Submissions due by Friday, March 22nd



The Environmental Media Association (EMA) Future Innovator of the Year Challenge will return to our annual EMA IMPACT Summit. Our Future Innovator Challenge has proven to be the most anticipated element of our unique two-day experience. With thousands of applicants, the EMA Future Innovator of the Year Challenge is quickly becoming one of the premier pitch competitions in the sustainability space.

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 incubators, top universities, start-ups who will compete for the EMA Future Innovator of the Year Grant: A $50,000 prize that includes ongoing mentorship by our EMA Advisory Board.

Each contestant must submit their business and marketing plans, a short video pitch of their concept/company, and any links to press and why they deserve to win. EMA* will narrow all entries down to six finalists.

Contestants can submit by filling out the form below.

Our six finalists will be flown to Los Angeles to compete on day one of EMA’s IMPACT Summit. From there they will pitch their world-changing concepts to our esteemed judges. EMA will announce the three finalists at the evening’s welcome reception.

On day two, our three hopefuls will return to the stage for a final vetting by our judges. They will make their case for why their idea is worthy of the $50,000 Future Innovator of The Year Grant. After deliberations, EMA CEO, Debbie Levin and co-host and EMA Board Officer & entrepreneur, Jaden Smith will announce the winner.

In addition to one (1) domestic economy airfare, our six finalists will receive two (2) night’s stay at Montage Beverly Hills and also the opportunity to attend the EMA Awards on the evening of May 30th. (International airfare is subject to review)

*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 and why it is important

  • Venture is supported by a well-articulated theory of change and impact value chain

  • Environmental 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

  • Environmental impact projections are based on reasonable assumptions and credible data

  • Venture has a longer-term vision for environmental 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 and 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 environmental 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

  • Presentation is professional, persuasive, passionate and organized

Fill out the fields below. Click the submit button at the bottom when you are finished!



Address of the Organization *
Address of the Organization
Phone *
If Available.
If Available

Submissions due by Friday, March 22nd.

Applicants will be notified whether they have been chosen no later than April 22nd, 2019.