Funding Opportunity

Entrepreneurial Solutions to Climate Change Grants

These grants offer seed funding for innovative entrepreneurial solutions to climate change.


In partnership with The Yale University Office of Sustainability and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, The Yale Center for Business and the Environment is announcing a new seed stage grant program to fund innovation and hands-on scholarship addressing information needs and solutions in support of the objectives described in the Yale Sustainability Plan 2025.

In addition to taking tangible steps towards actualizing the Yale Sustainability Plan 2025, this seed grant kicks off a newly established focus within CBEY on Climate Change Entrepreneurship. With the current administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change agreement, businesses and entrepreneurs have an increasingly critical role in helping to slow down, and maybe even reverse, the effects of climate change. This grant program is an important step in unlocking this potential and fulfilling Yale’s commitment to building a more sustainable world more broadly. 

    Up to five seed stage grants of $1,000 - $3,000 will be awarded. In addition, recipients will also receive:

    • Incubation space at West Campus to test and explore idea
    • Mentorship from 1-2 experts
    • A strategy session with CBEY Executive Fellow in Residence

    Application information

    Application can be found HERE

    Deadline to submit application: October 22017

    Early stage entrepreneurial ideas are encouraged. Successful proposals should meet the following criteria:

    -Team – at least one current Yale student (undergraduate, graduate, professional or doctoral) must be involved in the idea/venture

    -Venture or Project – the concept must be innovative and propose a solution that addresses climate change through one of the following crucial catalysts for change:

    • Energy
    • Food
    • Women and Girls
    • Buildings and Cities
    • Land Use
    • Transport
    • Materials


    Proposals will be reviewed by an Alumni board, and selected on the following criteria:

    • Potential for impact
    • Potential commercial viability and scalability of solution
    • Strength of team
    • Evidence of need/demand for proposed solution


    We have various resources available as you prepare your application:

    Office Hours:

    Meet with a member of our team for one-on-one advice and consultation.

    - Visit us during our office hours to discuss process, questions or anything on your mind about this grant. Sign-ups will open soon.

    - Meet with Cass Walker Harvey or Mikaela Bradbury for feedback and connections to other resources at Yale.


    Climate Change Speaker Series:

    Along with the award, the Entrepreneurial Solutions to Climate Change Grant will be accompanied by a lecture series dedicated to climate change entrepreneurship.

    Over the course of the academic year, we will welcome diverse speakers to campus who will reflect on their entrepreneurial endeavors and discuss key opportunities for addressing climate change. Speaker interactions will range from large events with top leaders and influencers to more intimate discussions with recent Alumni.


    Am I eligible?

    All teams must include at least one a full-time current Yale student.

    Who are the judges?

    The Entrepreneurial Solutions to Climate Change will have an Alumni Board that are concentrated in the intersection of the business and the environment, with a particular expertise in either entrepreneurship or climate change. They will include industry experts, academics, entrepreneurs and investors.

    Does my idea have to be a for-profit or not-profit?

    All ideas are welcome. Your project may be a for-profit solution, non-profit, a community movement, a communications strategy, or you might not even be sure what form it will take yet.

    What stage should my idea be?

    Your idea can be at any stage – early ideas encouraged. The judges want to see that the $500 to $3000 will be catalytic to your testing your idea, and taking it to the next level.

    Does it matter where in the process I am?

    No. Regardless of whether your idea is in the Ideation, Pursuing, or Executing phase, your application will allow you to demonstrate your commitment towards thinking through the various entrepreneurial elements.

    What is the difference between Ideation, Pursuing, and Executing?

    Ideation indicates that you have a basic idea with very high level thoughts around how you will provide value. Everyone starts here at some point. Pursuing indicates that you are actively implementing by developing the business model or some form of pilot or minimum viable product. People in the Executing phase have taken the next step by demonstrating a commitment of time and energy to realize something of tangible value for their efforts. 

    What is the timeline?

    Final Applications are due October 2, 2017. Finalists will be notified by October 13, 2017 if they have been selected to receive a grant.

    What do I get if I win?

    Up to $3000 cash prize. In addition, for the Entrepreneurial Solutions Grant you receive:

    • Incubation space at West Campus to test and explore idea during the 2017-2018 academic year
    • Mentorship from 1-2 experts
    • A strategy session with CBEY Executive Fellow in Residence

    Can my business idea be an international venture and not necessarily within the USA?

    Yes, ideas can be anywhere globally as long as it focuses on one of the catalytic areas for preventing climate change.

    What are my chances of winning?

    This is the first round of Entrepreneurial Solutions to Climate Change Seed Stage Grants. We are looking for innovative and exciting ideas, and given there are five grants, you’re chances of receiving one are good.

    To what extent is the Entrepreneurial Solutions to Climate Change Grant orientated towards climate change?

    The primary objective is to ensure that your for-profit or non-profit venture seeks to address climate change through one of the key catalysts identified. It is critical that you indicate how your project will do this in order to receive the grant.

    People & Partners