Shell Canada Gives Green Technology Startups Financial Boost

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 CA $50,000 (US $36,103.69) 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, behavioral 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 in November 2015, which will capture and store more than one million tons 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:

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.

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.

The Quest Climate Grant is expanding in 2016 and will offer more funding opportunities to budding climate entrepreneurs with a passion for sustainable solutions.

For additional reading on green technology, please refer to the following links: 
How Tech Companies are Promoting Sustainability 
How Google Earth Promotes Environmental Protection in Near Real-Time 
The Role of Technology in Sustainability