Ocean Startup Challenge
Here’s what previous Ocean Startup Challenge winners have accomplished to date
Executives-in-Residence work closely with participants, providing expert guidance & feedback
Industry and thought leaders have identified top pain points across these areas:
We’ve partnered with industry experts to highlight Innovation Spotlights!
These are areas for entrepreneurs to explore solutions for real-world ocean problems
- Entrants must be the majority owners of the company.
- Winners must have a registered business in Canada (see below for International Applicants)
- Existing companies must have been in business for less than three years, and have less than five full-time employees
- have a TRL of four or lower
- Entrants may apply from around the world, but must establish a presence and partnership in Canada
- Any funds received from the Ocean Startup Challenge must be spent in Canada (e.g. equipment, materials, consultants).
- Must demonstrate how you will leverage Canada to advance your venture through one of the following:
- 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
- Entrants need to incorporate their company (or be a registered business) in one of the Canadian provinces or territories before funds will be released
Frequently Asked Questions
The Ocean Startup Challenge is a competition seeking innovative solutions to ocean industry problems. The Ocean Startup Project launched the Challenge to support innovators who are developing technologies with large market potential in the ocean economy.
This year, we will distribute $750,000 CAD to entrepreneurs and startup teams that are developing solutions to major ocean industry challenges.
We encourage individual/teams of all backgrounds and experiences to submit an application, providing they are in the idea/early stages of developing an ocean technology company.
Specifically, we are looking for companies with a TRL of 4 and below for the 2022 competition.
Applicants must also be:
- pre-institutional investment
- have no sales prior to the application deadline
Innovators, entrepreneurs and companies from across Canada and around the world may apply for the Challenge, but winners must register an entity in a Canadian province/territory, or federally.
Applicants from an existing company must be the majority owner(s) of the company.
You may apply online through our application page. We recommend writing your answers to the questions using a Word or Google document, and then copying and pasting your answers into the web form. Please note, you are not able to save and continue at a later time.
Apply before the Challenge deadline: 11:59 pm ADT, September 1, 2022.
Key dates program application and selection:
- Office hours: August 22 to 31, 2022
- Application deadline: Monday, September 1, 2022
- Shortlist announced: Monday, October 3, 2022
- Shortlist interviews: Friday, October 14 to Friday, October 21, 2022
- Winners announced & Virtual Gala Awards: Thursday, October 27, 2022
Applications will be reviewed by an evaluation committee that includes Ocean Startup Project representatives and industry experts who are knowledgeable about the specific sectors and technologies highlighted in the challenge statements.
In selecting the competition winners, the quality of the idea/technology, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation, all influence the judges’ decisions.
Key criteria for evaluation include:
- People: The team, background and entrepreneurial (or business) track record of key individuals, ability to execute, demonstrable ambition and commitment to the venture’s success
- Pain point: a clearly defined problem that prospective customers of your business are experiencing
- Solution: Description and quantification of the market problem/pain, uniqueness and significance of product, current stage of development, proprietary position
- Competition: High barrier to competitive entry
- Market: Large, growing international market
- Execution: Credible plan to reach key milestones
All entrants will be included in Round 1, and teams selected for Round 2 will be notified Tuesday, October 3, 2022.
Applicants will retain ownership of any intellectual property associated with their application. All applications will be treated confidentially. Only those individuals directly involved in managing or judging the competition will view your submitted documents.
Winners will receive in-kind support from our program partners. Stay tuned for more details.
Successful applicants will have until March 17, 2023 to submit expenses related to achieving pre-determined milestones.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the Ocean Startup Challenge.