VICTORIA – Have you got a bold and innovative project idea that will make the South Island region a smarter and more sustainable place to live, work and play?

The South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) seeks to ignite a creative spark in the local community by introducing the Smart South Island Open Innovation Challenge – a public competition inviting participants to submit their best ‘smart’ pilot project ideas to help improve the quality of life for fellow South Islanders as well as the chance to win one of three $15,000 prizes.

The aim of the challenge is to source ‘smart’ homegrown solutions that solve some of Greater Victoria’s most pressing challenges, addressing themes such as: transportation and mobility, housing and affordability, economic resilience and inclusion, human health and environmental health.

The competition was inspired by SIPP’s work coordinating the region’s bid for Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge – a nation-wide competition inviting communities across the country to showcase their best ‘smart’ ideas.

The Government of Canada will work in collaboration with cities and communities that are ready to innovate and take risks – providing financial and in-kind support for their Smart Cities transformation. The winning proposals are eligible to win prizes of $5, $10, or $50 million.

“The Smart South Island Innovation Challenge is a fantastic way to unleash the creativity of local residents and organizations by designing innovative solutions to the real-world challenges impacting the South Island,” says Emilie de Rosenroll, CEO of the South Island Prosperity Project.

The Smart South Island Innovation Challenge is open to all members of the public and is free to enter. Participants interested in learning more about the Challenge are invited to attend one of two workshops being held in December and January. Complete eligibility criteria are available on the initiative’s website.

Teams interested in competing for the $15,000 prize are asked to submit a two-page application outlining their smart pilot project pitch by January 28, 2018. Applications will be vetted by an adjudication team from Camosun College to narrow down the field to the top ten submissions.

Top teams will be invited to develop a more detailed proposal and will pitch their ideas in front of an expert panel and live audience at a Dragon’s Den style event on March 11 where the top three winners will be selected through a weighted selection criteria combining live audience voting (25%) and independent scoring by the professional adjudication committee (75%).

The panel of experts for the Open Innovation Challenge include:

  • Christina Clarke – Executive Director, Songhees Nation;
  • Mandy Farmer – CEO, Accent Inns & Hotel Z;
  • Nanon de Gaspe-Beaubien Mattrick – Founder, Beehive Holdings;
  • Hannes Blum – former CEO,; and
  • Owen Matthews – Vice-President, Wesley Clover.

Each winner will receive a $15,000 prize and the opportunity to be included in the regional bid for Canada’s Smart Cities Challenge. Winners will also be invited to attend a networking event with top investors from around the globe on March 12 at the Greater Victoria Prosperity Summit.

For more information on the Open Innovation Challenge rules, criteria, dates and timeline, please visit: