Type of Funding





C40 is inviting women innovators and entrepreneurs and women-led start-ups to take part in the 2nd C40 Women4Climate Tech Challenge, which supports diversity in technology and innovation, where women are largely underrepresented. The Challenge aims to help these women entrepreneurs as:

  • Women only represent 17% of employees, 4% of software engineers and 1% of leadership positions in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sector;
  • Only 3% of venture capital partners are women;
  • Just 14% of start-up investors (or ‘Business Angels’) are women;
  • Start-ups led by men receive over 16 times more funding than those led by women.

Entries should address 1 of the following Challenge themes:

  • Adaptation and risk cities response
  • Healthy public buildings and households
  • Green and healthier streets

The winning women-led innovative tech solutions for climate with a measurable impact will be experimented in the following participating C40 cities:

  • Los Angeles will consider applications for ‘Healthy Public Buildings’;
  • Lisbon will consider applications for ‘Healthy Public Buildings’ and ‘Green & Healthier Streets’;
  • Stockholm will consider applications for ‘Green & Healthier Streets’; and
  • Tel Aviv-Yafo will consider applications for ‘Adaptation & Risk Cities Response’ and ‘Green & Healthier Streets’.

C40 cities joining the Tech Challenge are committed to piloting the winning solutions. An expert jury will pick 10 finalists in February 2020, and the finalists will present their solutions to the participating C40 mayors and The VELUX Group at a direct, live pitch event which will determine the 4 winners.

Contestants will have to submit a 90 second video together with their applications, pitching their project and describing their motivation for and commitment to creating healthier and more sustainable cities.


Innovators, entrepreneurs and start-ups selected to be finalists and winners will be eligible to receive financial or technical support from C40 and their partners, plus acceleration or implementation in C40 Cities. C40 support will be custom-designed for each solution, depending on the project’s level of maturity and the needs: acceleration; incubation; residence within the city; urban space for experimentation; and co-design of experiments on citizens/users.

US$40,000 in funding will be divided among the 4 winners, with the grant used to support their experimental phase. 


Applicants can be from anywhere in the world, but cities will only select 1 winning project to be piloted in their city. They have to be adult women, including but not limited to students, innovators, and professionals. Women is defined as all those who identify themselves as female, including transwomen, gender queer women, and non-binary people.

Preference will be given to women who do not have access to funding, active networks or relationships with city officials. The project has to be a women-led project. Applying teams may be mixed in gender but the lead applicant has to be a a female who is the founder or CEO, playing a leading role.

The applying tech project can be at the prototype stage or has been already launched. Nature-based, ecosystem service or green infrastructure solutions are encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to applications with measurable impact in terms of CO2 emissions reduction.

In general, the applications will be evaluated against the 2 criteria of:

  • Remarkableness, originality (or improvement upon an existing idea), and potential of the solution in terms of innovation and climate change.
  • Interest from a participating city and opportunity with a proven track record of impact in tackling climate change in cities and/or bold visions for future projects that will have a major impact on climate change in cities.

Applicants have to be fully committed to dedicating their time and energy to the successful implementation of their project during the year of 2020. They need to be fluent in English.


Applications are to be done online by 31 January 2020.

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