A group of local students took the top prize at Okanagan College’s “Inventathon” last weekend with their innovative idea for recycling food waste.
The inaugural competition challenged participants to create a new business idea in just 24 hours dealing with one of four major social issues.
Okanagan College business students Cameron Starcheski, Cooper Simpson and Darren Gillespie, along with UBC Okanagan students Jaren Larsen and Pablo Doskoch, were awarded top prize for their idea: Refresh.
Refresh would be a social enterprise that helps reconcile the issues of food waste and food scarcity in the Okanagan.
It would work through a mobile, refrigerated truck that accesses grocery stores, cafeterias and restaurants to pick up high-quality food that would have been wasted and operate as a mobile food vendor.
Their idea would allow them to bypass food safety, storage and redistribution problems that have plagued similar ideas in the past.
“With Refresh there’s no need for overnight storage or repackaging because the truck is refrigerated and is able to provide a direct connection between the source and the end user. That simplifies a huge part of the process and allows for easy and safe redistribution," explained Starcheski, vice-president of Enactus Okanagan College.
“When you consider that more than 850,000 people rely on the food bank for meals it seems like a fairly obvious supply and demand issue.”
After pitching their idea to a group of 15 business professionals the group took home top prize, and a cool $600, for their efforts.