Blue Economy Challenge

At the Blue Economy Challenge, everyone comes together to create a positive impact on the Okinawa ocean’s ecosystem – no matter if you are an entrepreneurial student, designer, scientist, engineer or business leader. The Blue Economy Challenge is where you’ll turn ideas into prototypes in 48 hours. The Blue Economy Challenge is a virtual event with the option to meet in-person in Okinawa – Japan.

Why join

We believe complex problems are best solved collaboratively. Everyone is welcome to join the Blue Economy Challenge. Participants are students, employees, freelancers, creatives and hopefully you.

🏅 Create opportunities

Interact with organizations to explore career opportunities and build your network. The best ideas get the partner organizations’ support to make your idea happen.

🛠 Build skills

Work in a team with different skillsets and mindsets to come up with innovative solutions and learn with others. You’ll receive mentoring by inspirational leaders.

💪 Gain experience

Innovation is something you get better by doing it. This is your opportunity to gain hands-on experience by solving critical challenges.


Impactful science


How might we bridge the gap between science and practice to foster sustainable development of Okinawa’s blue economy?

Sustainable tourism


How might we contribute to a healthy ocean ecosystem in Okinawa through tourism?


How it works

  • Step 1. Sign up

    Sign up here to get invited to our collaboration platform.

    Join our slack channel to get updates.

  • Step 2. Understand

    Understand the challenges and study the context, the organization, and customers.

    🙋‍♀️ Join the Blue Economy Training starting September 28th

  • Day 1: Ideate

    Pitch ideas to tackle innovation challenge.

    Identify customers and design value proposition with your team.

Participate in the Blue Economy Training

The Blue Economy Training is a 12-week program combining six online webinars with the 48-hour Blue Economy Challenge. It equips you with the most useful innovation skills to tackle one of the Blue Economy Challenge challenges. You can join the event without having participated in the first training sessions.

👩‍💻  Webinars

👩‍🔧 Office hours

Each webinar features an innovator in the Blue Economy space who shares their story. Experts are available to mentor you in-between the webinars.

🗓️ Schedule &

Time commitment

We will have 6 webinars over 12 weeks on Wednesdays from 17:00-19:00 (28 Sep – 7 Dec 2022). Expect to spend a total of 12 hours for the webinars & joining the 48-hour hackathon. You can join the event without having participated in the first webinars.

Event Schedule


Get support from mentors from partner oranizations and other experts. 

Sign up as a mentor


Thanks to Ryukyus University for offering workspace to participants who join in-person.


Ryukyu University Uehara Campus, Nishihara, Nakagami District, Okinawa 903-0129



Do I need to pay to participate in the Blue Economy Challenge?

No, participation is free.

Where will the Blue Economy Challenge take place?

The Blue Economy Challenge will be entirely virtual. Workspace might be available at selected locations.

What language do you speak at the Blue Economy Challenge?

The Blue Economy Challenge’s language is English. Teams can choose to work together in whatever language they want, but the outcomes of the event will have to be in English too. We will offer Japanese translations for selected part of the event.

Who are the participants?

The event is free for everyone to join. Our main group of participants is university students with diverse backgrounds including business, design, science, and engineering. The only requirement for participation is your full-time commitment during the 48 hours event.

How do you deal with time differences?

The event will run in JST (Japan Standard Time). If participants join from other time-zones, they will have to self-organize work with their team members.

How does the application work?

The application process is two-steps. First, you will have to register on our website. Second, you will have to submit a video that summarizes your idea for the innovation challenge.

What if I don’t have an idea to submit?

You will be assigned to a team based on diversity of background, language, and challenge preference.

How do teams work?

At the Blue Economy Challenge, you can join individually or in teams. Teams may have up to 5 people. When submitting the video, you can indicate the names of your team members. Even if you join as a team, all team members need to sign up for the event independently. If you don’t have a team after registration, we will assign you to a team based on your application.

How does the 48 schedule look like?

We will kick off with a welcome session on November 4th. Day 1 will be dedicated to ideation, Day 2 to prototyping, and Day 3 to validation. Teams will have daily check-ins with the lead mentors, and office-hours with experts and  partner organizations.

Are the daily check-ins mandatory?

Yes, daily check-ins are mandatory.

What kind of support will participants receive at the event?

Teams will have access to a platform showcasing useful resources to progress on the idea. Webinars, check-ins, and office hours will complement the support.

How will the winner be selected?

Each team will have to submit a pitch-deck showcasing its idea and a pitch-video. A jury composed of partner organizations, experts, and mentors will evaluate the submission based on innovativeness, feasibility, challenge fit, progress in the 48 hours, and motivation to continue working on the idea.

Are there any pre-requisites to joining?

No, there is no pre-requisite besides your commitment throughout the 48 hours of the challenge and the 6 webinars of the training.

More questions?
Sign up now