The goal of the competition is to make two pitches; one, a business solution and the other a code and tech solution that combined, to solve a real-world problem
The team has chosen to focus on a solution to “address the Canadian canola industry’s need for traceability in answer to a trade partner closing its borders because the crop was tainted with an unnamed contaminant.”
Over the two months, China has refused to accept Canadian Canola, because it said shipments were allegedly contaminated with pests. The Canadian government has vehemently denied the accusations.
Canada is the world’s largest producer of Canola. About $4 billion of the product was sent to China in 2018, making it the biggest consumer of the product in the world.
Olfert and Campos, who have completed their first year in Computer Information Technology, are working on creating “smart contracts” – pieces of self-executing code that make a product traceable from a seed through processing and “every truck, train, and factory in between.”
Lethbridge was encouraged to submit a team after someone from CyptoChicks served as a judge at a “hackathon” previously held at the U of L.
“We could have brought any problem or solution to the Hackathon, but we think our pitches will be particularly relevant and urgent, and the agricultural and blockchain focus will stand out,” said Gardner.
Dr. Khan says he’s proud not only that the team is tackling “an issue of great contemporary importance for the Albertan and Canadian economy,” but that the opportunity showcases aspiring and inspiring women.
“The gender gap in STEM is a bitter reality being challenged by these aspiring developers and entrepreneurs,” he said.
Other partners and contributors include Career Transitions, Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta (RINSA), and Alberta Innovates.