Home » Sustainable Business Expo 2021 » Innovation Hackathon: Sustainable Student Solutions » Innovation Hackathon: Sustainable Student Solutions

This event has now passed! 

Thank you to everyone who made the 2021 Sustainable Business Expo an incredible success. Stay tuned on our social media and sign up for our newsletter for highlights about this event and more information about all upcoming events!

You can view our student Innovation Hackathon project submissions below.


PacTeam Hackathon Submission: The PackageWise App

This proposal and pitch, created by the PacTeam (Aya, Daniel, Mehak, Mohit), was submitted as a part of Sustainability Leadership’s Innovation Hackathon, which ran from October 21st-24th. Each team was challenged to create a sustainable business solution to address the problem of packaging waste in Canada. The PackageWise App intends to create awareness about the user’s generation of packaging waste which is detrimental to the environment. PackageWise aims to promote awareness by providing users with a carbon footprint score when they upload their grocery receipts. PackageWise suggests alternative products with sustainable packaging for consumers to purchase for their next visit to reduce their carbon footprint score significantly. A reduction in the score reinforces the consumer to behave in an environmentally sustainable way by quantifying and gamifying their experience, which is shared with others for further encouragement.

Zero To Go Hackathon Submission: Replacement of Pill Bottles by Water-soluble Drug Bags

This project pitch was created by the Zero To Go Team (Kim, Nazli, Martha), and was submitted as a part of Sustainability Leadership’s Innovation Hackathon, which ran from October 21st-24th. Each team was challenged to create a sustainable business solution to address the problem of packaging waste in Canada. This sustainable business solution proposes addressing the problem of prescription bottle waste; did you know that in Canada, ~800 million prescriptions are filled per year? This generates enough waste to fill 13 Olympic-sized swimming pools! To address this problem, the Zero To Go Team proposes replacing typical prescription pill bottles with a dissolvable plastic alternative, commonly utilized in detergent pods! Thank you for participating in Sustainability Leadership’s Innovation Hackathon! 

Innovation Hackathon: Sustainable Student Solutions

Join us on October 21st for our second event in the Sustainable Business Expo (SBX) series! This business networking and education session is all about innovation and engaging the sustainability leaders of tomorrow. 

By attending this event, you will also gain an exclusive opportunity to network with our Sustainability Leadership Program Members and learn about industry problems being faced with waste.

Are you a post-secondary student looking for additional ways to get involved? Keep reading to learn how you can participate in our Innovation Hackathon!

Student Opportunity

At this inaugural Innovation Hackathon, post-secondary students from all academic disciplines will tackle the challenges businesses face when it comes to managing waste in their supply chains. Student teams of 3-5 will get 80 hours to create innovative solutions to current industry challenges around the theme of zero waste and circular economy.

Participants will get the opportunity to virtually collaborate with other students, attend workshops, learn from mentors through the duration of the event. 

This event will be taking place from Thursday October 21 at 2pm until 11:59pm on Sunday October 24. Teams will also get to present their solutions to businesses at Sustainability Leadership’s SBX Conference & Tradeshow on November 3rd and 4th.

Student application form is now closed.

Hackathon Schedule

October 21st

  • 2-3pm: Industry Problem Presentations
  • 3-3:30pm: Student Hackathon Orientation
  • 3:30-4pm: Student Team Icebreaker
  • 4pm: Hackathon begins

October 22nd

  • 8am: Workshop (Business Canvas Model)
  • 6-8pm: Student/Mentor Office Hours
October 23rd

  • 8am: Workshop (Pitching Project Ideas)
  • 6-8pm: Student/Mentor Office Hours

October 24th

  • 8am: Workshop
  • 12am: Hackathon Completes (Student Projects Due)

Why Participate?

You will have the opportunity to:
  • Work collaboratively with other students to create an innovative zero waste solution
  • Attend workshops to gain useful skills in project proposal, design and pitch
  • Receive mentorship from subject matter experts
  • Attend our SBX Conference & Tradeshow on November 3rd and 4th for free
  • Teams receive a booth at the SBX Conference & Tradeshow to present their solutions to businesses

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You can register for this year’s Innovation Hackathon by following this Google Forms link. Before you register, make sure you have the following information handy:

  • Personal information: Your full name, email address, gender identity, city and country of residence, timezone, current program of study, and highest completed level of education!
  • Your reasoning for wanting to participate: A resumé (optional), your interest in joining the event, and your hopes for this experience!
  • Additional Details: How you heard about our event, your past experience with hackathons, any accessibility requirements you may have, any registered participants you would like to work with, and any questions you may have for us!

In order to participate, you must be:

  • Registered as a post-secondary student at a Canadian institution (full-time or part-time)
  • Available to participate during the Hackathon (October 21st-24th), and present at the Sustainable Business Conference & Tradeshow (November 3rd-4th)

The deadline to submit a registration form is 11:59pm EST on October 17th, 2021! 

If you have registered for the Innovation Hackathon, you should expect to receive an email confirming your participation and next steps on Monday, October 18th. If you do not receive an email confirmation, please reach out to sbx@sustainabilityleadership.ca.

Our event organizers will be placing students in teams of 3-5, ensuring there is a diverse representation of educational backgrounds, providing you with the best opportunity to learn from others, develop a holistic solution, create a business plan and be able to market the idea to businesses. We will do our best to make sure each team is balanced in both size and the knowledge of participants! 

We are happy to take your request into consideration. Our priority is to balance the teams in size and areas of expertise so that you have the best potential of creating a solution that businesses can implement! Our registration form includes a section for inputting other registered participants that you would like to work with. If you have someone in mind, make sure to include their name and contact information in your registration form! 

As a general rule, you should aim to be available for as much of the Innovation Hackathon as possible. However, as students, we understand if you have conflicting schedules that may impact your availability for the whole eighty hours! 

We suggest taking the time at the start of the Hackathon to discuss team schedules, and to make sure there is an equal allocation of work between all members.

Recordings of the workshops will be provided throughout the Hackathon, so if you can’t attend in person, you can still access the content later on.

This is your opportunity to show off the hard work and innovative solution you have created! At least one member of your team should be present at the Sustainable Business Conference & Tradeshow, on November 3rd-4th to represent the group and speak to your idea. This event will also serve as a significant networking opportunity as young professionals in the field of business sustainability, so we highly encourage you and your team members to attend as much of the event as possible! 

As a participant in the Innovation Hackathon, you will gain access to:

  • Professional development workshops
  • Mentorship from professors/industry professionals in the field of sustainable business
  • Networking with other students, business/industry professionals and NGOs
  • Free tickets to both days of the SBX ($150 value)!
  • Virtual team booth at the SBX ($250 value)!

Each team’s sustainable business solution will be evaluated by a third-party panel of business leaders/industry experts in advance of the Sustainable Business Conference & Tradeshow. Solutions will be judged based on their overall quality, their applicability to businesses, and their presentation in the form of a business proposal and short video presentation. More information and a rubric will be provided to teams in the days leading up to the Hackathon! 

At Sustainability Leadership, we believe that students are future leaders when it comes to finding innovative and long-term solutions. It is important to give you the space and creative opportunity to engage in discussions about sustainable business solutions and provide you with the support and motivation you need to approach the solution from an “outside the box” perspective. 


This event gives participants the opportunity to build connections and network with like-minded students, businesses, organisations, and academics who are dedicated to advancing the sustainable business movement. You won’t want to miss it! 


By participating in this year’s Hackathon, you will gain practical experience in:


  • Brainstorming and creating sustainable solutions
  • Developing a business plan
  • Marketing your idea
  • Gaining the confidence to present your idea
  • Contributing to a healthier and more vibrant economy, society and environment
  • Creating tangible change!

This is exactly why you should participate! We know how daunting it can be to take chances, meet new people and publicly showcase your work, but this is how true change and growth happen. Your success is right on the other side of your fear.


Keep in mind you won’t be alone! By participating in our Hackathon you’ll be working with other students in the same position as you and you’re more than welcome to work alongside people you know. Just make sure to include them in your registration. 


You’ll also have continuous support from our staff members and guidance from local businesses and industry professionals who will be sharing their sustainability stories to inspire you. 

Ready to create sustainable change in your community? Eager to put valuable experience on your resume? Don’t hesitate to apply! We’ll see you there.