The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, in concert with MaRS, recently announced the $1-million grand prize winner of the Impact Canada Women in Cleantech Challenge: Amanda Hall, Chief Executive Officer and founder 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.

In her remarks accepting the award, Ms. Hall said, “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.”

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 ForwardCrush It!Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative and Charging the Future.

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.

Yung Wu, Chief Executive Officers of MaRs, said, “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.”