CASE STUDY 21: 1st Canadian Global Impact Competition

Case Study 21- CGICSingularity University’s mission is to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. Over 5 years ago, Ray Kurzweil and Dr. Peter Diamandis opened the institution with support from some the world’s largest and most innovative companies Google, Cisco, and Genentech. Today it boasts an alumni base of almost 1500 people which includes CEOs, inventors, founders, high profile artists, government leaders, and change agents. It’s longest running program is its Graduate Studies Program which each summer brings together 80 students from close to 40 countries for an intensive and immersive 10-week experience at the SU Campus, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, down the road from the Googleplex. The admission process attracts thousands of students and is highly competitive.

Singularity University (SU) created the Global Impact Competitions to attract students and award scholarship all over the world. Innovation Guelph organized and host the first Canadian Global Impact Competition.

The Global Impact Competition (GIC) is a nation-wide contest which challenges individuals to come up with an idea capable of positively impacting a million people within 5 years. Held all over the world, these contests are setup to help catalyze outside-the-box thinking and facilitate relationships between young innovators and current leaders in the private and public center.

GIC’s were held in over 15 different countries during the spring of 2014. The 1st Canadian GIC was held on April 2nd, 2014. Innovation Guelph and a team of committed organizers designed and organized Canada’s first ever GIC.

The top prize, valued at $30,000 USD, was awarded to Tamara Etmanski from Calgary, Alberta. A University of Oxford Ph.D. engineering graduate, with an idea to create an online thesis archive called Stackz, designed to democratize academic discovery and reporting. She was the best-rounded candidate with a vibrant positive attitude and made an excellent ambassador to SU from Canada.

The First Canadian Global Impact Competition (GIC 2014) was a major success. Singularity University was impressed with the quality of Guelph’s event despite this being our first one ever in Canada! They were also pleased with the quality of the finalists and the judge’s selection for the top prize. The bar was set high. IG worked with Venture Lab to plan GIC 2015, which took place in Markham Ontario. The event built on GIC 2014. Go Canada!

Sadly, SU changed their model for the Global Impact Competitions so no more were held after the first two in Canada.