Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) fosters innovative solutions that reduce waste and fight climate change
Guelph, Ont., January 19, 2023 – Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) is receiving strong uptake from circular businesses from across the province and beyond. Read on for an in-depth look at the immense impact COIL is making in the circular economy.
The initiative, launched in 2021, aims to accelerate the growth of new circular economy innovations and businesses across southern Ontario in the food and environment sectors.
Backed with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, COIL has launched 11 program intakes resulting in over 100 businesses across the province participating in the initiative. This includes:
- Five cohorts of the Activate and Evolve Accelerator programs led by Innovation Guelph, totalling 63 circular economy businesses
- Four innovation challenges and Circulate CoLab rapid innovation processes, totalling 39 companies
- Eight companies participating in RePurpose Incubator program led by Anthesis Provision
- Four Demonstration Projects receiving funding up to $100,000
“It’s been an incredible first year for COIL. The speed at which this initiative is growing and scaling shows the power of partnership between the collaborating organizations and the unique value COIL adds to Ontario’s innovation ecosystem,” says David Messer, Executive Director, Smart Cities Office.
“We are seeing so many incredible innovators coming through COIL programs with amazing products and solutions that reduce waste and emissions while growing the economy,” says Alison Crumblehulme, CEO, Innovation Guelph.
Launch of Harvest Impact social finance loans
Harvest Impact, a social finance fund led by 10C (a core COIL program delivery partner), issued its first loan in 2021 and has now grown to 10 loans totalling $125,900. This initiative offers loans below market rates, including at zero per cent for businesses participating in COIL programs.
“Harvest Impact is a game-changer because it will help small businesses and social enterprises that provide social and environmental value for our community value be supported by that same community,” says Julia Grady, co-founder, 10C Shared Space.
Advancing four Demonstration Projects, with more on the way
Projects led by Greenhouse Juice and St. James Town Community Co-op were the first to receive funding as COIL Demonstration Projects. The teams received $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, following $20,000 received in a CoLab prototyping phase.
In August 2022, Green Bowls became the next business to be awarded $100,000 as a COIL Demonstration Project. Green Bowls is working with a local juice maker and brewery to produce a line of ready-to-eat meals mainly made from upcycled ingredients like juice pulps and spent brewing grain. Beyond being good for the planet, the meals are all high in nutrition, including fiber.
COIL also supports up to 10 companies to receive Certified Upcycled™ certification. The Certified Upcycled™ program was developed by the Upcycled Food Association, and this Demonstration Project helps consumers learn the environmental benefits of upcycled foods.
“Most consumers aren’t aware of what upcycled food is, but once they learn, most are highly interested in trying it out. This standard will make it easier to identify foods that help reduce waste and support the growth of the circular food economy,” says Cher Mereweather, CEO, Anthesis Provision.
COIL plans to fund at least three more Demonstration Projects in the next six months.
Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab
With funding support from the Co-operators, COIL Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab (ZWETL) is launching two pilots aimed at helping capture and divert waste from new residential construction sites. Better Bin Co. and AET Group were selected following a civic innovation challenge to pilot novel approaches to source separation of construction materials.
“Construction materials account for almost 65 per cent of landfill waste, most of which can be recycled and upcycled if it doesn’t just go into a single dumpster. With this pilot, we hope to figure out the business models and broader industry conditions we need to put in place so more construction and renovation projects can become zero or minimal waste,” says Madeline Carter, project lead, ZWETL.
About Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL)
Launched in April 2021, with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) are an innovation platform and activation network focused on creating, proving, and scaling transformative solutions across all sectors – starting with food and environment – in southern Ontario that will move Canada toward a climate-smart circular economy.
COIL is a sister initiative to Our Food Future – both led by the Smart Cities Office, a joint local government project of the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington. Funding for COIL program participants is provided in collaboration with 10C’s Harvest Impact Fund, a social-finance initiative that supports impactful projects to strengthen local communities.
COIL programs, tools and resources are delivered as a collaboration between the City of Guelph, the County of Wellington, Innovation Guelph, 10C Shared Space and Anthesis Provision.
Executive Director, Smart Cities Office
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661