Petra Environmental Research & Startup Challenge

The Call

Petra Resources and TRIBE have jointly launched an environmental research and startup challenge to inspire increased interest in the environment and discover new solutions that address the environmental problems in Liberia. It also supports environmental entrepreneurs building ventures through training, mentorship, sectoral exposure and a grant of US$ 1,000. The Research and Startup Challenge is organized under Petra Pay It Forward Initiative. 

We are calling on students, environmentalists, scientists and entrepreneurs to apply for the Research and Startup Challenge. Applicants can send proposed solutions or concepts addressing a wide range of environmental issues from climate change, waste management, energy, and pollution, among others. 


Petraā€™s Pay It Forward Initiative is designed to promote and champion a new generation of thinkers in Liberiaā€™s environmental and natural resources sectors. This strengthens the company’s commitment to providing top-notch services to its clients; investing and ensuring young environmental practitioners create and sustain pragmatic solutions in the private sector. 

TRIBE is deeply committed to cultivating and using entrepreneurship to drive structural change in Liberia.

The startup challenge is relevant to young entrepreneurs in the short- and long-term for five reasons:

  1. Sectoral exposure and innovation. Environmental entrepreneurs will be exposed to the sector and inspired to create and sustain vibrant environmental ventures.
  1. Entrepreneurial development. The initiative will support entrepreneurs to think more formally about their business models and customers and help them rethink/restructure their existing business, sales, and revenue models beyond their current stages.
  1. Exposure to opportunities, knowledge, and information. The initiative will ensure young entrepreneurs are exposed to information,  knowledge, and access to a network of opportunities for business and sales growth.  
  1. Capital. The winning entrepreneur will receive a non-equity and non-payable grant to subsidize their operational cost and reduce their immediate financial burden. 
  1. Capacity. Young entrepreneursā€™ capacity will be developed through skills building training focused on formalizing their marketing and building a more strategic sales and marketing approach.


The main activities of the pilot event are:

  1. Training
  1. Mentorship
  1. Investment presentations
  1. Professional networking


The application process has two stages:

Stage 1. Interested candidates will submit a 90-second video application and complete a short application form. 50% of theĀ applicants will be selected for stage two. The video application should highlight the following:

  1. The environmental problem the entrepreneur/researcher is concerned about.
  2. The “why” behind the environmental problem (make reference to research, data or previous work).
  3. The proposed solution

Stage 2. Selected applicants from stage one will go through a technical and business assessment and ten applicants will be qualified as semi-finalists.  All ten semi-finalists will go through a five-day training and participate in an additional business and technical evaluation to assess their scientific idea and business models. Five applicants will be selected to participate in the final pitch event on the evening of August 12, 2022.

Selected candidates will participate in a five-day pitch development, rehearsals and demo presentations from August 1, 2022 to August 6, 2022.

Selection Criteria

Entrepreneurs and environmentalists applying for the startup challenge must meet at least three of the following criteria: 

  1. Have knowledge of the environmental sector or an appreciable understanding of the scientific idea or project impact on the environment.
  1. Have experience running a business or working in the entrepreneurial or environmental ecosystem.
  1. College students with proof of study at a recognized college or university.
  1. Have a team of at least two people or propose a team that will commit to the project.

Applicants can apply in either of the following categories: 

  1. Idea ready to be piloted. Applicants applying through this category should have a scientific research or idea ready to be a pilot with a team committed to its execution. The team must present a proposal or concept with sufficient evidence to prove the concept or create a new product or solution that they will validate.
  1. Proof of Concept. Applicants with proof of concept must have piloted an idea and gathered sufficient evidence to receive funding for further execution. The proof of concept must lead to validation of a new product, service or concept. 
  1. Current / ongoing venture. Applicants with current/ongoing ventures must present a new business model for a product or service they intend to pilot and validate, or a current business model they plan to scale with additional funding.

Prizes and Benefits

Five entrepreneurs will be invited to the pitch event. Below are benefits for the winner and fellow competitors:

  1. First Winner
  • Cash Prize: 850 USD 
  • One-on-one meeting with a business executive / diplomat
  • One-time social media promotion on all partnersā€™ social media pages
  • Airtime on a recognized talk show
  1. Student Innovation Prize
  • Cash Prize: 150 USD
  • One-on-one meeting with a business executive / diplomat
  • One-time social media promotion on all partnersā€™ social media pages
  • Airtime on a recognized talk show
  1. All Semi-Finalists
  • Become a member of Petra Pay It Forward Innovators Network: A community of innovators connected to learn and grow together. 
  • One-time social media promotion on all partnersā€™ social media pages.
  • Quarterly follow-up with TRIBE and Petra Resources on business development efforts or ideas formation.         


  • Application launch – June 28, 2022
  • Info session for the first stage  – July 1, 2022
  • Stage one review and selection – July 1- 10, 2022
  • Stage two review and selection – July 17-18, 2022
  • Info session for the second stage – July 19, 2022
  • Second stage application review and selection – July 22, 2022
  • On-boarding and prep – July 22 – 29, 2022
  • Mentorship and Training – August 1- 6
  • Pitching  Event – August 12, 2022

Apply Now!

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