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article imageNot five but six winners chosen in Women in Cleantech Challenge

By Karen Graham     Sep 20, 2018 in Technology
Toronto - In a surprise turn of events, Natural Resources Canada and MaRS Discovery District announced not five but six finalists from across Canada for the Women in Cleantech Challenge.
After a lengthy summer selection process, the review committee for the Women in Cleantech Challenge picked 10 inspiring women for the competition’s semifinal round, held on Sept. 18 at MaRS Discovery District in downtown Toronto.
The ten women were all critiqued at the live pitch event by a jury that included Canvass Analytics CEO Humera Malik, Fonds de solidarité FTQ’s chief of investments Janie C. Béïque, and honorary juror and acclaimed novelist Margaret Atwood.
There were supposed to be only five finalists selected to go on to the next round that involves an intensive 30-month company-building program 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.
However, the finalists' cleantech pitches demonstrated that high-quality ideas are plentiful in this exciting and high-growth industry. This created a "hung-jury" amongst the judges and six in total were chosen. The six winners' innovations exemplify Canada's entrepreneurial spirit, particularly that of women entrepreneurs.
The six Women in Cleantech Challenge finalists
Evelyn Allen is the co-founder and CEO of Evercloak, a platform capable of producing nanofilms for large areas. It can be used in water purification, energy storage, smart packaging, and other cleantech areas
Julie Angus is the founder of Open Ocean Robotics, an IoT and automated boat company. Their two prototypes can sail the ocean in any kind of weather and collect and analyze data on a wide range of subjects, from weather to general environment status.
Nivatha Balendra discovered a bacteria that can eat and absorb oil spills, a massive challenge currently facing the energy industry.
Amanda Hall has developed a new way to improve the extraction of lithium-ion from produced brine water. The use of Lithium-ion in batteries will grow exponentially over the next few years, so the technology has the capability to vastly improve current cleantech solutions.
Alexandra Tavasoli has found a way to help convert greenhouse gasses into fuels using sunlight and light-activated materials known as photocatalysts.
Luna Yu is the CEO of Genecis, a company that can turn organic waste into bioplastics that are fully degradable in marine and terrestrial environments.
CEO of MaRS Discovery District, Yung Wu said: "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 six winners: I can't wait to watch you scale your ideas into global success stories."
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