In late August, the Munk School’s Munk One program held its first-ever virtual “Dragons’ Den” competition.

The competition is Munk One’s take on the CBC reality TV show Dragon’s Den, where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas on national television, vying for financial investment from a panel of venture capitalists. Munk One puts a more altruistic spin on the concept, challenging first-year students to come up with ambitious interventions to global problems.

Five teams of Munk One students pitched their ideas to a panel of esteemed judges. This year’s panel included Jennifer Keesmaat, former chief city planner for the City of Toronto; Yaprak Baltacioğlu, Munk School professor and chancellor at Carleton University; Jennifer Frees, vice president, partnerships at the Toronto International Film Festival; and Hamoon Ekhitiari, founder and CEO of Toronto-based innovation studio Audacious Futures.

This year’s event marked the launch of the Carey Projects, a joint venture between Munk One and Audacious Futures, established in honour of Munk One alumna Carey Davis, who died in January 2019. “Carey was fueled by a relentless commitment to research. She was endlessly curious and she was invested in developing a much better understanding of complex environmental, political, and social issues,” said Teresa Kramarz, director of the Munk One program. “Her dedication to research was always matched by commitment to action and the Carey Projects is a tribute to this curiosity and direct engagement with global issues.”

The members of the winning Dragon’s Den team for this year were Alex Erickson, Andrea Caceres, Grace Adams, Aryan Dhar, and Reece Young, who were tasked with coming up with an intervention to address the first United Nations Sustainable Development Goal: no poverty. Acknowledging that poverty is not always monetary, but a state of deprivation, the team pitched an intervention to harvest fog to collect drinkable water for the community in Ihuanco, a coastal settlement two hours south of Lima, Peru.

Through the Carey Projects, the team will regularly meet with staff from Audacious Futures to develop their intervention into a pilot, from the design and discovery process through to implementation and measurement. The Carey Projects will provide the team with a stipend to offset costs associated with their intervention while working under the guidance of the Audacious Futures team. “We’re really excited to be part of this over the coming year,” said Ekhitiari. “Everything about Carey was that word ‘audacious’ coming to life.  She’s always going to be that inspiration for how to go from thinking big to taking action.”

Read more about the Carey Projects.
Donate to the Carey Projects fund.

September 24, 2020