Wellington Scoop

24-hour Climathon challenge seeking participants with new ideas

Press Release – Climathon
Participants are urged to sign up now for Wellington’s upcoming Climathon to get their hands on the most recent data and knowledge that could see them come up with groundbreaking new ideas to reduce carbon emissions and grow New Zealand’s green growth economy.

The 24-hour international challenge is in its third year, with Wellington boasting two of the largest turnouts globally in previous years forcing them to put a limit on participants numbers during this years challenge. The Climathon Wellington organisers are putting the call out to people in business,entrepreneurship, tech, civil engineering, design, facilitation, community, architecture, planning, environmental and construction sectors to help solve three key challenges for Wellington.

1. What new ways can we use to engage key communities?

2. When will infrastructure break and what are the obvious solutions?

3. How do we improve waste and transport?

An Innovas report commissioned by the UK government in 2009 put the global value of the low carbon and environmental goods and services market (green growth economy) at NZ$6 trillion.

The 2017 Climathon takes place simultaneously in 240 cities in 34 countries on six continents, on 27 and 28 October 2017. Wellington City Council and Victoria University are joining forces again to include Wellington in the mix with Auckland and Christchurch hosting events as well. Climathon Wellington will be held at the National Library where participants will be catered for and enjoy the opportunity to have a free massage from Climathons onsite massage therapists.

This year’s focus is on the opportunity that the green growth economy presents New Zealand and participants are challenged to come up with new ways for Wellington to adapt to climate change. The possibility of businesses thriving, and finding value from, a warming planet could prove controversial. But Councillor David Lee, from Wellington City Council, says it’s a huge opportunity.

“Climate change is having significant impacts on the way the world works and plays, and Wellington has similar challenges to other cities around the world” says Councillor David Lee. “Understanding the challenges we face and being early to see the opportunities they present right now gives us significant opportunity in not only looking after our environment and people, but also on the world stage in the market place.”

Associate Professor Marjan van den Belt, Victoria’s Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) is excited about the possibilities. “I think it’s crucial to design ‘adaptation oriented’ companies that – from inception – also connect to and ultimately invest in mitigation as part of their business model. This is not a “gold rush” based on demise, but rather an opportunity to enhance the social ecological business spirit by keeping adaptation and mitigation connected.”

Top teams can win;

$6000 research scholarships,

A place for your team at the Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp (valued at over $7,500)

Support to apply for up to $5,000 of Deep South Challenge Funding

Opportunities to work with council.

Workshop series with business coaching professionals to progress your idea further

Other prizes are expected to be announced in coming weeks. Judges will look for the environmental, social and economic impact the ideas will have on Wellington, as well as their long term viability, scalability and sustainability.

Event organiser Bart de Vries was among the New Zealand contingent attending the Paris climate talks as a result of 2015’s Climathon and says the global Climathon alumni network – which will be available for this year’s participants to tap into – is an important resource. “It gives you a way into a massive global network, who have resources, and are looking to support and grow good ideas into new markets” he says.


The 24 hour Climathon challenge brings together diverse skill sets around a desire to find solutions to local challenges in a short time window. This style of problem solving has shown to be highly effective at creating unique and creative solutions to big and complex issues.

The organisation behind the global Climathon, Climate-KIC, is the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative.

Previous top Kiwi teams have gone on to be selected as some of the best in the world. Some winning huge global competitions such as Kaenga’s victory of the MIT-Climate Colab best building project of 2016 and Po0ol, who were flown to COP21 in Paris to see the historic agreement signed in 2015 and pitch their ecommerce marketplace to connect small and medium enterprises with sustainable suppliers to city leaders from around the globe. Other going on to participate in Mahuki and Vic Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, local business incubation programs.

Event organiser Bart de Vries was among the New Zealand contingent attending the Paris climate talks as a result of 2015’s Climathon and says the experience proved invaluable. “It is inspiring to see the great products and services people are scaling into large businesses that are quickly moving us to a new, green growth economy, and the alumni networks internationally are can be a huge asset to New Zealand” he says.

Climathon Wellington is co-hosted by the Wellington City Council and Victoria University, with support from Deep South Challenge, Royal Society of New Zealand, Victoria University Wellington Student Association and Viclink. Climathon Wellington is delivered by MOTIF.



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