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Participants wanted for 24-h race to combat Climate Change

Creative thinkers wanted for 24-hour race to find solutions to Climate Change

Wellington, New Zealand

** 03 October 2016 **

Stunning Wellington Photo credit – Ross Cooper.

Participants are urged to sign up now for Wellington’s upcoming Climathon, with the chance to win valuable prizes and tap into a global network with their winning creative climate change solutions.

The 24-hour international challenge is in its second year, with one of last year’s top Kiwi teams selected as one of the best in the world. As a result, the team flew to the COP21 Climate Talks in Paris last December to present their idea for an ecommerce marketplace to connect small and medium enterprises with sustainable suppliers. Another of the top New Zealand groups, Kaenga, is currently pitching their idea to investors and accelerators in Berlin and en route to present at MIT, as part of their prize for 2015’s “Best Building Project.”

The 2016 Climathon takes place simultaneously in 121 cities in 34 countries on six continents, on 28 and 29 October 2016. Wellington City Council and Victoria University are joining forces again to include Wellington in the mix. The event will be held at a secret location close to the central city, revealed to participants by map 24 hours in advance. It is free of charge, and open to anyone who signs up. Last year, more people participated in the New Zealand hackathon than any other city worldwide.

This year’s focus shifts away from the traditional “stopping climate change” conversation. In an out-of-the-box twist, participants are challenged to come up with new ways for Wellington to adapt to climate change. The possibility of businesses surviving, or even finding value from, a warming planet could prove controversial. But Councillor David Lee, from Wellington City Council, says it’s crucial.

“Climate change will have significant impacts on the way we work and play in Wellington,” says Councillor David Lee. “Understanding the challenges we face and being early to see the opportunities they present right now will give us significant advantage 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 newly appointed 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 at least in principle. 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 spots in Victoria University’s summer entrepreneurship accelerator, Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp, valued at $7,500 (plus a living stipend for those who qualify), supporting them to develop their 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. The expert panel includes climate strategist Rebecca Mills, ethical business strategist James Bushell (MOTIF), leading economist Geoff Simmons as well as climate professors and behaviour change experts from Vic Uni.

The 24 hour climathon challenge brings together diverse skill sets around a desire to find solutions 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. With the innovation focus of this year’s challenge, a broad range of skills is needed: designers, entrepreneurs, public sector workers, business people, students, technologists, researchers, scientists, environmentalists songwriters and artists are all welcome.

The organisation behind the global Climathon, Climate-KIC, is the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative. Event organiser Bart de Vries was among the New Zealand contingent attending the Paris climate talks as a result of last year’s Climathon and says the experience proved invaluable. “It was inspiring to see the great products and services people are scaling into large businesses that are quickly moving us to a new, clean economy,” he says.

Mr. De Vries 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 in to speak to an engaged and connected community, with a massive global network of people to help get projects growing and effect real change ” he says.

Participants can sign up to this year’s event, as individuals or in teams, by visiting:


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

More information on the New Zealand event can be found at:


And more about the Climathon global movement is at:



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