Women are a powerful force in Canada’s innovation economy but are significantly underrepresented. Empowering women to succeed in Canada’s cleantech sector will help bring the needed diversity of thought to yield real technological answers for some of the biggest global problems.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, in concert with MaRS, announced the $1-million grand prize winner of the Impact Canada Women in Cleantech Challenge: Amanda Hall, Chief Executive Officer of Summit Nanotech, based in Calgary, Alberta.
Founded in 2018, Summit Nanotech is developing a sustainable and cost-effective green lithium extraction process to generate battery-grade lithium to help meet the energy storage needs of the future.
Today’s announcement follows a three-year intensive program that was launched in 2018. Through a national call and expert selection process, six women were chosen from nearly 150 applicants to receive a range of supports as they advanced their technologies and built their companies. In addition to business supports and advisory services provided by MaRS, each finalist received up to $250,000 in federal laboratory support and an annual stipend to help offset living and travel costs so they could focus on building their businesses. The grand prize winner of the Women in Cleantech Challenge was selected through a competitive and rigorous process designed and delivered by MaRs.
The Women in Cleantech Challenge is one of six cleantech challenges that are part of the Impact Canada Cleantech initiative. The challenges were designed to help address some of the most pressing environmental problems. Since 2017, Natural Resources Canada has invested $75 million in six initiatives, including Women in Cleantech, The Sky’s the Limit, Power Forward, Crush It!, Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative and Charging the Future.
“The Women in Cleantech Challenge doesn’t just seek to level the playing field for women – it seeks to inspire a new generation of women entrepreneurs and leaders to build our clean energy future. Diversity of thought is critical to innovation, and that’s why supporting more women entrepreneurs is more important than ever. Congratulations to Amanda Hall – and to all the finalists who are building Canada’s clean energy future.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources
“Initiatives like the Women in Cleantech Challenge are critical for driving innovation in areas where we need creative and effective solutions, such as helping to solve climate and environmental problems. By supporting a diverse range of entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of their fields, we are working to address the gender imbalance in STEM careers while at the same time putting Canada in the best position possible to advance clean technologies and find innovative answers to our challenges.”
The Honourable Bill Blair
President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness
“The Women in Cleantech Challenge positioned my company for growth. The support provided to develop our technology and scale our business needs was critical to gain credibility and attract investors.”
Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Summit Nanotech
“The Women in Cleantech Challenge was designed to help mitigate the gender imbalance in cleantech and to scale six new high-potential cleantech companies, led by women. It is my pleasure to congratulate the grand prize winner, Amanda Hall. And to all our finalists: we are absolutely thrilled at the remarkable progress that you have made in such a short period of time. Your work puts Canada’s climate innovation economy at the forefront at a time when we most need it, all while blazing the way for other incredibly talented women engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs. We are proud to have worked with each of you over the past three years and look forward to the impact that you will be making as you scale your companies.”
Chief Executive Officer, MaRS