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Climate Adaptation Innovation Challenge:
Finance for the Future

SAVE THE DATE: 13-14 May 2023
9 am Start Time


Participants, mentors and judges

3 - 5 

Early stage startups

Cape Town

Workshop 17

Watershed, 17 Dock Rd. Victoria & Alfred

Cape Town, 8002, South Africa

Preliminary Agenda 2023

Saturday, May 13th

09:00 - 09:30   Registration and settle in 

09:30 - 10:20    Opening

 - - - - - - - -     Break

10:30 - 11:30     Team formation 

11:30 - 12:30     Teamwork, coaching: articulating the problem space 

 - - - - - - - -     Lunch 

13:30 - 16:00    Teamwork, coaching: entering the solutions space

16:00 - 16:45    Teamwork, coaching: articulating the vision

16:45 - 17:00    Closing and recap 

17:00 - 19:00    Teamwork / Apero

Sunday, May 14th

09:00 - 09:30   Opening and breakfast 

09:30 - 12:30    Teamwork, coaching: prototyping

 - - - - - - - -     Break

13:30 - 14:30     Coaching: prototyping testing 

14:30 - 16:00     Teamwork: prototype refinement 

 - - - - - - - -     Lunch 

16:00 - 16:45    Teamwork, coaching: pitch prep

16:45 - 18:00    Pitches and judging

18:00 - 18:30    Awards and closing

Get Involved!

Join as a participant

You are either an individual excited to collaborate on a new idea or a startup team looking to find solutions to boost your business. Participate.


Join as a mentor or coach

You are passionate about climate, finance or the environment and want to support entrepreneurs looking to build a better future. Join here.


Become a partner 

You want to support the Climathon and make it a high-impact event. Partner with us.

Participation in the climathon is free and open to anyone who wants to get involved. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided for all participants.

UX Design Team

Climathon Cape Town is a great opportunity to build your ideas or showcase your talent to early-stage startups.

Climathon is a worldwide movement of people who actively combat climate change and is held in cities around the world. In Cape Town, the CIFAR Alliance, BFA Global, and Mastercard's Center for Inclusive Growth will host their inaugural Climathon in collaboration with Stellenbosch LaunchLab and the University of Cape Town’s Algorand Financial Innovation Hub. 


During 48 hours, participants will have the chance to meet inspiring entrepreneurs, work on challenges at the nexus of climate and finance and share their ideas to inspire others. Participants can build a new idea from scratch or they can collaborate with existing early-stage startups tackling climate change. 

Ideas, Funding and Talent

This year’s participants will collaborate and compete to receive:

Winning Team #1 - USD 2,000

Winning Team #2 - USD 1,000

Winning Team #3 - Access to LaunchLab Co-Working and 1-on-1 entrepreneurship counseling 

All winning team members will be considered for future cohorts of BFA Global’s Triggering Exponential Climate Action Program and gain access to the CIFAR Alliance network of experts and investors. Participating startups may also be looking for talent to join their teams!

Team Building Session

What can I expect during the event? 

Participants will enter the Climathon with a choice:

  1. Do I bring my innovative new idea to the table and form a team?

  2. Do I bring my talent to an existing startup and help them boost their product? 

Both paths will entail the same sessions consisting of:

Image by Product School

Opening, Closing and Networking

We will open the Climathon with context and framing as well as guest speakers that will set the mood and provide inspiration for ideas.


The Climathon will close with a pitch fest and award ceremony where winning teams are announced.


Entrepreneurs and mentors are encouraged to connect throughout the sessions as well as during breaks, lunches and after event happy hour. 

Team Work

The Climathon will begin with participants forming teams during a facilitated session. Individuals with new ideas can find their fellow “founders” while members of existing startups will be looking for new members to fill their existing talent gaps and who are passionate about their solution! 


Example existing startups may focus on carbon credits, coastal production systems (e.g. algae production), or financial services that help build the resilience of climate vulnerable communities. 


Team work sessions will focus on framing the problem, prioritizing the solution and building your prototype - either an MVP or a high fidelity mockup. 

Designers Looking at the Computer
Office Meeting

Micro-Workshops and Coaching

Team Work sessions will typically start with guidance on how to tackle the next step in developing your product and provide useful tools for doing so. Such guidance may include “Framing the Problem”, “Understanding the User” or “How to Pitch”, for example. 


Coaches will be available throughout the sessions, with diverse backgrounds ranging from social innovation, climate science, city planning, user research, software development, fintech and product management. 

The Topic: Climate and Finance

This event challenges entrepreneurs on how to integrate financial services in climate solutions and vice versa. 


Access to financial resources remains one of the biggest barriers to building climate resilience of vulnerable communities. Financial technologies, like digital payments, embedded credits, insurance, or payment services, can be catalytic for expanding the reach and usability of climate solutions. While some products can be finance-forward (e.g. a climate savings product), others may just embed financial technology (e.g. a marketplace component to a climate service app). 


Check out the Digital Finance for Climate Resilience Framework to learn more!

The results

After 48 hours of intensive work, we distilled 7 novel business ideas, each crafted in direct response to climate-related challenges tied to the blue wave or water-centered economy.

Out of these, we honored the top 3 in each category – Emerging Ideas and Startups.

1st Place Startup

You Meta

You Meta, the winner in the 'existing idea' category, enables young people to access green and climate jobs through their innovative app, bringing awareness to emerging livelihood opportunities and upskilling youth.

Young People at a Workshop

1st Place New Idea

Sea Soil

Sea Soil, the recipient of the 'new idea' award, wants to focus on improving soil health by applying underutilized seaweed as fertilizer. It aims to integrate carbon finance into its platform based on increasing carbon soil stocks.

Watch the event recap

Examples of Early-stage Startups


Mudala logo.jpg

Mudala is a carbon offsetting exchange solution powered by blockchain technology. Our platform offers an easy-to-use, transparent, and reliable marketplace for companies to voluntarily purchase or sell carbon credits

Mwani Blu

Mwani Blu provides a marketplace with high level traceability from the seaweed farms, through the cultivation, harvesting, and processing phases of the value chain.


RegisTree is a female led startup that is empowering coastal communities to deliver credible carbon projects that benefit people and planet through ecosystem restoration. The startup works to capacitate communities to conduct mangrove restoration by providing technical assistance as well as through locally led monitoring, reporting and verification that is tech enabled.


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CarbonSpark is leading the charge towards a more sustainable future for Southern Africa with its innovative carbon credit project, which drives the growth of electric vehicle charging infrastructure by unlocking high-quality carbon credits.

Khwezi Innovations

Khwezi Innovations Logo.jpg

Khwezi Innovations is developing a biodegradable, 2-in-1, glove-like hand sanitizer, that stays effective for an hour. The glove is peelable and dissolves in water within a few minutes, living no waste behind.


YouMeta Logo Design-01.png

Adaptation can only take place if we have the human capital to do so. YouMeta is incentivising youth to develop a green occupational identity. By providing digitised and dynamic jobshadowing experiences, we actively track, reward and advance the educational progress of all users.


e-HHiKe Logo.png

e-HHiKe is a closed-community mobility platform efficiently and autonomously connecting riders and drivers traveling from similar locations to similar destinations. Our platform encourages and promotes sustainable travel by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, number of vehicles on the road, fuel consumption as well as generates personalised analytics on individual carbon footprint contributions.

Meet the team

Tyler Ferdinand

Tyler Ferdinand 
BFA Global Lead

Julian Rodriguez.png

Julian Rodriguez Beltran
Project Support

Nelly Ramirez.jpg
Ali Schimdt-Fellner.jpeg

Ali Schmidt-Fellner
Mastercard CIG Lead

Carmen Merab BFA Headshot Indoor Hi Res (1).jpg

Carmen Merab
Media & Communications

Leana Kotze.jpg

Nelly Ramirez Moncada
Project Support

Leana Kotze
Media & Communications

This Climathon is organized by the CIFAR Alliance, BFA Global, and Mastercard's Center for Inclusive Growth

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Terms and Conditions of Participating at Climathon Cape Town

All Climathon participants grant the Climathon Cape Town Organizer, its subsidiaries, agents and partner companies, a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, adapt, modify, publish, distribute, publicly perform, create a derivative work from, and publicly display the submission. Of course, all participants maintain the ownership and property rights of the work that they created during Climathon (e.g. source code).

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