Innovation Challenge

Every year the Offshore Wind Innovators launches a new edition of the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge. Leading companies can formulate an offshore wind challenge. Start-ups and small businesses companies can submit their solution.

Reefy, the winners of the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge 2020

The offshore wind industry faces a unique challenge. To construct one of the largest infrastructural developments in Dutch history. To make offshore wind even more affordable, reliable, and sustainable, game-changing innovations are necessary. These innovations will give offshore wind the best position in the energy system, both in the Netherlands and internationally. Billions of euros will be invested in offshore wind. This creates huge business opportunities for companies pioneering the offshore wind industry. Therefore, we ask leading companies in the offshore wind sector to submit their current challenges via this Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge.

The goal of the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge is to accelerate the innovation process by facilitating the cooperation between the offshore wind energy industry and students, start-ups and small-medium enterprises, and to offer you a potential launching customer and run a pilot. The Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge make offshore wind more affordable, reliable, and sustainable, and giving offshore wind the best position in the energy system for the Netherlands and internationally.

When you apply and get selected, you will join and present your concept during the 'pitch and ask session'. During the competition process and the boot camp, you receive expert support from our business partners. The partner, in cooperation with the organising party, will then check the technical and commercial viability. The finalists will pitch their developed concept to their business partners during the finals.

Find out more about the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge in 2020

What’s in it for partners?

  • Save time and money on a time-consuming process of problem solving and innovation;
  • Access to a broad network: 140+ innovative SME’s, start-ups and research institutes active in the offshore sector to help you to provide innovative solutions;
  • Insights in new technologies and possibilities for your business;
  • New innovations: that are commercially viable and technically feasible;
  • Positive exposure: for new business, clients and collaborations with start-ups outside your current scope.

Call for technical challenges

What’s in it for innovators?

  • Expert Coaching; and steering from the leading offshore wind business partners during the 'pitch & ask and boot camp;
  • Technical and Feasibility check: After the bootcamp your solution will be checked for technical and commercial implementation by experts;
  • Possible Launching Customer; by demonstrating your innovative concept or solution and run a pilot, you get direct access to offshore wind industry partners;
  • Publicity Support; we support you by raising awareness of your innovations and technology within the offshore wind sector, starting with press articles in our network and Offshore Wind Media channels;
  • Test opportunity; The winners can win an opportunity to test their solutions if this is offered by the business partner.

Some examples of previous editions:

  • The Rich North Sea joined the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge as a partner during the fourth edition in 2020. Winner Reefy will get to install their Biodegradable Reefstructure during a test pilot in The North Sea in 2021. Find out more
  • Winner of 2019: The Big Bubble Curtain. A solution to reduce noise emissions during pile driving, and the success story of innovator Marine Performance Systems. Currently, it is a research project officially taken into business with the partner from that challenge: Van Oord. Find out more
  • The second winner of 2019 created new reefs for North Sea offshore wind farms, which have been fully installed in the North Sea in 2020. Both partner The Rich North Sea, and innovator ARC Marine are very excited about this innovation to really improve biodiversity in the North Sea. Find out more
  • Winner of 2018: Ridderflex made an innovative design to realize "The Perfect Fender" for SeaZip. Find out more

These success stories have been achieved by focusing on solutions and innovations that are commercially viable and technically feasible. The ongoing success stories of the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge brings us to launch the fifth edition this year.

Challenge Set-Up and timeline


 March and April

Competition opens

 25th of May

Submission for Applications  

 before August

Phase 1: Pitch and Ask

 25th of August 

Phase 2: Bootcamp

 14th of October

Technical Check


Phase 3: Finals

 25th of November



Offshore Wind Innovators Business Partners will be contacted and asked to present a challenge in need of an innovative solution. These challenges will be part of an invitation letter to innovative entrepreneurs of our Community. Planning: March and April.

Competition opens

The challenges from leading Business Partners will be published and we will start the search of solutions providers like start-ups and SME’s, companies in- and outside the offshore wind industry. Planning: 25th of May.

Submission for Applications

Entrepreneurs can submit their proposals in a fixed format, including the rules of the game. The next step is a fit for purpose scan in order to continue as a participant. Planning: before August.

Phase 1: Pitch and Ask session

Each participant gets the possibility to present his vision on a preferred topic to the Business Partner. Out of these presentations, the Business Partner who addressed the specific topic will select a maximum of 3 participants per topic to go to the Bootcamp. Planning: 25th of August.

Phase 2: Bootcamp

During the bootcamp the selected participants will be supported by the business partners and offshore energy experts. They will facilitate a training program and workshops in innovation and out-of-the-box solutions, and how to present them on stage. After having pitched their idea to a jury including their Business partner, a maximum of 3 participants per topic will be selected. Planning: 14th of October

Technical Check

Each participant needs to make their technical information available to the Business Partner for a technical and commercial Due Diligence. If the proposed solution passes this check, the participant will be invited to the final event. Planning: October.

Phase 3: Finals

During the finals, all sponsors and the top of the offshore wind industry will be invited to see the presentations. The innovators will have the opportunity to present their ideas in a 10 minutes pitch for the public and a jury during the Finals. At the end of the event, the jury will select one winner. Planning: 25th of November.

There can be multiple challenges, but only one overall winner is selected by the jury. However, other innovators and sponsors that are satisfied with the ‘losing’ innovations are encouraged to exchange contacts, start cooperation and further development of the innovation product.

Offshore Wind Innovators Network and it’s challenge

Offshore Wind Innovators is a community for companies pioneering the Offshore Wind Industry. It is our goal to give insight into the business- and innovation ecosystem of the industry and it offers practical solutions to the business challenges that pioneering companies face. We help to introduce SMEs to a strong innovation network and develop products to help fund and market new products and ideas.

The Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge facilitates opportunities, new partnerships, expert assistance, and increases publicity for all involved stakeholders. By supporting mutual networking and offering access to those networks, lots of publicity opportunities arise to innovative ideas and companies. The result is that the challenges are widely known in the offshore wind industry.

It is a perfect platform to bring companies and ideas together and create a positive effect on the growing Dutch offshore wind sector. If you are in search of accelerating innovation in your company and fast-forward solutions to current challenges, the Offshore Wind Innovation Challenge is the way to bring results.  

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