Kitchener-Waterloo

Waterloo team finalists at United Nations social enterprise challenge

Epoch app helps refugees trade their skills for other skills and services

CBC News

September 20, 2017

Team EPOCH from left to right: Kaivalya Gandhi, Jade Choy, Lisa Tran, Keith Choy. (Tracy Bian)

A team from the University of Waterloo has placed in the top six at the world's largest student competition for social enterprise.

EPOCH, an online platform that helps refugees trade their skills for other forms of help they might need in the community, made it to the final round of this year's annual Hult prize competition.

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Made up of siblings Keith and Jade Choy as well as science and business student Lisa Tran, team EPOCH beat out nearly 50,000 other competitors from around the world. 

"We're [now] able to develop it out, go back to our customers and show them all that we've learned," co-founder Jade Choy told CBC K-W.

Every year, competitors are challenged to come up with solutions to one global social issue. For this year's prize, the focus for all competitors was the migrant crisis.

In an interview with The Morning Edition, earlier this year, team member Jade Choy said that so far, the EPOCH prototype has been a welcome relief from some of the difficulties of integrating into a new society.

The team plans to release a beta version of the app at the beginning of October, when more members of the community will be invited to try it.

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