Jun. 08, 2021

RBC Women in Cleantech Accelerator


Article by MaRS


To solve the world’s climate challenges, we need more than just good ideas. We need diversity of thought to deliver meaningful impact. This means women and individuals from underrepresented communities, more than ever, need to be part of the solution.

The RBC Women in Cleantech Accelerator is part of the answer. Each year, we will recruit a mix of 10 exceptional women entrepreneurs and coach them through an intensive 12-month program, connecting them to top government laboratories, investors and corporate partners.

Women of all backgrounds are a powerful force in Canada’s innovation economy

But they’re significantly underrepresented in the area of clean technology. It’s time to change that. Building on the success of the inaugural Women in Cleantech Challenge, MaRS is launching and powering the RBC Women in Cleantech Accelerator, a program guided by principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as a commitment to the planet.

Our collective mission
To seek out and help a diverse group of women advance breakthrough ideas into market-ready cleantech products with the potential for global impact.

Tackling the gender issue

While Canadians are world leaders in cleantech innovation, the community must change to match Canada’s own diversity. Some key figures:

  • Only one in 10 cleantech founders is a woman.
  • Only 19 percent of Canadian cleantech companies have at least one female founder.
  • Still, the green products and services space boasts the highest proportion of women founders.
  • The majority of Canadian, female cleantech founders are located in Ontario.

Our program recruits 10 outstanding women each year

The RBC Women in Cleantech Accelerator has five main objectives:

  1. Seek out the best, most driven women entrepreneurs, balanced with BIPOC representation.
  2. Enable their dedication to the mission.
  3. Leverage existing federal research assets and networks of expertise, maximizing use of existing public resources to advance their R&D goals.
  4. Build support for their success via a curated mix of mentorship, educational programming and access to market intelligence.
  5. Make timely connections to the investors and corporate partners that matter.

Participant benefits

As part of this exclusive cohort, you get access to:

  • A lead business advisor with deep sector knowledge to help build your business and develop your product.
  • Potential no-cost opportunity to work with a federal government lab facility that is matched to your specific R&D needs.
  • Significantly enhanced profile through the Women in Cleantech brand, including highlights in press releases and industry events focused on cleantech.
  • Workshops through a curriculum designed to build business skills necessary for success. This curated curriculum was designed with feedback from MaRS subject-matter experts, and the inaugural Women in Cleantech Challenge finalists, with the goal of helping your company gain an edge in markets that are hard to crack.
  • Curated introductions to domestic and international investors and corporations.
  • Access to mentor networks through investor showcases and curated events with influential women business leaders and industry experts.
  • Opportunity to build relationships with other selected ventures, as well as the inaugural Women in Cleantech Challenge finalists.
  • Potential to participate in the Canadian Tech Accelerators program(s) organized by Global Affairs Canada (Trade Commissioner Service) to introduce you to opportunities in key U.S. markets.
  • Access to market intelligence, capital, talent and communications services offered through MaRS, North America’s largest urban innovation hub based in Toronto.

Who are we looking for?

  • Woman-identifying and/or non-binary leaders who are working to commercialize a cleantech innovation with potential for global impact.
  • You are the leader of a business that is registered as a Canadian corporation.
  • You are looking to join a one-year intensive program to help accelerate the growth of your company.

Download our application guide

Program eligibility

  • You identify as a woman and/or non-binary person.
  • You are the main technology innovator or individual leading/co-leading a Canadian business.
  • You are part of a business venture that is registered as a Canadian corporation.

In addition to applicant eligibility, your technological innovation should:

  • Fall under the definition of “cleantech” which, for the purposes of this Accelerator, is defined as “A company that is focused on the creation of intellectual property and new products that protect and/or increase efficient utilization of land, energy, water and natural resources while improving economic performance and reducing the environmental footprint relative to the baseline.”
  • Be proprietary and/or patentable.
  • Have potential to scale globally for major impact.

Fall within TRL4 and TRL7 on the nine-point Technology Readiness Level spectrum

  • TRL4: basic testing to validate the technology in a laboratory/controlled setting.
  • TRL5: component and/or validation in a simulated environment
  • TRL6: system/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a simulated environment.
  • TRL7: prototype is ready for demonstration in an appropriate operational environment.

Please click here to apply.