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COIL Circulate CoLab opens to support transformational supply chain innovation in Ontario

Funding available to design and test inspirational ideas which will reduce waste and increase circularity

Access the full challenge brief and submit your application today at coil.eco/colab.

Guelph, Ont., August 31, 2021– Today Guelph-Wellington’s Smart Cities Office, 10C and Innovation Guelph launched the COIL Circulate CoLab, an innovation program that will help organizations collaborate to design and test transformative circular supply chain approaches that reduce waste and increase material reuse and recycling in the food and environment sectors.

“Reducing and creating more value from waste is common sense for every business,” says David Messer, Manager, Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL). “However, if we want to create a more circular economy, we need innovators to blaze the trail with new ideas and solutions. Through Circulate CoLab we hope to give innovators space and resources to test big ideas that can inspire and transform their industry or even create new ones.”

The COIL Circulate CoLab is hosting a series of three open challenges to identify and prototype circular economy innovations and collaborations that could scale up into industrial-scale demonstration projects with the potential to transform or disrupt their industry. The challenge series, which starts today, will run through 2022 with a total of three challenges and provide a total of $800,000 in project funding to participating businesses.  

“Sustainability practices like waste reduction are top of mind for many companies. The Circulate CoLab is an exciting opportunity for businesses to collaborate and co-create new and innovative solutions together,” says Shakiba Shayani, President and CEO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce.

Circulate CoLab Challenge details

COIL Circulate CoLab will issue challenges focused on a particular element of the food or environment industry supply chain calling for teams of three to seven organizations (private businesses, social enterprises or not-for-profits) in the supply chain to come forward with an innovative way to reduce/recycle waste, reduce emissions or create additional social or environmental benefit.

The top three teams will participate in a twelve-week CoLab process where they are provided $20,000 in funding and other supports to test and prototype their idea. Each team will then pitch their idea to an expert committee.

At least one team will receive an additional $100,000 funding to scale their idea up into one of COIL’s five flagship demonstration projects.

Additional funding may be provided to other teams to expand their ideas.

The Circulate CoLab Challenge is open to businesses operating in southern Ontario. Although teams can include a mix of organizations, funded elements of a prototype must be directed towards Canadian-owned firms. More details are available on the Circulate CoLab website.  

Challenge 1: Circularity in the food processing and manufacturing chain

The first Circulate CoLab Challenge is focused on increasing the reduction, reuse or recycling of waste in upstream food systems: packaging, processing, manufacturing, distribution and retail sales.

The Food Waste Flow study, and other research conducted through Our Food Future, show that upstream elements of the food system account for the largest volumes of waste across the supply chain. 

“By focusing on the area where we know there is the greatest volume of waste, we hope businesses can find innovative solutions that will have the greatest impact at home and eventually around the world,” adds Messer.

Applications are being accepted until October 15 at coil.eco/colab where users can download the full challenge brief. Semi-finalists will be announced October 29.  

About COIL

Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy. COIL funds a range of programs that accelerate circular enterprises, launch innovative demonstration projects and help inspire new circular collaborations across the food and environment sectors. 

The initiative was launched in April 2021.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50% increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50% increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future is one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Media contacts

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
[email protected]

David Messer, Manager, COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]

Posted on August 31, 2021