How it Works

The ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge is looking for ten great ideas that can help our city and our climate. The three-part challenge is open to any social venture that includes at least one non-profit partner and that can demonstrate a financially viable solution to reducing Toronto’s climate impact (click here for the full evaluation criteria). Our partners and collaborators have pulled together a $500,000+ pool of grants, loan funds and equity investments.  One or more top entries will receive an up to $50,000 grant on behalf of the Toronto Community Foundation Green Innovation Awards.  The Toronto Atmospheric Fund has earmarked $100,000 in grants for supporting winning ClimateSpark ventures.  Other foundations may provide additional grant money and TAF and private investors will also consider loans and equity investments.

 You can participate in Round 2 of the challenge by:

  • Joining our community of reviewers. Give our proponents your insights by reviewing their proposals and we’ll reward you with points. The more points you earn, the more chances you have to win great prizes in our weekly prize draws (each point equals one entry in each prize draw) and grand prize draw for a Kymco scooter.  Contestants - and even other reviewers - can donate points to any reviewer who they feel has made a great contribution by providing helpful comments, following up on suggestions or engaging other community members. 

The ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge is divided into three parts:

Ignite: The nine week online challenge that is the first step along the Challenge path. The online community reviews and interacts with our venture challengers, who are also looked over by a select group of ClimateSpark Experts. Twenty social ventures proceed to the second online round, from which 10 are chosen to proceed to ClimateSpark Accelerate.

Accelerate: The ten finalists get an opportunity to meet face-to-face with expert advisors, who help them improve their proposals and strengthen their concepts. It’s an intensive cram session in venture planning that helps contestants cover all the bases of a good business plan before taking it to the final pitch session. The ten finalists will each receive $1,000 to assist with their participation and planning during Accelerate.

Launch: The finalists get 10 minutes to sell their concept to a panel of investors from both the philanthropic and for-profit sectors. This panel will choose the winner(s) of the Toronto Community Foundation’s $50,000 Green Innovation Award and consider potential further investment in both the winner and/or other contenders. The Green Innovation winner and other investment successes will be announced at the ClimateSpark Launch celebration, which will bring together a wide range of community and business movers and shakers.

We need you to make this a great Challenge. Sign up today and tell others to get involved too! Then come back often to check out the action and help shape great ideas that will shape our city!


  • September 15: ClimateSpark Ignite launch
  • October 28, 5 p.m. EST: End Round 1 of ClimateSpark Ignite
  • Nov. 1: Round 2 contestants announced (20 contestants)
  • November 15, 5 p.m. EST: End Round 2 of ClimateSpark Ignite
  • November 21: Round 2 winners announced (10 winners)
  • December 7-8: ClimateSpark Accelerate
  • December 19: 10 finalists submit final business plans
  • January 26, 2012 (TBC): Private lunch with investors
  • Feb 7, 2012: ClimateSpark Launch gala event

The ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge is a project of:


Our sponsors:

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