How to apply

Find out how to apply for funding under the Homegrown Innovation Challenge

Please ensure you have read all of the information on this page before applying.

The deadline to apply to the Homegrown Innovation Challenge has now passed.  It is no longer possible for innovation teams to enter the Challenge.  The information contained in this section is provided only for posterity.

To stay up to date on important deadline and other information regarding the Homegrown Innovation Challenge, sign up for our mailing list and follow us on Twitter @HomegrownIC.

Material and recordings of past webinars can be found in the news section of this site. You may also wish check out our interactive Circle platform, where you can network to build your team and find information useful in the preparation of an application.

Application guidance

We don’t want any part of our application process to be a barrier to your team’s participation so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or concerns via challenge@westonfoundation.ca.

We wish to receive and review applications that come from many different voices and backgrounds. Also note that we’re more interested in your ideas and proposed approach than your writing style.

How the application process works

Regardless of your application for a Spark Award, you must complete an application form to apply for the Shepherd Phase. The application form will help you articulate how your solution meets our various judging criteria. A reminder that participation in the Shepherd Phase is mandatory for innovation teams to advance in the Challenge, with up to four of the ten Shepherd Phase innovators ultimately advancing to the Scaling Phase and one to two of these teams being selected as the winners of the Homegrown Innovation Challenge.

Each eligible application received will be reviewed by at least two reviewers. Using a combined average of their scores (created using methods detailed in the judging criteria), all applications will be ranked and a moderated shortlist will go to the judges for adjudication. Reviewers are external experts recruited specifically for this role.

All reviewers will be asked to declare any actual or potential conflicts of interest and will not participate in discussions or decisions where they are subject to such a conflict of interest.

The judges will meet to review the reviewers’ shortlist, interview teams and make final selections. The external, independent judging panel has a wealth of experience and insight relevant to the Challenge and the Challenge’s judging criteria. Our judging panel was announced on April 5, 2022, please see “Meet the judges” for more information.

As during the Spark Phase, all judges will be asked to declare any actual or potential conflicts of interest and will not participate in discussions or decisions where they are subject to such a conflict of interest.

We may undertake background checks on your organization to assess financial security and to ensure that your organization meets the applicable eligibility criteria. These checks are designed to highlight issues that could affect the integrity of the Challenge or prevent you from completing the Challenge.

How we support your application

Should you need to discuss your application further, the Homegrown Innovation Challenge team is offering 15-minute chats about your proposed solution. Please note that the team will not be able to offer in-depth advice, and that the judging panel — not the Homegrown Innovation Challenge team—will be responsible for selecting innovation teams and winners throughout the Challenge. Please email challenge@westonfoundation.ca to book your 15-minute slot with a Homegrown Innovation Challenge team member if you want to seek their advice.

Please take a look at the eligibility criteria and judging criteria prior to preparing your application.