Applications officially open for global competition designed to drive innovation and accelerate climate solutions from women in tech
San Francisco, CA (12 September 2018) – Today, C40 Cities officially launched the Women4Climate Tech Challenge, a global competition designed to spark innovation and accelerate climate solutions from women in the tech community. The Tech Challenge kicked off with a half-day workshop hosted by C40 in partnership with Autodesk, Climate Nexus and Grist alongside the Global Climate Action Summit.
The international contest is open to any woman carrying out an innovative tech solution focused on climate change, and the program is designed to create new opportunities and draw out innovative and unique solutions by engaging the tech community and others who have not traditionally been engaged and consulted in global climate action efforts.
The Women4Climate initiative, launched by C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo in 2016, aims to empower 500 young women taking bold climate action in the world’s leading cities by 2020. Through the Tech Challenge, C40 hopes to extend the Women4Climate initiative and its successful Mentorship Program into the innovation community and drive action dedicated to discovering the best innovations in sustainability that will help cities tackle climate change with measurable impact.
“It is far past time that women leaders worldwide are equally recognized for their work both in driving impactful global climate action and in pioneering technological innovation,” said C40 Chair and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. “We must lift up these talented and driven women and show them unwavering support as they lead the way for generations to come. In doing so, we not only nurture the passion of innovative thinkers and send a message of hope to young women across the world, but we also create a more sustainable and just planet for all.”
Projects may address a wide range of urban sustainability issues, like those dealing with mobility, food, waste, water, buildings, urban farming and air quality, and must be submitted by December 2018. Finalists will be announced in January 2019, and C40 mayors will choose the winners based on a direct, live pitch opportunity.
Winners will receive a fellowship, support and acceleration from C40 and its partners, and the opportunity to have their projects implemented in C40 cities – Paris and Tel Aviv-Yafo have already committed to experimenting and implementing the winning projects. C40’s support for winning projects 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, co-design of experimentations on citizens/users, etc. The ultimate horizon is a possible scaling and exchange of these solutions with other C40 cities.
“Women, in particular women in technology, are no strangers to breaking boundaries, driving systems change and overcoming supposedly insurmountable obstacles. As we turn our hard-fought skills to the climate challenge, there’s nothing that can stop us,” said Lynelle Cameron, Vice President of Sustainability at Autodesk and CEO at the Autodesk Foundation. “We need more women in leadership positions and I am honored to help launch the Tech Challenge to empower and support women to create our best future.”
Though they make up more than half of the world’s population, women are often disproportionately impacted by climate change. Yet women across the world – elected officials, changemakers, entrepreneurs and more – continue to drive meaningful climate action every day, steering cities, businesses and NGOs toward sustainable, long-lasting solutions. Their leadership and participation is critical in solving this global crisis.
Women in tech are particularly underrepresented, consistently holding disproportionately fewer tech-related jobs across the world – in the United States, Asia, Europe and beyond. In the U.S. today, the amount of women holding computer and mathematical jobs hovers at just 26 percent, below the level in 1960, and tech startups led by men receive much more venture capital than those led by women entrepreneurs.
Operating at the intersection of two areas in which women continue to be underrepresented, the Women4Climate Tech Challenge offers an exciting and groundbreaking opportunity for women of the world to lead the way on climate action, becoming climate heroines through technological innovation.
During the application period, C40 will co-host community events with participating cities and local incubators. In Paris, the program will operate through Paris&Co – an economic development and innovation agency that seeks to boost the innovation ecosystem of the Paris metropolitan area by incubating new companies, beta-testing innovative solutions, organizing events and helping startups network with over a hundred corporate partners. This includes Urban Lab, the experimentation laboratory of Paris&Co. In Tel Aviv-Yafo, the program will operate through The Platform: Urban Innovation Center, an entrepreneurship center that offers an training courses and accelerator program for ventures that address urban challenges by connecting and integrating stakeholders, and led by the Environmental and Sustainability Authority.
"The Women4Climate Tech Challenge addresses three issues that are high on our municipal agenda: the Environment; Women's Entrepreneurship; and Promoting Technology” said Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai. “Therefore, we are thrilled to be able to support a program that combines all three. Tel Aviv-Yafo thrives to work in collaboration with additional cities that are tech ecosystem leaders in order to harness innovative solutions to solving the social and urban challenges of the future."
For more information on Women4Climate and the Tech Challenge, including how to apply, please visit https://w4c.org/tech-challenge.
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