Canadian startups receive unexpected financial boost to help make sustainable New Year’s resolutions
Dec. 16, 2015
Seven Canadian climate entrepreneurs will be going into 2016 with a significant financial lift from a new grant program being offered by Shell Canada in collaboration with Canadian Geographic.
The Quest Climate Grant awarded seven young entrepreneurs leading six initiatives with $50,000 per project to recognize their efforts to lead climate change-oriented businesses. The recipients, ages 18-35, were identified based on their unique business and/or product concept and their commitment to working on promising climate change innovations – be it energy efficiency and savings, behavioural or social change, or clean energy initiatives.
Lorraine Mitchelmore, Shell Canada President and Country Chair said: “The kinds of innovations needed to address climate change come in many different forms. These exceptional young entrepreneurs show us how there are many ways to tackle what can seem like a daunting, global challenge. Together, as Canadians, our collective actions can make a difference. The Quest Climate Grant has been launched to recognize these efforts.”
There will be further opportunity for youth-led climate change-oriented startups to receive financial support in 2016. Shell Canada, Canadian Geographic and MaRS Discovery District selected the 2015 recipients to represent the types of inspiring projects eligible to receive funding through The Quest Climate Grant when the program is officially rolled out in 2016.
Helping young entrepreneurs bring climate change innovations to life builds on Shell’s efforts to advance low-carbon technologies. The grant program follows the recent launch of Shell’s Quest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Alberta last month, which will capture and store more than one million tonnes of CO2 from Shell’s oil sands operations – equivalent to the emissions of about 250,000 cars.
“Working with Shell Canada to offer The Quest Climate Grant is truly a natural fit for us,” said John Geiger, Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Geographic. “Our content is focused on uncovering and celebrating inspiring people and places in Canada, and these young entrepreneurs are just that — inspiring. We look forward to expanding The Quest Climate Grant in 2016 and being witness to the continued innovation of young Canadians committed to developing sustainable solutions”
"On the heels of the historic agreement at COP21 in Paris, we see enormous opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators tackling climate change," said Jane Kearns, Senior Advisor, MaRS Cleantech. “The six winning ideas demonstrate that Canada is well positioned to take a leading role in climate innovation.”
The Quest: Climate Grant recipients for 2015:
Ann Stasia Makosinski (Victoria, BC) (Victoria, BC) Ann Stasia Makosinski is an 18 year old student inventor and Google Science Fair winner. She is most well known for her Hollow Flashlight, a flashlight that runs off the heat of the human hand. She is currently working on her latest invention the eDrink, a mobile phone-charging travel mug.
- “I now have a real opportunity to seek out partners to further the development of my product design and bring my technology to market.” – Ann Stasia Makosinki, student and inventor
Michael Nemeth (Saskatoon, SK) Michael Nemeth of Bright Buildings offers passive house design and energy consulting services. Bright Buildings is creating an affordable co-housing project that achieves the highest standard of sustainable housing, 90 per cent more efficient than regular homes.
- “The opportunity to use the grant to put toward the building of an affordable co-housing project in Saskatoon is very exciting and will help demonstrate that affordable and sustainable housing are not mutually exclusive.” - Michael Nemeth, founder of Bright Buildings.
Hop Compost (Calgary, AB) Hop collects food waste from select Calgary and Vancouver restaurants, and using the world’s top composting cleantech, transforms it into Canada’s highest-nutrient organic fertilizer alternative. As local growers use this signature product to supply food back into Hop's restaurant clients, the company creates a regenerative, closed loop food system. Hop has saved over 1.3 million pounds of food waste from landfill since launching in February, and enabled unprecedented growth in local organic food.
- “The Quest Climate Grant will give us the opportunity to expand to new markets much faster than we could have anticipated and bring composting solutions to a broader audience.”- Kevin Davies, founder, Hop Compost
OTI Lumionics (Toronto, ON) OTI Lumionics is a small company in the heart of Toronto, Canada working to unlock the full potential of OLED technology. OTI Lumionics Inc. was founded in 2011 by an award winning team of researchers and engineers from the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto. The company was started more than eight years ago as researchers in a lab with a small idea and big dreams for the future. Today OTI is realizing those dreams by making OLED—a new technology for energy-efficient lighting made of carbon based dyes—accessible to innovative new product applications.
“These funds really help us to continue to move the business forward. Every dollar we can receive locally is massively influential in keeping the company, team and jobs here in Canada.” – Michael Helander, president and CEO, OTI Lumionics.
Solar for Life (Toronto, ON) Solar for Life is a not-for-profit organization that aims to provide access to clean and affordable energy to developing communities across the world. Through the organization’s network of ambassadors, Solar for Life raises funds and installs solar lights to reduce kerosene dependency in off-grid areas. Solar for Life functions on three pillars: micro-impact solar light donations, developmental research, and sustainable entrepreneurship education and programming. With such basic, yet holistic mechanisms, the organization ensures that communities are better off and most importantly, self-sufficient.
- “This grant is huge for us. Not only does it allow us to broaden our reach in supporting off-grid communities with solar lights, but it also rejuvenates our team and validates the work that we do.” - Kourosh Houshmand, founder and president, Solar for Life
Ungalli Clothing Co. (Thunder Bay, ON) Ungalli Clothing Co. is a Canadian clothing brand designed and ethically produced on 100% sustainable materials. Ungalli’s clothing is made from 100% recycled and repurposed material including recycled water bottles, recycled cotton, and scraps from cotton factory floors. The clothing is manufactured using zero virgin growth within a 320-km production radius to minimize environmental impacts and reduce or eliminate water, petroleum, and C02 waste. Ungalli ensures all clothing is produced in safe facilities where workers are treated with kindness, respect, and paid fairly for the hours they work.
- “We are so grateful to receive the grant as it will allow us to explore the option of becoming wholesalers and expand our business exclusively online.” – Bree and Hailey Hollingswoth, co-founders, Ungalli Clothing Co.
The Quest Climate Grant is expanding in 2016 and will offer more funding opportunities to budding climate entrepreneurs with a passion for sustainable solutions.
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