The Okanagan Basin Water Board and Aqua Forum will be launching the 2020 AquaHacking Challenge on October 29 at UBC Okanagan. Doors open at 10:45 a.m. and the program begins at 11:15 a.m. The kick-off will include the unveiling of the five water issues selected to be addressed as part of this year’s B.C. Challenge.

AquaHacking was founded by the De Gaspe Beaubien Foundation five years ago with the goal of connecting youth and young professionals—with an interest in freshwater issues, cleantech innovation, and entrepreneurship‑with mentors who could help them launch real-world solutions. The program initially had a five-year focus on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin (2015-2019). Since then, it has received funding from the RBC Foundation to bring the program coast to coast, and Aqua Forum has been established as a separate non-profit to oversee the initiative.

The Okanagan was chosen as the host location for the first western AquaHacking challenge because of the region’s focus on water sustainability and its emerging tech sector. The challenge is open to teams from throughout B.C. working on issues that affect communities across the province.  It’s anticipated that the tech solutions coming out of the B.C. challenge could deliver national, and even international, benefits.

This 2020 Aquahacking Challenge, aimed at attracting tech-savvy youth to help tackle B.C.’s freshwater issues, will be one of three events being held across Canada in 2020. Separate AquaHacking events are being held in Winnipeg and Halifax. In each challenge, students and young professionals will compete for more than $50,000 in prizes, mentorship and skills building workshops, and a secured spot in a startup incubator.

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