog It, founded by Diana House and Melissa McInerney, was announced as the recipient of the first Recovery & Rebuilding the Region Design Challenge.

Go Fog It, which offers disinfectant fogging to make spaces safer, has two main components to helping southwestern Ontario recover from COVID-19. The first one is safety and health, with a goal to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The second is helping open up the economy and supporting business owners with their disinfecting challenges so they are able to focus on their business.

The successful recipient was chosen from over 100 applicants and will receive $20,000 of seed funding and a personalized suite of business advisory, financial coaching and community impact services presented by Libro Credit Union, Pillar Nonprofit Network and TechAlliance.

This women-led, environmentally friendly startup will use the seed funding to hire operations staff, purchase equipment and continue to scale quickly. Advisors from Libro, Pillar and TechAlliance will provide expertise on connecting with new networks and leveraging available resources in order to effectively combat the issue at hand. In times of crisis, innovation can’t wait.

“Winning the Design Challenge has meant the world to us. Over the past few months, we have poured blood, sweat and tears into Go Fog It.” said Diana House, President, Go Fog It. “ But we didn’t do it alone. It takes a team of brilliant people with different skill sets, mentors, advisors and early believers.”

“We really think that navigating the post-COVID-19 economy is going to be a huge challenge. As experts in what we do, we are confident that we can provide a cost-effective and accessible solution to residents and businesses on a global scale.”

Read the full announcement here.

Design Challenge In The News