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2017 Wellington Judges

We couldn’t have a Climathon without a fantastic panel of judges!

· Wellington Climathon

After a couple of days of intensively developing and validating - your team will have just 2 minutes to lay out their idea to the judges. Their job is to work out which ideas will benefit most from each of the support packages available, so that we can ensure the Climathon will have maximum impact!


In addition to these prizes, judges and the organising crew will be thinking about who they might be able to connect you with that might help you take the next step.

Councillor David Lee

Wellington City Council

As the Portfolio leader for Technology, Innovation, Enterprise (TIE), and Climate Change, David is the ideal judge for the Climathon. Under his leadership in these areas, the Council won the Renewables Innovation prize at the 2014 NZI Sustainable Business Network awards in Auckland. He regularly gets involved with projects that make a difference for people and for Wellington, and is passionate about empowering communities.

He has developed a deep understanding of the processes and mechanisms for getting action and results. David is a natural connector, and the relationships he has forged across business, social and community interests are a powerful complement to his government sector know-how.

David is a second-term city councillor, with 27 years’ experience in strategic planning in central and local government; in areas such as climate change (adaptation planning and emission reduction), carbon sequestration (carbon credits), community resilience, spatial planning and flood protection. This year’s Climathon Wellington Challenges are right in his sweet spot.

David will be leading the judging for the following prizes:

  • Three Teams receive $1000 Business Support Stipends from Greater Wellington Regional Council
  • Two teams receive entry to the Wellington City Low Carbon Challenge workshops to progress their ideas

Assistant Vice Chancellor Marjan van den Belt

Victoria University of Wellington

Associate Professor van den Belt is an internationally respected researcher and teacher, and sought after adviser and speaker on sustainability, and has a passion for ecological economics. At Victoria, she heads up the Sustainability Office, where she has been the fundamental driver in the university becoming the first New Zealand university to sign up to a new international initiative known as the University Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

She has worked in various roles, including as a strategy advisor for a sustainability-oriented start-up hedge fund in The Netherlands, co-founding an eco-village in Vermont in the United States, and running her own research consultancy on developing (computer-aided) decision support for public private partnerships in the USA and previously, on waste minimisation and environmental management systems in Stockholm, Sweden.

Victoria is the only university in New Zealand and one of very few internationally to have such a high-level role dedicated to sustainability as a focus across research, teaching, engagement and the running of campuses.

Marjan will be leading the judging for the following prizes:

  • One team receives $6000 in research funding for a summer scholarship at Victoria University
  • One team receives 3x90 minute workshops to level up an idea from the weekend thanks to MOTIF

Michael Elwood-Smith

Cooperative Member and Director - Loomio Cooperative Limited

Michael leads customer development and business coordination at Loomio, a software social enterprise. Loomio is a human-centred online place for people to meet together, discuss, decide what to do and take action.

Initially joining Loomio’s board in 2013, Michael now works with the team to develop and grow a sustainable business model and generate social impact globally.

Open source, global scale and with deep cooperative values; Loomio’s mission is to empower people everywhere to make decisions together for a thriving and equitable future. In support of this mission Loomio is building a software tool that people in business and organisations can use day to day to collaborate with co-workers and stakeholders.

An experienced business leader, strategist and lean startup coach; Michael is a mentor and coach for Akina Foundation’s Launchpad programme, co-runs Victoria University's entrepreneur boot-camp programme and mentors emerging startup teams.

Michael began his career as a communications engineer at Telecom New Zealand, worked in the European cable television industry for USA based Scientific Atlanta, led product management at Swiss software startup The Fantastic Corporation, and CEO for NZ satellite communications company NetworkAdvantage. Michael has worked directly with over 20 Wellington startup ventures within Creative HQ’s incubation programme.

Michael will be leading the judging for the following prizes:

  • One team receives a place in the Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp (valued at over $7500).
  • One team receives 3x 90 minute Workshop series from the Ākina Foundation Consultant to progress their idea.
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