Four scientists stand in two boats floating on a lake on a sunny day
Press release

Young Manitoban Innovators Win $20,000 Seed Funding in National Competition to Save Lake Winnipeg

Particuleye Technologies will receive $20,000 in seed funding for earning first place in the AquaHacking Lake Winnipeg 2020 Challenge Final today for their solution to address microplastics pollution in Lake Winnipeg.

October 20, 2020

Winnipeg, MB—The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Aqua Forum held the AquaHacking Lake Winnipeg 2020 Challenge Final today via live stream.

Five teams of post-secondary students and young professionals from across Canada pitched their tech-based solutions to address urgent freshwater issues including microplastics, water and land management in agriculture, drinking water in remote centres, and watershed investment. A panel of five judges with expertise in business, technology, and water science determined the winners.

“I’m speechless. It’s unbelievable what this competition does and I can’t wait to see what happens going forward with all the teams and with our solution,” says Quinn Desrochers, CEO of winning team Particuleye Technologies. “Thanks to all the sponsors and supporters, and the mentors who answered all our questions and helped us out along the way.”

Overall, the teams received a total of $50,000 in seed funding plus incubator space to launch their start-ups and make a positive impact on the Lake Winnipeg watershed.

Particulareye winners Lake Winnipeg Aquahacking

The winners are:

1st Place ($20,000): Particuleye Technologies from University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, and Queen’s University, addressing microplastics;

2nd Place ($15,000): LasIR Nutrient Technology from University of Manitoba, addressing water and land management in agriculture;

3rd Place ($10,000): Typha Co. from University of Manitoba, addressing watershed investment;

4th Place ($2,500): Water Secure from University of Regina, addressing drinking water in remote centres;

5th Place ($2,500): AbbaTek Group from University of Manitoba and Memorial University of Newfoundland, addressing the issue of microplastics

“I’m so proud of the work our finalist teams put into this Challenge and we at IISD are delighted by the results,” said Jane McDonald, IISD’s Executive Vice President.

“It’s been impressive to watch these youth continue to invest their time, energy, and talent into coming up with innovative solutions to some of the toughest problems plaguing Lake Winnipeg—and they did so amidst a global pandemic! We are confident these teams will continue to make a splash as leaders in the water sector for future generations.”

“Congratulations to all the finalists in the 2020 Lake Winnipeg AquaHacking Challenge!” said Désirée McGraw, President & CEO of Aqua Forum, the organization which oversees the AquaHacking Challenge.

“I salute your commitment to a better future by solving wicked water problems in Canada. We are certain that this is only the beginning of your journey as entrepreneurs and positive disruptors in the water sector. Thank you to everyone that has collaborated toward the success of our first-ever Aquahacking Challenge in the Prairies.  I want to underscore what a pleasure it has been to work with our partner and host, the nationally-respected and globally-renowned International Institute for Sustainable Development.”

To watch the recording of the event, click here.

A program with more information on the teams, their solutions, and more can be found here and you can find a backgrounder on the competition below.

Special thanks to the sponsors and partners of the AquaHacking Lake Winnipeg 2020 Challenge: De Gaspe Beaubien Foundation, RBC Foundation, Lavery Lawyers, Ovivo, Mitacs, IBM, Government of Manitoba, The Winnipeg Foundation, Johnston Group, Canada Life, Eco Canada, James Richardson & Sons, Ltd., The North West Company, Manitoba Technology Accelerator, Economic Development Winnipeg, North Forge, Taylor & McCaffrey LLP, and Aqua Forum.


For more information and to arrange an interview with the winners, contact:

Sumeep Bath Communications Manager, IISD Experimental Lakes Area

(204) 958-770 ext. 740

Laurence Basso Communications Coordinator, Aqua Forum

(514) 254-9611   

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.