Climate Response Accelerator

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The Climate Response Accelerator is a 12-week programme designed to help impact-focused entrepreneurs solve some of our planet’s most urgent challenges. Selected teams from around Aotearoa, New Zealand will be provided with equity-free funding, mentorship and the tools and resources to help you advance at each stage of your growth. You’ll be joining an amazing community of globally-minded changemakers, from tenacious startup founders to board level executives who will provide connections, expertise and support during and after the programme.

The Climate Response Accelerator is a Carbon Positive Accelerator.

Key dates


31 Mar 


23 May


24 Jun 


16 Sep

Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua.

As man disappears from sight, the land remains.

We are all interconnected with Te Taiao and have a responsibility to not only preserve it, but to leave it better for future generations.

We respectfully acknowledge the first people of Aotearoa, tangata Māori, and their intergenerational mātauranga. In this programme, all participants will strive to live the following principles:

Guardianship. Te Taiao relies on us just as much as we rely on it. Our goal during the programme is to build current and future innovators that responsibly care for Te Taiao.

Altruism and compassion. It’s more than just gathering people together under a programme, it’s also about acknowledging the mana of others through hospitality, generosity and mutual respect.

Connections and relationships. We can’t address some of the environment’s most pressing challenges without bringing together people and fostering relationships from different whakapapa and communities.

Humility. One of the most important principles of leadership. We are looking for founders who enable others and who work hard without self-promotion.


Applications reviewed on an ongoing basis from May 16. Don't wait until the last minute to apply!

Climate response accelerator logo

 A fundamental transformation is needed across three socio-economic systems: food, land and ocean use; infrastructure and the built environment; and energy and extractives.

World Economic Forum

Who should apply?

We envision a thriving, climate-resilient and low-emissions world for the generations to come. If you’re in the business of making that vision a reality, we’d like to hear from you.

Selected startups will have proven market validation and the potential for global impact. While this is an in-person programme, taking place at the Creative HQ Innovation Hub in Wellington, there is the possibility of participating virtually for teams who simply cannot relocate. Funds will be provided to assist teams, including with relocation and travel.



The programme will be held at Creative HQ in Wellington, New Zealand. However, we understand that not everyone can relocate due to a wide range of reasons. Whilst we strongly recommend that teams participate in person, we will be offering a virtual track for those unable to do so. Virtual teams will still be expected to be full-time on their project and to come in person at certain parts during the programme.

While we strongly encourage at least one founder to participate in Wellington, exceptions can be made. Don’t let that be a barrier to applying. We will be offering a virtual track to promising teams who, for obvious reasons, can’t be full-time in Wellington.

Teams are expected to be full time on their venture. Equity-free funding will be provided to ensure that this is feasible. 

Maybe this is the opportunity you need!

While we strongly believe that companies should have at least two founders, we still encourage you to apply. The programme is tailored to the needs of the teams that are admitted. Maybe we can help you build a team?

Each team will receive $20,000 equity-free. In addition to this, there will be opportunities throughout the programme to pitch for further investment from the investor community.

Interested founders must first fill out our application form. Shortlisted teams will then be invited to a Selection Day in Wellington on May 27th. Teams will not only pitch, but participate in a series of activities and workshops with a panel of mentors, experts and the CHQ Startup team to help assess viability. 

Our goal is to bring 8 teams into the Accelerator. While this is our target, the final number may vary.

Teams will be assessed based on their existing market validation, their coachability, team fit, and impact and growth potential.

We welcome teams to apply that are at scale-up stage, but it will still be important to have founders involved in the programme.

While we are open to all types of startups that can make our vision of a thriving, climate-resilient and low-emissions world a reality, we are particularly interested in the following broad categories: Energy, Water and Waste.

Energy: Low-carbon-energy solutions that create, improve and enable alternative fuels, critical resources, electric vehicles, energy efficiency, energy storage and renewable energy. 

Water: Solutions that solve critical water problems for industries such as manufacturing, construction and agriculture, ranging from better monitoring and visualisation to treatment and pollutant reduction.

Waste: Solutions that explore circular economy and opportunities such as intelligent product design, waste to value, increased asset use, improved ease of reuse, replacement of oil-based materials and radical waste reduction in processes.

Let's chat.

Thinking about applying, but still have some questions? Book some time to talk with Ben or Ash to ask any questions that you have that weren't covered in the FAQs.

Ashleigh McMillan-Parata

Ashleigh McMillan-Parata
Startup Recruitment & Selection

Ben Hamm Connard Startup manager Creative HQ

Ben Hamm Conard
Startup Programme Manager

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