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article imageCanada challenges women to lead the Cleantech future

By Karen Graham     Aug 8, 2018 in Technology
Toronto - Women are underrepresented in the innovation economy, and the Government of Canada plans to change that. Only five percent of Canadian tech companies have a sole woman founder or CEO, and only 13 percent of companies have a woman co-founder.
To address this under-representation, MaRS, Canada’s biggest science and technology incubator, in partnership with Natural Resources Canada announced on May 10 a nationwide challenge for Canada's aspiring woman cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators to submit their ideas to tackle the world's most difficult energy and environmental challenges.
And on September 18, the 10 finalists will pitch their ideas in front of a Challenge Jury made up of a prestigious group of five technical experts, all women, joined by Canadian author, poet, and inventor Margaret Atwood, who is an honorary jury member.
The five semi-finalists chosen to move on in the challenge will go through a two-and-a-half year 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 also be provided.
After the incubation period, the five women will compete with their projects for a $1.0 million prize to invest in their cleantech businesses.
The Big Push is a collective helping female-led tech businesses get from seed to Series A funding.
The Big Push is a collective helping female-led tech businesses get from seed to Series A funding.
The Big Push
The Women in Cleantech Challenge is the first of five exciting challenges that will be launched in the coming months under Natural Resources Canada's Cleantech Impact program, part of Impact Canada. Cleantech Impact will invest $75 million over four years in the five challenges.
"This challenge is a game-changer, eliminating barriers for women who for too long have been underrepresented, particularly in STEM fields. We are giving Canada's women cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators the chance to 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," said Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr.
Yung Wu, the CEO of MaRS Discovery District had this to say: "Women are a powerful force in Canada's innovation economy but are significantly underrepresented in the cleantech sector. 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."
More about Mars, Natural Resources Canada, Toronto, Women in tech, Entrepreneurs