Manly-based Ocean Impact Organisation is on a mission to support those who are supporting ocean health.
Northern Beaches duo Nick Chiarelli and Tim Silverwood founded the Ocean Impact Organisation (OIO) to help people start, grow and invest in businesses that have a positive impact on our oceans.
One way they do this is through their ‘Ocean Impact Pitchfest’, a global initiative to find, support and accelerate innovative solutions that can transform the health of the planet’s oceans.
“Given how fundamentally important a healthy ocean is for our own survival, there was a gaping hole and a huge opportunity for Australia to become a global leader in accelerating scalable ocean solutions,” Chiarelli said.
Over the past seven weeks, Pitchfest 2021 received 215 applications from startups and entrepreneurs, from 45 countries around the world- all with an idea to help improve the health of our oceans.
OIO Co-founder Tim Silverwood, said with their office a short stroll away from Cabbage Tree Bay – one of only 12 aquatic reserves in NSW – the team is never short on reminders of why they dedicate their time towards making a greater positive impact on the great challenges our oceans are facing.
“The ocean faces so many pressures, and we just cant have business as usual, we need a new generation of leaders and innovators and entrepreneurs, who want to help restore and regenerate for a prosperous future for us, and of course for the creatures that call the ocean home.”
Finalists announced today
The winner, announced next month, receives a number of supports, including a $50,000 cash prize and an equal amount of in-kind support from the organisation, with two runners up sharing similar but slightly reduced offerings. There are also nine finalists who receive ongoing support.
Entrants needed to fulfill key ocean challenges and solutions to be eligible to be selected as a finalist; these included climate solutions, ocean harvesting solutions, biodiversity solutions, and plastic pollution solutions.
“We’re thrilled to see so many passionate entrepreneurs and innovators across the world applying to our programs to help accelerate their solutions and in doing so, help to transform ocean health,” Silverwood says.
Local efforts for global need
According to a recent IPCC report, climate change is a ‘code red for humanity’. The report outlines the increasing risk of droughts, flooding and extreme heatwaves, with the risk of a ‘temperature limit’ being broken in just over a decade.
The report also states “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land”. But, with scientists saying disaster can be avoided if humanity starts to take action, Silverwood says OIO is making it their mission to transform the health of the ocean.
“Our goal at OIO is to accelerate 100 ocean startups in five years and play our part in an emerging global ecosystem to accelerate 1000 ocean startups in 10 years.”
“What we also want is for people to understand how critically important the ocean is for our future survival.”
Pitchfest is now in its second year. This year also sees the launch of the HP Generation Impact Incubator- a program for young (35 and under) Australian innovators on a mission to transform ocean health.
Pitchfest is also offering three ‘Spotlight’ awards in the areas of global plastic solutions, innovative answers to ocean harvesting, and new approaches in utilizing the ocean as a climate solution. Winners of these awards will receive $10,00 each, as well as assistance from OIO in advancing their ocean impact innovation.
Winners will be announced on 4 November.