Natural Resources Canada

Women in Cleantech Challenge

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As we know, women are a powerful force in the world of Canadian innovation, but are significantly underrepresented in the development of clean technologies. Surpassing all expectations, close to 150 women across Canada applied to participate in the Women in Cleantech Challenge. This challenge will help six women entrepreneurs advance their breakthrough ideas and grow their businesses.

Learn more about the finalists:


Women in Cleantech Challenge: Meet the winners

6 winners were chosen to receive $800,000 worth of support.

1 winner will receive a grand prize of $1 million.

Julie Angus (British Columbia, Autonomous Energy-Harvesting Boats):

The women is clean tech challenge is an amazing opportunity to bring this technology to the next level. To have the support from NRCan and Mars to help accelerate the development of this business.

Amanda Hall (Alberta, Extracting Lithium From Produced Brine Waters):

Programs like this help us band together and grow a little bit taller and stronger together.

Luna Yu (Ontario, Converting Organic Waste Into Bioplastics):

Without this challenge, a lot of entrepreneurs who have hard sized start up, would not be able to take their ideas to the market and scale it up in the right facilities.

Evelyn Allen (Ontario, Printing Large-Area Nanofilms):

I think seeing mentors and women as leaders really inspire.

Alexandra Tavasoli (Ontario, Developing GHG to Fuel Technology):

I worked one summer for a female professor that was quite inspirational to me and she ended up becoming a bit of a mentor.

Nivatha Balendra (Quebec, Remediating Oil Contamination):

The more voices of women there are in business the more wholesome the solutions will be.

How did they hear about the challenge?

Social Media and referrals from friends or colleagues are the most popular channels by which applicants heard about the challenge.

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This pie chart shows how the applicants heard about the challenge:

22% from Social Media, 21% from friends or colleagues, 18% from MaRS, 12% from the Government, 11% from Media Reports, 10% from Incubator/accelerator, 5% from University/college and 1% from the Employer.

Where are they from?

The majority of applicants are from Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

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This map of Canada shows the percentage of applications received by province: 55% from Ontario, 17% from Quebec, 16% from Alberta, 5% from British Columbia, 3% from Saskatchewan, 2% from Nova Scotia, 1% from Newfoundland and Labrador, 1% from New Brunswick. The provinces and territories shaded in grey on the map have no applicants.

Which sector do they want to innovate in?

The innovation mix is impressive, with 38% of applications related to energy technologies, 20% to water solutions and about a third addressing challenges in mining, agriculture and other sectors. .

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This bar chart shows the technology sector where applicants want to innovate: 38% in Energy, 20% in Water, 27% in Other sectors, 6% in Land, 6% Unspecified and 1% in Forestry.

Find out more on the MaRS website.

Challenge details

To apply you must be

  • A woman
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • The main innovator/individual leading the project

Key dates

  • Deadline to apply: July 13, 2018
  • Grand Prize Winner announced: Fall 2021


  • Six Winners will receive $115,000 a year for 3 years for living and travel expenses
  • One Grand Prize Winner will receive $1 million to continue building her business

Important resources