Announcing the < post > COVID Challenge, a virtual competition to find innovative solutions to societal issues resulting from COVID-19 in Quebec

Announcing the < post > COVID Challenge, a virtual competition to find innovative solutions to societal issues resulting from COVID-19 in Quebec

by Startup Montréal
30 April 2020

Montreal, April 29, 2020.Supporting the development of innovative solutions to the societal issues we face as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, is what Bonjour Startup Montréal, Desjardins (through Cooperathon) and Google Canada are offering to do. The<post>COVID will also involve several other stakeholders in the startup ecosystem. This major virtual competition will consist of three phases extending throughout the month of May, and will enable the selected participants to develop their solutions with support from experienced entrepreneurs and experts from multiple domains.

Reimagining the world after the crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis with immense repercussions for individuals, businesses, the economy and society in general. Every sector of the economy is having to deal with the consequences of this crisis, and affected companies will have to change their ways of working. With the <post>COVID Challenge, the project organizers hope to make an active contribution to these far-reaching changes by supporting the search for concrete, innovative solutions to help Quebec deal with them more effectively.

Project leaders wishing to participate must choose one of the three challenges defined in collaboration with a range of partners, including the government of Quebec. Each challenge is designed to address a real need in a sector that has been particularly affected by the crisis, i.e. health care, education or employment. The challenges presented are:

  • Education Challenge: In the context of digital education, how can teachers evaluate their students’ progress in the learning process through the use of techniques like gamification?
  • Health Care Challenge: In the context of social distancing measures, what methods can we develop to increase and improve close human connections with our senior citizens?
  • Employment and Social Solidarity Challenge: In order to ensure a return to work that respects individual integrity in a context of physical distancing, how can technology contribute to the establishment of good health and safety practices in places like factories, universities, restaurants, shopping centres, public transportation and concert halls?

The call for projects will be open from May 1st to May 15th at midnight. The details of each challenge, registration procedures and other supporting information can be found at https://post-covid.ca

The three phases of the <post>COVID Challenge

The challenge will consist of three main phases of competition, with an additional level of selection at each phase.

Phase 1  
May 1 to May 15 2020 (midnight) Appel à candidatures
May 20 Selection of the 30 participants for phase 2 (10 projects per challenge)
Phase 2  
May 20 to May 26 Development of a business plan for the 30 selected projects
May 26 Projects presented to a panel and Announcement of the 15 projects selected for the final phase (5 projects per challenge)
Phase 3  
May 26 to June 2 Prototyping of the 15 selected projects, with support from industry experts
June 2 

Pitch to a panel and selection of the 3 grand prize winners (1 winning project per challenge)

Finalists will have access to industry experts

The finalist teams will be supported by experts from the networks of our various partners and collaborators (see full list below). Each team will be guided by its mentorthrough the prototyping and project development process.

A springboard toward completion of a concrete project

Each winning team will receive prizes valued at over $100,000, including customized coaching and workshops, mentoring, workspaces at the Notman House and access to a variety of Google services. These teams will also have access to the Desjardins Startup in Residence program, and a chance to develop a pilot project with a Quebec-based business. The full list and details of the prizes are available at https://post-covid.ca  

About Google Canada

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a global technology leader, Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world. Google Canada has offices in Waterloo, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa with over 1,500 Canadian Google employees working on teams across Engineering, AI Research, Sales and Marketing.

About Bonjour Startup Montréal

Bonjour Startup Montréal is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the creation, growth and public exposure of Montreal startups, with the goal of positioning the city among the world’s 20 most dynamic ecosystems. It is supported by Quebec’s Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, the City of Montreal, the Fonds de Solidarité(FTQ), Teralys Capital, the Business Development Bank of Canada, and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. https://bonjourstartupmtl.ca/en/

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $313 billion. It has been rated one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker, Desjardins has some of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

About the Cooperathon (Desjardins)

The Cooperathon is one of the world’s largest open innovation competition focused on social impact. With a presence in Canada, France, Belgium and Chile, this international competition brings citizens, communities, entrepreneurs, researchers and academic and institutional groups together to develop a socially responsible future.

List of project collaborators

Real Ventures, Notman House, Techstars Montréal AI, Mtl inc. Foundation, OSMO Innovation, CTREQ, Humanov-is, Gouvernement du Québec, Google For Startups, Startup in Residence

For more information, please contact:

Khatidja Kassam, Communications Advisor, Bonjour Startup Montréal

khatidja@bonjourstartupmtl.ca| 514-659-1518

Jean-Philippe Lepage, Public Relations, Desjardins Group

media@desjardins.com| 514 281-7000 or 1-866-866-7000, poste 5557732

Luiza Staniec, Corporate Communications, Google Canada