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Mouvement Desjardins announces “Coopérathon,” the World’s Largest Open Innovation Competition for Social Impact

Mouvement Desjardins announced the third edition of “Coopérathon,” an inclusive open innovation competition for social impact from September 26th until November 1st in nine sites across Canada, including Toronto, Waterloo and Ottawa/Gatineau. All proceeds will go to the Malala Fund benefiting safe education for girls

 A unique pre-incubation challenge, Coopérathon brings together students, experts, mentors, strategists, developers, designers, sociopreneurs and partners to collaborate on projects that provide meaningful, concrete solutions to social issues. 

“Coopérathon is a purpose-driven marathon of collaboration,” says Federico Puebla, Director of Innovation at Desjardins.“We’re seeking to create a more sustainable social future by rallying together impact creators in an environment that facilitates a culture of innovation through the bridging of ideas and actions.” 

Part of Desjardins’ social responsibility and cooperation initiatives, Coopérathon was designed as a platform and movement for creating social impact projects, uniting a community of people and organizations who believe cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship will lead to positive change in the world. Over 25 days, participants will generate ideas and develop a project–from pre-incubation, prototyping, and pitching the concept–to convince juries their solutions have effective social benefits.

They will be supported by community, academic and industrial partners in the development of their initiatives. The winning projects will be awarded prizes during the Coopérathon finale to be held on November 1st in Canada and France. 

“Our mission with Coopérathon is to connect ecosystems and communities that share a vision for the planet and society,” says Ilias Benjelloun, Open Innovation Catalyst at the Desjardins Lab. “It’s an inclusive platform for anyone who wishes to explore, innovate and create social change with projects they’re passionate about. Our goal is to bring together people from all walks of life, including visible minorities and fragile communities.”

Coopérathon 2018 will revolve along the tracks of finance, education, healthcare and energy. Each track ties into one or more of the United Nations' sustainable development goals, including economic growth and clean energy. During the four weeks of the platform, Mouvement Desjardins will be hosting numerous workshops, bootcamps and information sessions in participating cities to encourage creativity among teams. Participants will gain access to professionals in universities, private institutions and non-profit organizations, along with specialists in smart city, technology and design. 

This year’s Coopérathon follows back-to-back successes in its previous rounds–last year, it drew in 1480 participants, 100 teams, 16 impact start-ups, and awarded over $75,000 in prizes. One of last year’s winners included DIS-MOI, an application designed to help prevent suicide among youth, developed in partnership with XPND Capital managing partner and former Dans l’oeil du dragonjudge Alexandre Taillefer, and l’Association Québécois de prévention du suicide. 

The kick-off event for Coopérathon’s third edition will be held on September 26th at the Alexandra Pier in the Old Port in Montreal. Bringing together over 2000 people for a social “mixology,” participants will have the opportunity to meet and finalize their teams. 

Coopérathon 2018 will take place in the following cities: Montreal, Toronto/Waterloo, Quebec City/Levis, Rouyn-Noranda, Sherbrooke, Shawinigan, Ottawa/Gatineau as well as France (Paris/Normandy/Overseas Territories).

Every year, all registration fees are donated to a foundation. For the 2018 edition, proceeds will go to the Malala Fund, which champions the education of girls around the world. Coopérathon is open to all residents of Canada and France who are at least 18 years of age. 

To participate: Visit http://cooperathon.com/and click “register”. Tickets for the 4 weeks are $25 for standard admission, and $15 for students.

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