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Startup Dunedin’s Inaugural Waste Jam an Overwhelming Succes


Fifty Dunedin locals spent their weekend at Startup Dunedin’s inaugural Waste Jam, a 48 hour event to create new initiatives in minimising waste in Dunedin.

Dunedin City Council allocates up to $40,000 per year for innovation and development in minimising waste. Collaborative projects are encouraged, but unfortunately the fund typically receives very few applications. In response, Startup Dunedin launched Waste Jam to facilitate more applications.

The weekend-long event brought those with experience and passion for waste minimisation together with experts and mentors who could contextualise and accelerate their ideas.

Guest speakers included Sue Bidrose, Chief Executive of Dunedin City Council; Rachel Barker, CEO of Plastics NZ; Jim O’Malley, Dunedin City Councillor; and Deborah Manning, CEO and Founder of KiwiHarvest.

Rachel Butler from Startup Dunedin who coordinated the event said “Half the challenge is getting the right people in the same room as each other. Many of the attendees were already working on projects that made a difference in the community. Waste Jam was about giving them the opportunity to collaborate.”

The weekend also featured a “human library" of 20 experts in various fields who were available to give advice.

Louise Evans, a Design Sprint expert who travelled from Invercargill to mentor over the weekend said “It’s exciting to see this level of collaboration in the south. The weekend was full of plenty of ideas but more importantly a wealth of people that are committed to action.”

Startup Dunedin created Waste Jam in collaboration with the Otago Polytechnic, University of Otago and Dunedin City Council.

The weekend was facilitated by Alice Marsh, Co-founder of the Social Experiment and Ray O’Brien, Learning and Teaching Specialist of Otago Polytechnic. Mr O’Brien described waste as “one of the great challenges of our time”. “No council, government or organisation is equipped to deal with waste effectively on their own. We all need to do our bit.” said O’Brien.

12 teams formed over the weekend all intending to move forward with their ideas or collaborate with another organisation to make them happen.

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