The Disruptor Labs competition aims to inspire and provide innovative solutions to challenges faced by refugee and resettled refugee communities today. They are aimed at emerging entrepreneurs, tech developers, visionaries and innovators with projects in early stages of conception and development to projects with track record and readiness to scale.
The Labs are split into the main verticals as listed below, and qualifying teams of applicants will be invited to present their projects to a panel of judges from various disciplines, and a room full of conference participants. Four finalist teams will be selected for this final phase of the competition in each category. After presenting and taking questions from the jury, the winners will be chosen based on a combined score from the jury and conference participants’ voting outcomes. Winners will receive $5,000 in each of the first two categories detailed below, and will qualify for support in the areas of mentorship, office space, and networking.
For more information and to access detailed information about expectations from and rights of participants, click here.
A generation of youth is bound to be lost as they slip into an education gap. Education is the surest way to economic prosperity, dignity, and long term wellbeing. What are innovators doing to disrupt what is already being done to bridge the gap refugees are facing? This is not only about increasing funding or capacity for existing methods to educate refugees, it is mostly about disrupting existing methods and having an impact that will move the dial in a way to reach the maximum number of beneficiaries.
Career success is empowerment, for individuals and entire families. When persons are displaced from their homes and countries, whether it’s a limbo period in refugee camps, or slipping into poverty upon resettlement in another country, refugees face hardships economically and find it extremely challenging to overcome. We’ve seen a great deal of government programs and community initiatives to help displaced persons stand up on their feet and make ends meet; whether they are job boards, mentorship programs, or resume workshops. What more can be done? Who is thinking outside the box? How can tech be used to innovate and facilitate economic integration of newcomers/refugees?
Entrepreneurship is bottom-up. And it works. Policy, on the other hand, is top-down. It works too.
Whether it’s disrupting the policy framework in refugee camps or changing the policies in host governments, the inner spark of a refugee will remain forever in the darkness if policies are not supportive. How do we evaluate policies that are favorable to refugees? How can we come up with results-oriented policies that bring about immediate change?
This fall, over 775 classrooms (13k+ students) will be using Peekapak’s new online game world, myPeekaville. In myPeekaville, students become a Peekapak character and practice new social and emotional skills through targeted quests and mini-games. Students are encouraged to ‘check-in’ daily by selecting how they’re feeling, providing teachers with a heatmap of student sentiment. Behind-the-scenes, teachers receive real-time data showing a student’s comprehension, progress and emotions. myPeekaville is filled with diverse characters representing a variety of cultures, talents and socio-economic backgrounds, which offer relatable role-models to all students.
Peekapak is backed by; Silicon Valley based accelerator, Imagine K12, the Edtech vertical of Y Combinator (Fast Company called YC “the world’s most powerful start-up incubator”), JOLT (a Canadian accelerator within Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District) and Uncharted (formerly Unreasonable Institute, a Denver, Colorado-based incubator for companies focused on social impact).
Prior to his current role, he worked at Waterloo-based innovation center Communitech as its Startup Services Group Manager where he advised, coached and supported over 100 technology startups. In this position he led the customer acquisition and strategic partnership programs that provided unique opportunities for entrepreneurs and high-growth tech ventures to acquire Fortune 500 companies and other large enterprises as early adopters, clients or strategic partners.
Throughout his professional career, Ayyad has held a variety of business leadership roles in banking, IT, shipping and metal recycling that range from working as a web developer and system analyst at Sun Life Toronto and the Commercial Bank of Dubai, respectively, to co-founding and leading the growth of Algéro Canadian Metals to an internationally recognized organization.
His bachelor of software engineering from the University of Western Ontario and master of business entrepreneurship and technology (MBET) from the University of Waterloo have provided him with the technical skills needed to thrive in the changing world of tech. As an entrepreneur and experienced business executive, he uses knowledge and experience gained through two decades in the technology sector and growing businesses to help Canadian startups reach new heights.
Rumie is a non-profit organization with a simple mission: to bring the free digital learning revolution to offline, remote, and underserved communities around the world. Today, it’s active in more than twenty countries, working with partners like UNICEF, Junior Achievement, Right to Play and Pencils of Promise to transform education for underserved youth.
Rumie is backed by the Silicon Valley accelerator that also produced Airbnb and Dropbox (Y-Combinator), is based at Canada’s #1 incubator (DMZ), and won the Google Impact Prize in 2017. An in-depth Harvard Business School case study on the Rumie model is now taught around the world.
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