Request for Proposals (RFP): Executive in Residence (EIR) for Ocean Startup Project’s Ocean Startup Challenge

May 22, 2024  |  ,
The Ocean Startup Project (OSP) propels Canada as the top destination for ocean entrepreneurs, driving innovation across the ocean economy. Our mission is to transform Canada into a global hub where ocean startups can thrive, from inception to global market presence. The Ocean Startup Project runs multiple programs and initiatives to help prospective and early-stage founders navigate entrepreneurship, including Lab2Market Oceans, Ocean Idea Challenge, and Ocean Startup Challenge. Leveraging a network that includes Canada’s Ocean Supercluster and partners from across the country – Genesis, Springboard Atlantic, PEI BioAlliance, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF), Technopole Maritime du Québec (TMQ), Invest NS, and the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST) – we bolster Canada’s innovation ecosystem for ocean-focused startups. Our efforts have catapulted us to the forefront, being recognized in the top 5 ocean accelerators/incubators in North America and top 10 globally in the Blue Economy sector according to Startup Genome’s Report. Launched in 2020, we’ve quickly become a global contender, not only speeding up market access for Canadian startups but also attracting international ventures. Since our inception in 2020, we’ve supported more than 130 teams, distributed more than $3-million in funding and created various programs to fill in ecosystem gaps to best support early-stage founders, typically with a TRL of four and below. Ocean Startup Challenge winners have collectively raised over $19 million in investment and have leveraged over $33 million in non-dilutive funding to grow their companies. Teams in this program are often pre-revenue and range from pre-investment to seed stage.  

We are looking for experienced entrepreneurs excited about supporting and accelerating early-stage ocean tech startups as Executive in Residence (EIR) of our Ocean Startup Challenge.

Scope of Work

OSP’s Ocean Startup Challenge is an initiative fostering the development and launch of innovative net-new startups that address challenges and opportunities within the ocean sector.

Reporting to OSP’s Executive Director, the selected EIRs will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Reviewing applications submitted by prospective startup teams
  • Conducting interviews with applicants to assess their suitability for the program
  • Participating in the startup selection process based on predefined criteria and program objectives
  • Providing ongoing mentorship and support to the selected teams
  • Conducting monthly virtual meetings with up to 8 individual teams to track progress and provide guidance
  • Assisting teams in defining milestones and objectives related to product development, market validation, securing initial funding, forming strategic partnerships, and other commercialization goals
  • Advise teams on business and IP strategy, commercial agreements, customer engagement, cash flow, dilutive and non-dilutive fundraising
  • Leverage extensive networks to connect the teams with potential partners, investors, or customers.
  • Serve as a proactive ambassador for the Ocean Startup Project, actively promoting its mission and initiatives
  • Maintain consistent communication with the OSP team to ensure alignment of messaging and coordination of deliverables

Duration and Hours: 

The EIRs will be engaged for 135-205 hours distributed between September 2024 and March 2025. The exact timing of the engagement will be mutually agreed upon between the selected EIRs, the Ocean Startup Project Executive Director and the selected teams.


The compensation for the EIRs will be set at $165 (CAD) per hour plus HST.



  • Demonstrated experience in entrepreneurship or executive leadership, preferably in the ocean or maritime sector
  • Proven track record of successfully launching and scaling startups or high-growth organizations
  • Demonstrated coaching and mentorship skills
  • Strong relevant domestic and international network
  • Excellent communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse teams and stakeholders
  • Commitment to fostering innovation and sustainability in the ocean sector
  • Being bilingual in English and French is considered an asset
  • Needs to reside and be able to work in Canada
Proposal Submission: Interested candidates are invited to submit their proposals by June 21, 2024. Proposals should include the following:
  • Resume
  • Proposed approach to supporting startup teams in the Ocean Startup Challenge
  • Proposed schedule of availability between September 2024 and March 2025.
  • Two professional references
  • Proposals should be submitted electronically to with the subject line “EIR Application”
Selection Process: Proposals will be evaluated based on the qualifications and experience of the candidates and the quality and feasibility of their proposed approach. Shortlisted candidates may be invited for interviews or additional discussions.   Timeline:
  • RFP Issuance: May 22, 2024
  • Proposal Submission Deadline: June 21, 2024
  • Evaluation and Selection: July 17, 2024
  • Contract Negotiation and Finalization: Aug 7, 2024
  • Engagement Period: September 2024 – March 2025
Disclaimer: This RFP does not constitute a commitment to enter into a contract or agreement with any party. The program organizers reserve the right to modify or cancel this RFP at any time without prior notice. Thank you for your interest in supporting the Ocean Startup Project. We look forward to receiving your proposals.

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