Canadian co-operative financial group Desjardins launches its fourth annual Cooperathon on 2 October, with $100,000 (£62,000) to be won for innovative projects with positive social impact.
The competition kicks off at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal with speakers including Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to walk in space, and Peruvian teenager José Adolfo Quisocala Condori, who founded an eco children’s saving bank aged seven.
Students, professionals, entrepreneurs and the socially conscious are invited to bring ideas and innovative solutions for a series of social challenges. Hundreds of people are expected to help develop projects that create a positive impact in their communities, and work together in teams to put their ideas into action.
The challenges cover six areas: finance, environment, agriculture, energy, health and education, and have been set by experts in each field. Once the challenges have been announced and ideas submitted, Desjardins and Cooperathon partners will monitor and support the semi-finalists for 28 days.
Each participant will receive guidance and support worth $5,000 (£3,000). The personalised support includes project meetings, workshops and training with a variety of accredited experts.
Day one is open to the general public and features internationally renowned speakers addressing innovation, entrepreneurship and social impact.
Guy Cormier, president and CEO of Desjardins, said: “I’m very proud of the programme we’ve put together. It relates directly to our values of engagement, interco-operation and community solidarity. I’m honoured to be welcoming Chris Hadfield and to have the opportunity to speak with the world’s youngest co-operative banker.”
The competition ends on 20 November with a grand finale at L’Olympia de Montréal. The winners will receive grants and funding totalling over $100,000.