Just like that, another Disrupt It Weekend is in the books! This past weekend marked the sixth annual Disrupt It Weekend-style event in Thunder Bay we held in partnership with Ingenuity. If you are not familiar with these events, they are weekend-long events where individuals pitch ideas, form teams, and build the foundation for a business; and finally, participants finish with a pitch to a panel of judges.
Each year brings new themes, challenges, and opportunities which makes every year just as exciting as the last! This year’s theme was to Generate Ideas to Re-Imagine your city. We saw many different ideas pitched on Friday night, and from there, it was narrowed down to nine different ideas that would be developed over the weekend. Then, individuals self-formed teams around the nine following ideas:
Build The Bay: Real estate investment company to make investing in real estate more accessible to locals. These investments would go to building fourplexes in Thunder Bay to help with the shortage of housing. Investors would have the ability to invest at a low cost ie $1000 and be paid dividends on their investments.
Bay Squad: Platform to connect the elderly with local services such as contract work, snow removal, etc. Easy to use with and connect with many customer streams through app, website, or by calling.
180 Development Group: Revitalizing vacant facilities in Thunder Bay by retrofitting the space. Uses could range from beautification projects, vertical greenhouses, etc.
Age Big: Non-for-profit looking to reduce social isolation in the ageing population in Northern Ontario. Each home would be fitted with an easy to use tablet to stay connected with others and see upcoming events.
Stand Up for Clean Up: Community clean up organization building a sense of pride in the community.
Will Connect: Platform to connect organizations looking for volunteers, and individuals looking for volunteer work. Based on an incentive system where you earn points which can be redeemed at local businesses.
Thunder Pay: No fee card to recover fees for businesses. Works with debit and credit cards.
Hitch: App to create carpooling groups based on users in your area.
Invending: Vending machine bringing local products to local people. Portable and solar panel operated.
Throughout the weekend we had volunteer mentors on hand to help out participants with any questions they may have. This year we had 24 mentors, and 55 participants ranging in age from 13 – 65!
After a long and dedicated 54 hours by all the teams, it was time to pitch. The teams were competing for 3 prizes; Grand Prize, CEDC Smart City Prize, and People’s Choice Prize - which was determined on votes by all in attendance. It was a tough choice for the judges because all teams had put in a lot of work into validating their ideas. The winners from this year’s Disrupt It Weekend are:
Grand Prize - $5000: Build the Bay
CEDC Smart City Prize - $1000: Will Connect
People’s Choice - $500: 180 Development Group
Thank you to this year’s sponsors: CEDC, Entrepreneurship Centre, Confederation College, CIER, and PARO for helping make this year’s Disrupt It Weekend a success. After the sixth year of having another Disrupt It-style weekend, we definitely don’t see this being the last! So keep those ideas coming and we will see you in 2021!