Ocean Community News

Australian Startup Accelerator Leading Way in Cultivating the Next Generation of Ocean Impact Innovators

Pitchfest contest now open for applications

By 2025 Australia’s marine industries are estimated to contribute $100 billion per annum to our economy, with the ocean economy predicted to grow three times faster than Australia’s GDP.

Ocean Impact Organisation (OIO), co-founded by entrepreneur Nick Chiarelli and environmentalist Tim Silverwood (ex CEO, Take 3 for the Sea), recently announced The Ocean Impact Pitchfest 2020, a virtual event calling for applications from start-ups and scalable businesses working to create a positive impact on the ocean.

The finalists, runners up and winner of Pitchfest will share in over $150,000 of cash and support and join Australia’s first ocean impact ecosystem and start-up accelerator.

“The event aims to discover, showcase and celebrate innovations and innovators with the passion, drive and potential to have a significant positive impact on Planet Ocean,” says OIO Co-Founder Tim Silverwood.

In collaboration with OIO’s Pitchfest Partner Network including: Bank Australia, Deloitte, WWF and Patagonia, the event focuses on the 2020 UN World Oceans Day theme of ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean’ and seeks to cultivate the next generation of ‘Ocean Impact’ innovators. While entrants must address one or more of the six Ocean Impact themes including Ocean Health, Ocean Harvesting, Transportation & Security, Ocean Energy, Inspiration & Leisure and New Frontiers, co-founder Tim Silverwood is explicit that positive ocean impact is not limited to ocean industries.

“Ocean impact can originate on land, long distances upstream from the ocean, and involve diverse industries and individuals making simple or strategic changes to new or existing projects,” stated Silverwood.

Winners of Pitchfest 2020 will be chosen by an impressive multidisciplinary panel of expert judges according to various criteria including potential for ocean impact, level of innovation, market fit, competitive advantage, a great team, and strength of business plan. The Pitchfest Winner will receive a $15,000 cash prize provided by major event partner Bank Australia, as well as an OIO Support Package worth over $50,000 which includes: personal mentoring, legal & accounting support, customer discovery, storytelling & branding, communications and more. Additionally, two runners up and seven finalists will share in over $100,000 worth of products and services contributed by the OIO Partner Network, with the runners up also receiving personal mentoring.

Ocean Impact Organisation aims to establish Australia as a world leader in ocean solutions and drive significant investment into ocean impact ventures within the next five years. As well as boosting investment, OIO intends to generate a movement of action, asserting that multifaceted challenges require multifaceted, creative solutions.

As an island nation where 85% of the population lives within 50 km of the coast, OIO co-founder Nick Chiarelli says Australia is in a unique position to lead the world in creating an abundant and sustainable ocean economy.

“Australia can be, and should be, a world leader when it comes to ocean solutions and a sustainable ocean economy. We have unmatched ocean resources and a national network of globally respected marine industry and research organizations with world class infrastructure. Australia is an ocean nation with all of the ingredients to be a nursery for ground-breaking ideas and ocean solutions” - Nick Chiarelli.

Pitchfest 2020 is now accepting applications. If you’re working on an idea that could make a positive impact on the ocean, more information and applications are available at www.oceanimpact.org/pitchfest2020. Applications are open from 25th August to 5th October 2020 with finalists being announced on 4th November 2020.

For more information on Ocean Impact Organisation please click here.


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