As I’m sure you’re well aware, the world is currently in the midst of a global pandemic that has totally changed the way people and businesses operate. We are interacting in totally new ways, and spending our money much differently than before. Our new reality could be the norm for quite a while. Although things are opening back up, they are not the way they were before lockdowns and restrictions and everyone is working on adapting to this.

The COVID-19 outbreak has not only turned our lives around and brought economies to a standstill; it has also surfaced many of the deficiencies of our societies, our health systems and our general preparedness in addressing fast-spreading pandemics. The entrepreneurial community at the University of Waterloo posed a challenge to students to find solutions to some of the big problems that have been unearthed and explore the potential of their ideas. We encouraged students to focus on large issues, and come up with innovative solutions that have the potential to influence policy changes, become a startup or a social venture.

There was an abundance of impressive teams working on solving important problems, but in the the end, ten teams stood above the rest and convinced our judges they were worthy of receiving funding. Although we would love to fund each of these ideas, only the top three will take home $3K grants to help take their ideas to the next level.

So without further adieu, meet the teams competing in the first, and hopefully final, Pandemic Challenge Fund!

The Pandemic Challenge Fund Finalists

CodeGem
CodeGem is a performance management platform that optimizes your development team. 

CPT
Developing PPE/IPAC training and certification to those in a long-term care home resident’s circle of care.

Decomp
Decomp is an organic plastic waste disposal solution that utilizes bioreactor technology to create and maintain the optimal growing conditions for plastic degrading microbes to facilitate the degradation of plastics.

Fitable
Fitable is creating a Smart Mirror to make fitness/ recreational activities accessible and fun to people with mobility disabilities.

Masque
Masque is creating a multilayer cooling and pressure-absorbing-adhesive strips to attach to healthcare worker masks, letting them stay protected in comfort for significantly longer and reducing the risk of exposure to Covid-19.

OpenMeal
OpenMeal is a three-sided platform that bridges the COVID-19 gap between struggling restaurants and individuals who are food insecure through donations raised from fundraising campaigns, while empowering our diners with a power of choice.

OpenRace
OpenRace is a real-time virtual running app that allows runners to connect and find motivation and helps event organizers increase revenue, reach a larger audience, and provide a more interactive race.

Scribble
Scribble is a digital whiteboard for software engineering teams. 

SmrtSmile
SmrtSmile is a company built around the idea of positivity that allows Canadians to wear a smile while wearing a mask.

TaskNanny
TaskNanny is a pal on hire for improving work from home productivity. 


Check out the Finalists pitch videos on YouTube to learn more about how they plan to help the world with these great ideas. Be sure to follow us on social for updates about them and other impressive entrepreneurial students. If you have an idea for a project of your own that will help the world through this pandemic, meet with our coaches and get an early start on turning your concept into a reality.

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