What is the MIT Water Innovation Prize?

The MIT Water Innovation Prize is a startup competition focused on water innovation that awards $30k in innovation grants annually to student-led teams from across the country. We are the innovation-focused main event of the MIT Water Club and we help emerging entrepreneurs translate their research or idea into a business, access mentors and resources, and build their networks in the water industry. We welcome all approaches to water innovation, from engineering and product design to policy and data analytics.

How many years has WIP been around?

The prize was started in 2014. This is the third year. Past winners have gone on to win regional and national-level innovation competitions.

Who can apply?

Our rules for entering the competition can be found on the Rules page.

What are the requirements to be eligible for funding?

Teams are not eligible to participate in the Spring 2017 MIT Water Innovation Prize if they have existing capital greater than $50,000 as of December 31st, 2016 (exclusive of funding for research & technology development).

What can funding be used for?

In general, funding can be used for anything needed to advance your innovation. This includes research, materials for prototyping, professional services needed, etc.

Do we need to be in Boston to compete in the competition?

No. However, at least one presenter from the team must attend the Final Pitch Night in Cambridge, MA on May 1, 2017.

What happens after the statement of intent is submitted?

After the statement of intent is submitted the organizing team of the MIT Water Innovation Prize will review each statement and invite qualifying teams to participate in the competition in February. Next, mentoring and workshops will take place in the spring to help teams develop their business plan and prepare for the Final Pitch Night on April 10th, 2017.

How developed does my idea have to be?

Innovations at all stages are welcome to apply; however, past winners of the prize have been able to demonstrate the potential to take their innovation to market within a reasonable time horizon (~5yrs).

Are there particular innovation or solution areas that are better than others?

Innovations of all types and dimensions are welcome. The water space has numerous opportunities and challenges to solve related to policy, technology, data sensing, analytics, implementation, financing, end-to-end solutions, etc. We encourage diverse and creative submissions.