Creating a launchpad for circular innovation

Doug MacMillan
Doug MacMillan • 2 February 2022
COIL

Launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) helps create, prove, and scale transformative circular solutions. By using Guelph-Wellington’s circular economy test-bed ecosystem, and in collaboration with Innovation Guelph and 10C, with support from University of Guelph, LaunchIT Minto, Guelph Chamber of Commerce, Provision Coalition, Wellington-Waterloo
Community Futures, and the Guelph Wellington Business Centre, COIL aims to accelerate 49 circular businesses and launch five industrial-scale demonstration projects across southern Ontario. 

The initiative includes several components. The COIL Activate Accelerator and Evolve Pre-Accelerator supports businesses with funding, training, and mentorship as they develop and scale their circular operations. COIL is also developing learning modules and guidebooks to educate businesses on circular economy concepts and opportunities, as well as a Digital Passport program that allows participating companies to collect badges based on their circular practices and raise their community profile. 

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Meanwhile, the COIL ReSource Exchange Marketplace is a free online platform that helps find new uses and collaborations for food by/co-products or other waste, rather than sending them to landfill. 

Finally, the COIL Circulate CoLab puts out challenges, inviting innovators to propose ways to reduce waste, redesign supply chains, and transform existing linear business practices. The first challenge was launched in August 2021, focused on redesigning upstream food systems. Five teams, consisting of a total of 21 organizations have been funded to prototype their idea and in February 2022 the teams will pitch their prototypes to an expert evaluation committee, with at least one team winning up to $100,000 to scale into a full demonstration project. More CoLab challenges will be issued in spring and fall 2022. 

“If we want to create a more circular economy, we need innovators to blaze the trail with new ideas and solutions,” says COIL manager David Messer. “Through Circulate CoLab we hope to give innovators space and resources to test big ideas that can inspire and transform their industry or even create new ones.”

A circular food system inspires and creates a thriving, circular and regenerative economy.