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Gabriel Saunders Invited as Guest Speaker by CEC

Twenty-five-year-old Turks and Caicos Islander and Co-Founder of Decomp, Gabriel Saunders was invited as a Guest Speaker for the final workshop of the series.

Gabriel Saunders, Co-Founder of Decomp

He spoke alongside Niria Garcia (a UN Environment Programme’s Young Champion of the Earth), Gregorio Allan Rodríguez Ortiz (Co-Founder of Ingenia Concretos), and Steven Adams (Founder of Bison Underground).

Over the past weeks, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation and University of Waterloo’s Entrepreneurship @ Environment Office collaborated to offer their 2022 Green Entrepreneurship Workshop Series.

“It was an honour to have been invited by the CEC to be a guest speaker for their ‘Succeeding as a Student with a Green Start-up’ session'', said Saunders. “I was extremely inspired by my fellow guest speakers and thoroughly enjoyed being able to share my experiences with so many students who are also green entrepreneurs and answer their questions.”

The five-part online workshop series invited entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to take advantage of free, dynamic workshops, and learn from a multidisciplinary group of key researchers, successful entrepreneurs, and dedicated youth on a variety of topics aimed at strengthening entrepreneurship through sustainability.

The series included sessions on five different topics: (i) Greening Entrepreneurship, (ii) Private Enterprise and New Entrepreneurs: How Established Companies Can Support New Entrepreneurs, (iii) Entrepreneurship and the United Nations’ (UN’s) Sustainable Development Goals, (iv) Championing Indigenous Youth Start-ups, and (v) Succeeding as a Student with a Green Start-up.

During his presentation, Saunders encouraged student entrepreneurs: (i) to get involved in pitch competitions while prioritizing building real traction, (ii) to be strategic with course selection and enroll in courses that allow them to work on their ventures, (iii) to join pre-incubators and incubators, (iv) to self-educate through reading, watching documentaries, or listening to podcasts, and (v) to learn through experiences.

Saunders also explained how opportunities as a youth in the Turks and Caicos Islands piqued his interest in environmentalism, and influenced his decision to co-found Decomp, a biotechnology start-up that seeks to tackle plastic waste pollution through utilizing plastic-degrading microbes, while pursuing his Master of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) degree at the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business.

In September, Decomp was selected as the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s Youth Innovation Challenge Winner, representing Canada. As a result of the win, Decomp earned $15,000 in non-dilutive funding, and Gabriel was invited to present Decomp to North America’s top environmental officials at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s 28th Council Session.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was founded in 1994 by the Canadian, Mexican, and American governments through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) – the environmental side accord to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement. The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.



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