Four early stage teams win the first-ever Ocean Communities Climate Challenge

June 27, 2023  |  ,
Logo for the Ocean Communities Climate Challenge - Défi climatique des communautés maritimes

Four early stage teams have won a total of $22,500 in the first-ever Ocean Communities Climate Challenge, presented by the Ocean Startup Project ― a national organization making Canada the best place in the world to start and grow an ocean company.

The four teams want to make a difference when it comes to how climate change affects our coasts and the people there. The winning teams include:

  • Ocean Aid (BC): Harnessing the power of sonar and AI to detect and map locations of ghost fishing gear underwater so that it can be retrieved
  • BioLabMate (NL): Replacing single-use plastic waste from research labs and medical facilities, using ocean-based materials for a greener future
  • Aquarius (QC): Developing a technology to avoid trawler seabed scraping and reduce fuel consumption in the fishery industry
  • Project R3D (NL): Recycling ocean plastic waste to produce filament for 3D printers

Representing diverse coastal areas, the following community partners approached the Ocean Startup Project to launch this new competition in May 2023: Port Alberni (BC), Rimouski (QC), and Yarmouth (NS). Innovation and ocean ecosystem partners such as Ignite, Novarium, and the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST) joined in to offer help.

Over the past three years, the Ocean Startup Project has delivered other challenges and programs that have funded more than 100 companies and teams that are creating jobs nationally and have collectively raised more than $17.3-million in equity investments and another $14 million in non-dilutive funds. The Ocean Communities Climate Challenge was created to identify and validate ways for coastal and rural areas to:

  • monitor and predict ocean conditions
  • transition to become net-zero port communities
  • create resilient communities with circular economies (where nothing is wasted)
  • preserve and leverage natural assets

“We’re encouraged by our partners’ active engagement in the Blue Economy and their openness to the transformative potential of innovations and technologies for solving climate-related challenges and improving ocean health,” said Don Grant, Executive Director at the Ocean Startup Project. “In the months ahead, we’ll connect these winning teams to people and resources from across Canada’s ocean ecosystem, giving those teams what they require to further explore their creative ideas and develop their solutions to some of the most pressing issues that climate change presents.”

Learn more about the Ocean Communities Climate Challenge by visiting 

About the Ocean Startup Project

The Ocean Startup Project inspires, initiates and invests in early stage entrepreneurs, making Canada the best place in the world to start and grow an ocean company. The project team creates and delivers activities to support ideation through commercialization, for innovators and entrepreneurs from industry to academia. As a co-funded national collaboration, the Ocean Startup Project offerings complement existing industry accelerators, incubators and other support organizations across Canada’s world class innovation ecosystem.

Our activities are possible thanks to support from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and our partners: Genesis Centre (NL), Invest Nova Scotia formerly Innovacorp (NS), Creative Destruction Lab (CDL – Atlantic), New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NB), Prince Edward Island BioAlliance (PE), Springboard Atlantic, Technopole Maritime du Québec (QC), and the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (BC). Together with our partners, the Ocean Startup Project is accelerating how homegrown startups get their technologies to market and is attracting international companies to Canada’s shores.

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