Ocean Communities Climate Challenge

This competition encourages innovators and entrepreneurs like you to identify and validate ideas with potential for improving ocean sustainability and solving climate challenges that affect coastal communities.

You can count yourself in even if you are not at the idea phase. The competition welcomes other individuals to participate, as long as you are passionate about oceans and have skill sets that may be useful to participating teams.

The Ocean Communities Climate Challenge’s valued partners include the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth (Nova Scotia), the City of Port Alberni (British Columbia) and the Ville de Rimouski (Quebec).

Having these community partners onboard guarantees that you will be helping to solve real-world issues faced by coastal communities in Canada. The challenges they face could also represent globally scalable entrepreneurial opportunities for you or you team.

They are specifically interested in early stage ideas on how to do any of the following better:

  • monitor and predict ocean conditions
  • transition to become net-zero port communities
  • create resilient communities with circular economies (where nothing is wasted)
  • preserve and leverage natural assets

With over $22,000 in prizes, your idea could be among the three winning ideas. For each of those ideas, winners will be awarded up to $7,500 to take their idea further.

Interested, but want more information? Download our English Info Kit. (Les renseignements sont également disponible en français. Téléchargez notre dossier d’information.)

How to get involved

Registration closed May 11, 2023

Stay tuned. We’ll announce who is selected as a winner in late June 2023.

Kickoff session (May 16)

Learn more during the May 16 Kickoff session. You will gain more info about the Challenge and meet other innovators, potential team members and more people who are passionate about oceans. For those who apply as a team, meet with others and consider growing your team.

Form and confirm your team (June 5)

Once you have had a chance to meet fellow participants, then form and confirm your final team for exploring and validating your idea. Team confirmations were due by June 5, 2023.

Identify a problem and make a plan (May-June)

If you are not sure how to start, take a look at the Info Kit. You will find pre-identified problem statements listed there and you are free to choose any of those problems. Meet with your team as soon as possible to establish an action plan for the customer discovery sprint. Consider the division of tasks, how frequently you want to meet and analyze your findings.

Get to know your customer (May 17-June 5)

Refine your idea and reassess based on what you learn during the customer discovery sprint, which is part of the Ocean Communities Climate Challenge. Alongside other participants, you will learn about customer discovery best practices and conduct a target number of interviews.

Submit a video about your idea (June 9)

Record and submit a short video (up to five minutes long) describing your idea, the problem it will solve, and who you believe will pay for your solution.


This competition is designed for anyone concerned about  sustainability, oceans and the resilience of ocean communities.

If you have an idea on the “back of a napkin” or you have recorded some ideas on your smartphone, or you are interested but don’t know where to start, then this competition is for you.

Ideal participants include:

  • students
  • mid-career professionals
  • researchers
  • developers/technical talent 
You are ineligible to participate if you:
  • founded or lead a company with a product that is on the market or is generating revenue
  • won a previous Ocean Startup Project competition, such as the Ocean Startup Challenge

Community partners include

City of Port Alberni logo

Logo de la ville de Rimouski

Municipality of the District of Yarmouth

Ecosystem partners include

Logo for COAST (Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies)

Logo for IGNITE Atlantic

Logo de Novarium

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