Food In Canada

COIL Circulate CoLab opens to support supply chain innovation in Ontario

By Food in Canada staff   

Sustainability 10C circular economy Editor pick food waste Innovation Guelph

Guelph-Wellington’s Smart Cities Office, 10C and Innovation Guelph launch 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 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 12-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 toward Canadian-owned firms.

Challenge 1: Circularity in the food processing and manufacturing chain
The first Circulate CoLab Challenge focuses 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 where users can download the full challenge brief. Semi-finalists will be announced October 29.

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