Funding Opportunity

Climate Change Innovation Grants

These grants offer seed funding for innovative solutions addressing climate change


The Yale Center for Business and the Environment announces the second year of a grant program to fund innovative & entrepreneurial solutions to climate change.

This seed grant represents a key focus area within CBEY: Climate Change Innovation. With the current administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change agreement, entrepreneurs and innovators have an increasingly critical role in helping to slow down, and maybe even reverse, the effects of climate change. This seed funding program is an important step in unlocking this potential and fulfilling Yale’s commitment to building a more sustainable world.

Up to five seed-stage grants of $500 - $3,000 will be awarded. In addition, recipients will also receive:

  • Mentorship from 1-2 experts

  • A strategy session with CBEY Executive Fellow in Residence

  • Opportunity for incubation space at the Yale Landscape Lab at West Campus to test and explore idea

  • Opportunity to participate in the Climate Change Solutions Generator in the spring

Former winners include Firoz Academy, Symbrosia, Treehouse Trading, AirAware, Solar for Renters: The Renter’s PPA, Green Mow, AIRPower, Ocean Impact, Soil Samplers, and Shoots.

Application information

Application forthcoming.

Deadline to submit an application: October 1, 2019

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, as highlighted by Project Drawdown:

  • 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 positive sustainability impact on climate change

  • Potential commercial viability and scalability of the solution

  • Strength of team

  • Evidence of need/demand for proposed solution or project


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 Ben Soltoff for feedback and connections to other resources at Yale.


Climate Change Speaker Series:

Along with the award, the Climate Change Innovation Seed Grant program will be accompanied by a lecture series dedicated to climate change innovation.

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 Climate Change Innovation Grant program will have an Alumni Board that is concentrated in the intersection of the business and the environment, with 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 1, 2019. Finalists will be notified by October 23, 2019 if they have been selected to receive a grant.

What do I get if I win?

Up to $3000 cash prize. In addition to the funding, as part of the Climate Change Innovation Grant you will receive:

  • Mentorship from 1-2 experts
  • A strategy session with CBEY Executive Fellow in Residence
  • Opportunity for incubation space at West Campus to test and explore idea during the 2019-2020 academic year
  • Opportunity to participate in the Climate Change Solutions Generator in spring 2020

Can my idea be an international venture/project 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?

We are looking for innovative and exciting ideas, and given there are up to five grants, you’re chances of receiving one are good.

To what extent are the Climate Change Innovation Grants orientated towards climate change?

The primary objective is to ensure that your for-profit or non-profit venture seeks to address climate change or its environmental/social impacts 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