Google Impact Challenge Innovation Contest Names 10 Canadian Finalists

Google’s charitable wing is giving Canadians the chance to vote for the best homegrown technology for solving problems around the world. It’s called the Impact Challenge, and it’s an innovation contest with a total purse of $5 million. The field has been narrowed to 10 finalists. As you’ll see in the list below, participants have come up with some exceptional ideas, which is appropriate given that the challenge is sponsored by one of the most innovative companies of the planet. The grand prize winner will be awarded a $750,000 grant.


All 10 finalists are from Canadian non-profit organizations like the Canadian Red Cross, Food Banks Canada, and the B.C. Children’s Hospital. They are:

PocketDoc – B.C. Children’s Hospital
This is a smartphone app that helps doctors diagnose pneumonia in developing countries.

LearnCloud Portal – Rumie Initiative
This offline tablet app is focused on improving education for students on what are called in Canada “Indigenous reserves,” where 60 percent of teens do not graduate high school. The app offers a curriculum “to help high school students learn about indigenous culture, history and language while gaining employment skills and financial literacy.”

RescUAV project – GlobalMedic
The RescUAV project involves using Canadian-made unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance in inaccessible disaster zones.

FoodAccess App – Food Banks Canada
This app connects farmers, manufacturers, and restaurants with donation agencies, so unused food can be provided to those who need it most rather than being sent to landfills.

Teleaudiology Cloud – World Wide Hearing Foundation International
This innovation allows doctors and speech therapists to screen children for hearing and speech issues in remote communities, and to prescribe treatment, therapy or counselling.

SIKU – Arctic Eider Society
The SIKU platform offers open-source tools for Inuit communities to map the fast-shrinking sea ice coverage in the Canadian Arctic.

3D-printed prosthetic hands – Victoria Hand Project
The Victoria Hand Project is offering a literal helping hand for low-to-mid income countries, with 3D-printed prosthetics for individuals who have lost limbs.

Service Advisor – PeaceGeeks Society
This app offers assistance to new Canadians in the form of a host of immigration services and employment resources in the user’s native language.

Growing North – Growing North
This project seeks to address the major food scarcity issues in northern Canada by establishing year-round greenhouses to grow food in the region.

REDS – Canadian Red Cross
The Register Educate Deliver System (REDS) from the Red Cross looks to scale up a pilot project used during a Canadian wildfire crisis last summer. The system registers affected individuals, shares critical information about how they should respond, and “quickly delivers financial assistance into the hands of Canadians when they need it most.”

Incredible Innovations from our Neighbors to the North

Voting for this innovation contest may be complete by the time this post is published, but each of the ideas above is a winner in our book. All of us at Skild will be watching for the results of this outstanding challenge.