MaRS & Natural Resources Canada team up to support women developing breakthrough cleantech solutions

The Women in Cleantech Challenge is the first of five prize-based challenges led by Natural Resources Canada that will invest $75 million to boost the development of clean technology.

TORONTO, May 10, 2018 – MaRS and Natural Resources Canada announced today that they’re teaming up to support women cleantech entrepreneurs by launching the Women in Cleantech Challenge. The competition will give five women the opportunity to develop scalable technological solutions to energy and environmental challenges and compete for a $1-million prize.

“Women are a powerful force in Canada’s innovation economy, but are significantly under-represented in the cleantech sector,” says 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.”

The challenge focuses on the development of solutions by Canadian women in areas such as climate change, green growth and the application of new technologies to reduce negative environmental impacts.

Five women entrepreneurs will each receive support valued at more than $800,000, through:

  • business incubator support valued at $300,000 from MaRS;
  • the opportunity to work with federal labs to develop their technology – up to $250,000 value; and
  • an annual $115,000 stipend for living and travel expenses for the two-and-a-half year duration of the challenge.

After a two-and-a-half year incubation period at MaRS, the five entrepreneurs will vie for the $1-million prize to invest in their new cleantech business.

Applicants will be assessed and mentored by a six-member jury who bring expertise and experience in the fields of STEM, clean technology, business development and environmental awareness.

“This challenge is a game changer, eliminating barriers for women who for too long have been under-represented, particularly in STEM fields,” says 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 the first of five challenges led by Natural Resources Canada. The challenges are part of the Impact Canada Initiative, an initiative to deliver meaningful results for Canadians through measurable economic, environmental and/or social outcomes. The five cleantech challenges will invest $75 million over four years.

Visit for details. Applications are due July 13, 2018.

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About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. Our purpose is to help innovators change the world. MaRS supports promising ventures tackling key challenges in the health, energy & environment, finance & commerce, and work & learning sectors as they start, grow and scale. In addition, the MaRS community fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration to drive breakthrough discoveries and new solutions to be adopted in Canada and beyond, growing our economy and delivering societal impact at scale.

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Lara Torvi
MaRS Discovery District

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Natural Resources Canada