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TAF launches ClimateSpark challenge

The ClimateSpark.ca Challenge is offering a $10,000 cash prize and a pool of approximately $15 million in financing for business projects that reduce urban greenhouse gas emissions. The web 2.0 “crowdsourcing” and “ideation” platform allows an online community of investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, policy makers, environmental leaders and business buffs to rate and comment on business proposals and select the winners. Businesses from across Canada have until December 20th to submit their ideas.


November 6, 2010
By Craig Pearson

“ClimateSpark is tapping business ingenuity and competitiveness to spark some creative climate change solutions that can also help companies turn a profit,” said Julia Langer, Executive Director of the Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF), which is behind the challenge. “If you believe that a thousand minds are better than one, ClimateSpark offers the opportunity to put an idea in front of a diverse community that will work with businesses to refine and develop—and then judge—their ideas.”

The TAF says this opportunity to stimulate “green” entrepreneurship has attracted high-profile sponsors, including TD Bank, Toronto Live Green, Aird & Berlis LLP and Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Business. Firms with approximately $15 million to invest in this space, including Investeco and Best Funds, are also sponsoring the challenge. The winner and the eight runners-up will have the opportunity to pitch these investors on their ideas.

Web challenges are being widely deployed in the United States and elsewhere to generate new ideas and products, says the TAF, and are ideally suited to complex problems like climate change. The ClimateSpark web platform allows participants to earn “reputation” points based on their engagement in the challenge, which they can then use to support one of the business concepts and win prizes.

“This is not a popularity contest,” said Langer. “It is a sophisticated system for separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to identifying solutions with real promise, both in terms of emission reductions and profitability.”

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The first round of the contest runs from November 4 to December 20, 2010. Nine finalists will be selected to go into the second round, which runs from January 3-31, 2011. The winner will be announced at the ClimateSpark Summit in Toronto on February 2, 2011.

For more information, go to www.toronto.ca/taf.