Future Technologies for Water Competition

The Future Technologies for Water Competition (FTW) aims to identify breakthrough technologies for safe water with a sustainable business plan with wide-scale applicability. The first-place winner will receive $15,000, and the second place winner will receive $5,000. The competition is managed by the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and sponsored by Takata Corporation.

The Water Institute’s mission is to provide global academic leadership for economically, environmentally, socially and technically sustainable management of water, sanitation and hygiene for equitable health and human development and to be a vibrant, interdisciplinary center that unites faculty, students and partners from North Carolina and across developed and developing nations.

To fulfill this mission, the Water Institute is committed to further innovation in sustainable water technologies.

Takata Corporation is dedicated to protecting human life. With 55 plants in 20 countries, the company began by developing seat belts and continues to develop the newest safety technology and make it available globally, with a goal of reducing traffic fatalities to zero. With its commitment to safety and human life, Takata is sponsoring this competition by awarding prize money totaling $20,000 USD.

Eligibility Criteria


Applications may be submitted by an individual or by a team. A team is defined as a group of two or more people. At least one person on the team must be a founding member of the idea/venture and cannot be a token team member added to gain eligibility for the competition. This generally means the founding member has at least 25% ownership of the venture. An individual may not compete on two teams.
No faculty or staff teaching or working in the field of entrepreneurship at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School or Environmental Sciences and Engineering at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health may compete in the Competition. No member of any team may be employed by Takata, directly related to a Takata employee, or is already involved in Takata’s incubators.

Stage of Venture

This competition seeks to foster the development of viable ideas into sustainable, impactful ventures. In general, ventures which are already well-established are not eligible to compete although they are urged to consult with the Competition’s organizers to determine their eligibility to participate.
Generally, to be eligible, a venture:
  • Cannot have raised more than $10,000 in seed funding or “equity financing” other than from founding members. This does not include grant funding or prize money from other competitions.
  • Should have fewer than 10 paying customers and less than $25,000 in booked revenue.
  • Cannot have been operating for more than 12 months.
Exceptions may include:
  • A startup that is based on scientific research that has taken years to develop.
  • Ideas that have been in existence for longer, but had a period of inactivity or are changing dramatically.
  • Ventures that have revenues but are changing business models.

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