Call for Applications

MaRS Discovery District Women in Cleantech Challenge for Canadian Women

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Application Deadline- July 13, 2018

MaRS Discovery District (“MaRS“) is pleased to present the Women in Cleantech Challenge.  Have a cleantech idea? Apply for MaRS million dollar challenge! Only 5% of tech companies in Canada are founded by women. Let’s change that!

The Women In Cleantech Challenge will identify top female innovators from across the country who are developing technologies to tackle the world’s most daunting energy and environmental challenges.

Following a national call and expert selection process, five women will be chosen to participate in an intensive three-year program, during which they’ll get business advice, and the technical and financial support they need to grow and succeed as cleantech entrepreneurs, including unprecedented access to federal labs and researchers.


To apply you must be

  • A woman
  • A Canadian citizen
  • The main innovator/individual leading the project
  • at least 18 years old or the age of majority in the province where you reside;
  • not an employee of MaRS, or the immediate family member of any such employee;
  • the main technology innovator and individual leading your Project;
  • willing to dedicate yourself full-time to the Project;
  • prepared to travel frequently for events, meetings and lab visits, including spending up to 50% of your time participating in MaRS programs, workshops and events in Toronto;
  • comfortable with the public nature of this Challenge (i.e. speaking with the media, appearing at events, etc.); and
  • willing and able to incorporate your business as a Canadian corporation if accepted into the final cohort.

In addition to applicant eligibility, your technological innovation should:

  • Fall under the definition of “cleantech,” which for the purposes of this Challenge is defined as “technology that uses less material and/or energy, generates less waste, and causes less environmental damage than the alternatives.”
  • Be disruptive and visionary (i.e. not incremental in nature).
  • Be proprietary and/or patentable.
  • Have potential to scale globally for major impact.
  • Fall within TRL2 and TRL5 on the nine-point Technology Readiness Level spectrum, with:
    • TRL2 marking the beginning of the invention process with a focus on practical applications.
    • TRL3 indicating that active R&D is taking place in a laboratory/controlled setting.
    • TRL4 being basic testing to validate the technology in a laboratory/controlled setting.
    • TRL5 showing early prototype development and testing in a simulated environment.


  • Five Finalists will receive $115,000 a year for 2.5 years for living and travel expenses
  • One Grand Prize Winner will receive $1 million to continue building her business
  • Business incubation support valued at up to $300,000 from MaRS for each of the 5 participants.
  • Federal lab support valued at up to $250,000 for each of the 5 participants.

How to Apply:

You may enter the Challenge by registering at completing and agreeing to all required contracts as described at that link, and then submitting all documents and information described in the Requirements, including your Project proposal and other documentation (collectively, your “Submission”). You must enter all information accurately, and you must accept the terms and conditions displayed as part of the registration process.
Submissions must be received by MaRS on or before midnight Toronto time on July 13, 2018. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted.
It is solely your responsibility to ensure that you are properly registered and entered. MaRS will not be responsible for any lost, delayed, misdirected, illegible, incomplete, damaged or undeliverable entries, or any delay or failure to transmit, process, receive or consider entries.

Apply here for the Women in Cleantech Challenge

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Women in Cleantech Challenge for Canadian Women

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