MaRS and Natural Resources Canada launch Women in Cleantech Challenge with $1 million prize

women in business

MaRS has announced a partnership with Natural Resources Canada to launch the Women in Cleantech Challenge supporting women entrepreneurs in the cleantech sector.

The challenge, which offers a $1 million prize, will give five cleantech entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop tech-based solutions addressing energy and environmental challenges like climate change.

“Women are a powerful force in Canada’s innovation economy, but are significantly under-represented in the cleantech sector,” said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS. “This challenge will identify and showcase the top women innovators from across the country who are solving deep technical challenges that benefit both our environment and our economy.”

“This challenge will identify and showcase the top women innovators from across the country who are solving deep technical challenges that benefit both our environment and our economy.”

MaRS said the selected entrepreneurs will spend two-and-a-half years in an incubation period at MaRS, where they will receive support valued at over $800,000. MaRS’ business incubator support is valued at $300,000, while the opportunity to work with federal labs to develop their technologies is valued at $300,000. An annual $115,000 stipend for living and travel expenses will be provided during the two-and-a-half-year duration of the challenge.

Following the incubation period, participants will compete for the $1 million prize to invest in their cleantech businesses.

“This challenge is a game changer, eliminating barriers for women who for too long have been under-represented, particularly in STEM fields,” said Jim Carr, Canada’s minister of natural resources. “We are giving Canada’s women cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators the chance to not only hold key leadership positions in corporate Canada, but also to found and lead tomorrow’s cleantech companies that will solve some of today’s toughest environmental issues. I encourage all women with a viable cleantech idea to take up the challenge and help lead Canada’s cleantech future.”

The Women in Cleantech Challenge is one of the five challenges by Natural Resources Canada. The challenges are part of the Impact Canada Initiative investing $75 million over four years towards tackling specific social and environmental problems. Applicants selected for the Women in Cleantech Challenge will be assessed and mentored by a six-member panel with experience in the STEM, clean technology, business development, and environmental awareness fields.

Applications for the challenge are due by July 13.

Photo via Burst.

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer at BetaKit. As a fourth-year journalism student who has written primarily about entrepreneurship, Amira has developed a growing interest in Canadian startup, business, and tech news. In her free time, Amira enjoys reading, baking and watching legal shows.