Ocean Idea Challenge

A market validation competition encouraging entrepreneurs
to explore their early stage, sustainable ocean idea

The Ocean Idea Challenge is a market validation competition that encourages prospective entrepreneurs to explore and validate their early stage, sustainable ocean idea. Successful teams that demonstrate proven market interest for their idea will win up to $10,000, and be introduced to local technology innovation hubs to continue building out their product/service, in addition to other resources and benefits.

During the competition, participants will undergo skills training, access programming and focus on conducting at least 25 customer discovery interviews to gain a thorough understanding of their potential customers’ situations, needs and pain points.

Participants are encouraged to participate if they are interested in exploring ideas around reducing the environmental impact industries have on the ocean; improving ocean health; or developing a new or enhanced method to do more with less ocean-based resources.

Ideas include products or services that support areas such as:

  • Renewable ocean energy
  • Sustainable fishing and aquaculture
  • Decarbonized shipping and marine transportation
  • Marine bio-resources in the circular economy

For participants registering as an individual, the competition brings together people from diverse backgrounds to collaborate and form co-founder/team relationships.

Registration closed on April 19, 2022 at 11:59pm PST.

Interested in registering but want more information? Download our English Program Information PackagePour les francophones, téléchargez notre dossier d’information en français.

How to get involved

Register to participate

Enrol in the competition by completing our online form, which includes information about yourself and/or your team.


Attend the April 5 Info Session

Networking & welcome session

Learn more about the competition, meet potential team members and co-founders, program mentors, and more at our welcome session on April 26. There is also an online community that will share resources and information about the process. For those who apply as a team, meet with others and consider welcoming additions.

Form (and confirm) your team

Once you’ve had a chance to meet fellow participants, form and confirm the team you will explore and validate your business idea with. Team confirmations are due by April 29, 2022. 

Identify a problem and make a plan

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

Conduct 25 customer discovery interviews with industry and key stakeholders over two weeks. Use these learnings to refine your idea and reassess or continue to build your solution to the problem.


Submit a video about your solution

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


This competition is designed for anyone curious about sustainability, oceans, entrepreneurship and/or innovation. If you have an idea on the “back of a napkin” or are interested in solving sustainability issues but don’t know where to start, this competition is for you. Note that this competition is NOT meant for companies that have revenue or have a product in market.

Ideal participants include:

  • students
  • mid-career professionals
  • researchers
  • developers/technical talent 
You are ineligible to participate if you are:
  • A company with a product in market or are generating revenue
  • A winner of a previous Ocean Startup Project competition, such as the Ocean Startup Challenge

Are you ready to explore & validate your ocean idea?

Program partners include

Sign up for updates.

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Ocean Startup Project:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our Privacy Statement page.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

*By completing this form you are signing up to receive our emails and can unsubscribe at any time.

Sign Up!