Ocean Startup Challenge Application

Submit your application for a chance to receive funding, resources and guidance to help you start and grow your ocean business in Canada.

We are looking for diverse entrepreneurs and innovators from rural, Indigenous and urban communities across Canada, and internationally, who have innovative technology or science-based solutions to ocean industry problems.



Designed for entrepreneurs or teams early in their development. This stream is for Canada-based entrepreneurs with ideas or pre-revenue ocean technology companies.


We’re looking for applicants who:

  • Are pre-revenue, pre-institutional investment
  • Have no sales prior to application deadline
  • Are a Canadian-based entity
  • Have a solution with a TRL 3 or lower




Up to $25,000


Designed for early stage companies with impressive milestones and some traction. This stream is for startups in Canada and around the world that would benefit from support and collaboration with Canadian ocean assets and facilities. 

We’re looking for applicants who:

  • Have less than $300K in equity investment
  • Are the founder of the business venture and plan to work full-time in the business
  • Have a solution with a TRL 4 to TRL 7 
  • Are registered as a Canadian entity



Up to $100,000


Designed for applicants tackling uncharted problems with a large chance of failure, but if successful, will have a huge impact on ocean sustainability and create a massive market opportunity.

We’re looking for applicants who:

  • Have demonstrated a massive commercial market opportunity
  • Are leveraging Canadian facilities or ocean assets
  • Have a solution with a TRL 7 or lower 
  • Have at least one person dedicated to the project full time
  • Have clear intention and plan for commercialization upon success
  • Are registered as a Canadian entity


Up to $200,000

General Eligibility

Winners must have an incorporated company in Canada before funds are released. See below for International Applicant criteria.

Entrants are founders of the company.

Existing companies must have been in business for under five years and have 15 or few employees.

International Applicants

Applicants from around the world may apply for the Growth and Oceanshot competition streams.

Any funds received from the Ocean Startup Challenge must be spent in Canada (e.g. equipment, materials, consultants).

International applicants must demonstrate how they will leverage Canada to advance their venture. The following are examples of how you can leverage Canadian assets:

    • Have a letter of support from a Canadian incubator or accelerator
    • Have a Memorandum of Understanding with a Canadian facility, organization, partner, or customer that can support the development of your technology in Canada

International applicants need to incorporate their company in one of the Canadian provinces, territories or Federally before funds will be released.

Evaluation Criteria

In selecting the competition winners, the quality of the idea/technology, the strength of the management team, and impact of the funds all influence the judges’ decisions.

Key criteria for evaluation include:

  • Pain & Solution: Describes and quantifies the pain or problem, and proposes a feasible and scalable solution that provides a unique value to customers.
  • People: Demonstrates the team is committed to the venture and has relevant experience and skills to execute, or identifies areas where there may be gaps.
  • Competition: Clearly identifies sustainable competitive advantage, why there is a high barrier to competitive entry, and how to overcome the barrier and get market traction.
  • Market: Identifies a large, growing international market and demonstrates understanding of potential customers.
  • Impact of Funds: Demonstrates how funds will have a significant impact on helping reach key milestones.

Applications for the 2021 Ocean Startup Challenge are closed. Check back this summer to find out who made our shortlist.

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