Submissions due by Friday, April 20th

EMA Future Innovator of the Year Winner THREAD with judges

EMA Future Innovator of the Year Winner THREAD with judges


After a tremendously successful inaugural year in 2017, The Environmental Media Association’s Future Innovator of the Year Challengepresented by New Pacific Holdings will be back again for our annual EMA IMPACT Summit. Our Innovator Challenge has proven to be the most anticipated element of our unique two-day experience.

We would love for you to help us invite, discover and submit the best and brightest minds of tomorrow to solve our planet’s biggest issues of today.

We are looking for applicants from the top universities and incubators in the country who will compete for the EMA Innovator of The Year Grant: A fifty thousand dollar prize that includes mentorship by our Senior Impact Advisory Board.

Each contestant must submit their business plan, as well as a short video pitch of their concept/company. There will be six finalists (finalists from universities will be chosen by their professors).

Our six finalists will be flown out to Los Angeles to compete on day one of EMA’s IMPACT SUMMIT, pitching their world-changing concepts in a late afternoon judging round before the final three are announced.

On day two, our three hopefuls will return to the stage to illuminate the panel of esteemed judges and make a case for why their idea is worthy of the Future Innovator of The Year Grant.

*Competition entrants are evaluated by judges who are leaders in the social and environmental entrepreneurship and innovation space, including impact investors, entrepreneurs, green tech icons, serial venture capitalists and leading experts in international development and venture philanthropy. Judges evaluate entrants in three equally weighted areas to determine a venture’s overall score.

Environmental Potential

This includes:

  • Venture addresses a clearly defined environmental challenge
  • Venture makes a clear case for why the environmental challenge is important
  • Venture is supported by a well-articulated theory of change and impact value chain
  • Environment impact is integrated into the business model: impact scales as company grows
  • Venture generates environmental value above and beyond current state or next best available option
  • Environment impact projections are based on reasonable assumptions and credible data
  • Venture has a longer term vision for environment impact beyond the immediate challenge

Business Potential

This includes:

  • Venture must operate in a market in which there is compelling economic opportunity
  • Venture is designed for a well-defined customer and reflects a deep understanding of other key stakeholders (beneficiaries, partners, employees, investors)
  • Venture offers a clear value proposition(s) to its customer and other key stakeholders
  • Venture has sustainable, defensible sources of competitive advantage
  • Product or service is innovative and fits the target market
  • Product or service has a clear value chain and roadmap
  • Financial projections are based on clear and reasonable assumptions
  • Venture has strong revenue model that shows clear understanding of key cost drivers, revenue streams
  • Venture has attractive unit economics and margins

Implementation Potential

This includes:

  • Venture has a realistic plan to address the identified environmental challenge through the selected business model
  • Team has selected appropriate environment impact metrics that align with the intended impact the venture has articulated
  • Team has designed a clear and feasible plan for measuring and evaluating social impact
  • Venture has a clearly defined vision and growth objectives
  • Plan includes a coherent and convincing go-to- market strategy
  • Venture should have a marketing plan
  • Members are passionate, committed, and resourceful
  • Team is balanced, with relevant and diverse domain & industry experience
  • Team has built valuable relationships with advisors, mentors
  • Presentation is professional, persuasive, and organized

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Submissions are now closed. Our six finalists will be announced soon.