Venture Grants for Innovative Solutions That Address Climate Change


The Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, in conjunction with the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), is excited to provide dedicated support for climate change/sustainability-focused ventures. These early-stage venture grants are for undergraduate and graduate students interested in developing entrepreneurial solutions to environmental problems and come with dedicated advising along with funding.


While we encourage innovative solutions to any and all problems at the nexus of environment and society, we are particularly interested in solutions-based enterprises that tackle problems of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, agricultural solutions to feeding a growing population more sustainably, and coastal resource management. We are looking for individuals or teams that possess an understanding of these core problems and we hope to stimulate solutions-based ventures that promote a healthier, more sustainable future society.

Students are encouraged to apply for these funds through the Nelson Center’s Explore and Expand Grants in UFunds. These grants serve the Brown community by encouraging undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs to turn their environmental impact ideas into new ventures. The grant funding is consistent with the Nelson Center’s core methodology for venture creation. Early-stage Explore grants (up to $250) are designed to help students find and validate an “unmet need,” while later stage Expand grants (up to $2,500) help them develop a value proposition that addresses that unmet need, or in some cases even begin to scale the venture with a sound business or sustainability model.

Teams applying for Explore or Expand grants need not be for-profit or purely commercial in nature. In fact, the Nelson Center is agnostic in this regard and believes that the tools of entrepreneurship can be applied to a wide variety of challenges. Our primary objective is to help teams that are trying to create “impact at scale.”

If you have an idea or questions regarding your business plan or sustainability model, please schedule an appointment with Jonas Clark, Associate Director of the Nelson Center at, or visit his office hours on Tuesdays, 9:00 – 11:00 AM. If you have questions pertaining to your environment impact idea, email Stephen Porder, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Environment and Society at