Seven local companies are up for a Dragons' Den-style pitch that could win one of them $5,000 in the Centre for Sustainability Social Venture Challenge.
When Jeff Anderson's dogs were diagnosed with tumours — which he believes is linked to the substandard nutrition of commercial dog food — he came up with the idea for Dooshi, a company that uses leftover fruit pulp and restaurant waste such as salmon skin to create nutritious dog food and treats.
"It was a real eye opener," Anderson said, and explained he and his business partner Koji Miyagawa started baking and perfecting dog food, which he freezes, and dog treats, which are dehydrated.
"It's nutritious, there are no additives, and nothing is cooked over 165F to preserve nutrients."
Peter Goff has been working on his mobile-coupon service for a couple of years and launched his website (DealsinWhistler.com) late last year. Goff's business concept takes an advertising framework and reworks it for a mobile market.
"We connect to business websites, provide social media, videos — whatever it takes for the business to present itself well on the website. And they don't have to pay a cent," he said.
Goff explains that he makes his cut on the cards he sells — whether it's a $5, $10 or $12 card that links to local deals on food, activities, services and entertainment.
The difference is that there is no cost to participating businesses.
The other local companies vying for the $5,000 prize are: Cutting Barriers, a skill-based training workshop to help individuals with barriers to employment transition to independent living; Sea to Sky Relocation, a service to help retirees and seniors downsize and relocate in an environmentally responsible manner; The Seed Box, which creates edible gardens in a box; and Sea to Sky School Garden Program, which connects children to the source of their food through school-ground gardens.
Niekia Botham, of TBI Irrigation, said the rainwater harvesting is a natural — especially with new builds where storage tanks can be implemented to catch rainwater for irrigation or for home use.
Botham has been in the irrigation business for six years in Whistler, and said that summer watering restrictions and the varying snowpack affects water availability, and using rainwater is the socially conscious remedy.
"Everyone's excited about an increase in tourism but I think realistically what's that mean on the demand on water?" she said.
For Cheeying Ho, Executive Director for Whistler's Centre for Sustainability, which created the challenge, a strong social purpose is what drives this initiative.
"This movement in Vancouver has been really growing the last couple of years," she said.
"There's so much net creativity here... tying all of that together really strengthens the community."