Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) make up 98.2% of businesses in Canada, and emit as much climate change-causing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per year as Canada’s combined transportation sector, including every car, truck, train, plane, and ship. Reducing their emissions can benefit SMEs by helping them grow while also building healthier communities.

The Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto has launched a contest on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Climate CoLab platform to solicit a broad range of possible solutions to help SMEs in Ontario reduce their direct and indirect GHG emissions while helping them thrive. The winning proposals may be eligible to receive funding and support to pilot their solutions in Ontario over eight months.

“Recent research from the University of Waterloo shows us that the vast majority of SMEs believe that sustainability is important,” said Barnabe Geis, Director of Programs at the Centre for Social Innovation. “We want to support the implementation of solutions – whether technologies, programs or services – that help SMEs meet their sustainability goals as a powerful way to both strengthen our economy and improve the health and well-being of our communities.”

Many SMEs face barriers to lowering their emissions, from lacking the technical expertise to assess options for reducing emissions to not being able to afford the upfront costs of a low-carbon technology. However, once the right technologies or practices are implemented, the savings and other benefits to SMEs can be substantial. This contest will offer support to demonstrate the value and scalability of solutions in order to make the path towards sustainability more accessible to SMEs across the province.

The contest, now sourcing proposals on the MIT Climate CoLab platform, allows members of the public to provide feedback to proposal authors, and to cast votes for the People’s Choice Winner. A panel of judges will select 3-5 winning proposals based on their desirability, feasibility, scalability and impact to potentially be piloted in Ontario.

The contest is open to proposal submissions until August 3, 2018. Proposals submitted prior to July 11th, will be reviewed by the Judges and given feedback before the contest deadline.