Creative minds spring into action  

Challenge Your World hosts Idea Challenge and Rendez-Vous 09

By Anna Sarkissian

If you don’t try, it won’t happen.

Marketing graduate Debbie Carman, responsible for sustainable business at Challenge Your World, says one of the most important things she has learned is that you need to be motivated to turn your vision into reality.

Founded in early 2009, the Montreal-based organization is dedicated to creating a new generation of sustainable businesses.

“We all have good ideas but then we don’t do anything about it,” Carman says. The John Molson School of Business alumna, who was active in Sustainable Concordia and the Sustainable Business Conference as an undergraduate, is hoping to spur people to act.

To give creative thinkers a little extra prodding, Challenge Your World is handing out $5 000 and three months of support to an aspiring entrepreneur whose ideas would result in products or services that would effect positive change on society or the environment. The winner will also be flown into town to attend their Rendez-Vous 09 on Nov. 19 as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Keynote speaker Guy Kawasaki, who is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author, will discuss the art of innovation.

The top 10 ideas as voted by the Challenge Your World community will also receive direct support to assess the potential of their plan.

Montrealer Ian Christopher Goodman, who completed his degree in creative writing and English at Concordia in 2006, is in the running for Best IdeaMaker with his startup Les Jardiniers ŕ bicyclette, a human-powered bicycle gardening group.

“We won’t step lightly on the earth, we’ll roll lightly,” says their online description. Goodman is trying to change the way people garden. Since the team relies on bike trailers to haul their gear around, they encourage clients to consider growing plants from seed instead of buying oversized shrubs at a nursery.

With little business experience, Goodman says he would be interested to see how the experts at Challenge Your World would recommend transforming his idea into a full-fledged business if he won.

As for the prize money, he would invest in some hardy custom-built bike trailers, which could handle more plants, tools and dirt.

“Down the line, I’d like to explore renting a car through Communauto for huge loads, or a bio-diesel vehicle,” Goodman says.

In addition to their Idea Challenge, the organization has partnered with motion graphics website Motionographer for a video challenge in which filmmakers must bring to life a sustainable invention that would make the world a cleaner, greener place.

The prize for the best film is a $2 000 Apple gift certificate and the People’s Choice Award winner will receive a $2 000 Adobe gift certificate.

Challenge Your World’s Rendez-Vous 09, a carbon-neutral event, is taking place at the Imperial Theatre, 1432, Bleury St. on Nov. 19. Doors open at 6 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit the Challenge Your World site.

Find out more about Les Jardiniers ŕ bicyclette.


Concordia University