Canada’s Women Entrepreneurs Impress at the Women in Cleantech Challenge Live Pitch Session 

News release

September 18, 2018                       Toronto, Ontario               Natural Resources Canada              

The Government of Canada is committed to gender balance in the workforce and recognizes that diversity is key to success. As it stands, there is a gender-imbalance in Canada’s energy industry, with women representing only 25% of the clean energy economy. We can do better.

In a surprise turn of events, Natural Resources Canada and MaRS Discovery District today announced not five but six winners from across Canada for the Women in Cleantech Challenge who will now compete for the ultimate grand prize: $1 million to build their new cleantech business.

The finalists’ cleantech pitches demonstrate that high-quality ideas are plentiful in this exciting and high-growth industry. The six winners’ innovations exemplify Canada’s entrepreneurial spirit, particularly that of women entrepreneurs.

The six women will move onto the next phase of the Challenge, an intensive 30-month incubation period. During this time, each will receive support valued at more than $800,000 through:

  • business incubator support from MaRS valued at $300,000,
  • the opportunity to work with federal labs to develop their technology — up to a $250,000 value, and
  • an annual $115,000 stipend for living and travel expenses to allow them to focus on building their business.

Launched in May 2018, the Women in Cleantech Challenge offers Canada’s women entrepreneurs the extraordinary opportunity to develop their ideas into a marketable, world-class cleantech solution. Of the 150 applications received, 10 semi-finalists were invited to pitch their ideas to a five-member jury made up of leaders in the areas of clean technology, STEM, business and environmental issues. The pitches were made before a live audience of more than 300 guests.

The Challenge is the first of five challenges under Natural Resources Canada’s Cleantech Impact program, a $75 million initiative to introduce the use of prize challenges aimed at greater impacts from cleantech investments.


“The best way to deliver gender parity tomorrow is to ensure that our natural resource sectors reflect Canada's diversity today. Canada is leading by example to address the issue of gender equality. We are proud to support these winners and all participants in the Women in Cleantech Challenge. Their creativity and inspiring vision show us that Canada’s clean energy future is in good hands.”

Amarjeet Sohi
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“Women are an essential part of our economy. To solve the world’s climate and environmental challenges, we need more than just good ideas. We need diversity of ideas, of perspectives, of experiences. The Women in Cleantech Challenge provides an opportunity for women to grow their own business in an area where they are grossly underrepresented. I am proud to be part of this challenge and wish the finalists and semi-finalists every success for the next phase of the challenge and well into the future.”

Karina Gould
Minister of Democratic Institutions

“Congratulations to all of the participants in the Women in Cleantech Challenge. From new manufacturing technologies to renewable energy solutions, the ideas pitched today demonstrate tremendous potential for our cleantech sector. I would like to wish this incredible group of innovators all the best. And to the five winners: I can’t wait to watch you scale your ideas into global success stories.”

Yung Wu
CEO of MaRS Discovery District

Associated Links


Vanessa Adams
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

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