In B.C.’s cleantech sector, approximately 200 firms employ over 6,000 people, and generate revenue on the order of $1.7 billion.1
Developments in cleantech in British Columbia include the establishment of the unique cleantech accelerator, Foresight, and the oil and gas cleantech fund and accelerator, Evok Innovations, both of which have the aim of coalescing B.C.’s technical and business capabilities to create companies that profitably develop cleantech solutions that reduce the environmental footprint and costs of key industries, and makes the world a better, cleaner place.
Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre
While often associated with alternate forms of energy, cleantech encompasses a number of applications that span across many sectors, yielding benefits from increased energy efficiency to improved use of waste materials.
Foresight was established in 2013 and joined the BC Innovation Council’s BC Acceleration Network. In its Venture Acceleration Program, multiple executives-in-residence, and a network of cleantech business mentors focus on helping companies perform customer discovery and business model development around a strong value proposition, without which a company’s technology is unlikely to succeed in the marketplace.
To get companies to commercialization, Foresight has a program with the Business Development Bank of Canada that provides $250,000 in financing to promising early stage companies provided it is matched by at least the same in private investment.
One of the accelerator’s companies, Dark Vision, with its downhole imaging technology, has received this investment to take its projects to market.
Evok Innovations Cleantech Accelerator
Given the massive amount of oil, gas, and technical expertise that exist in British Columbia and Alberta, there is a great opportunity to create partnerships between the two provinces and combine capabilities to enhance the industry and create profitable businesses.
Cleantech innovations that address environmental challenges and reduce costs in the oil and gas value chain have tremendous potential.
To help realize this potential, Evok Innovations, a non-profit Vancouverbased $100-million cleantech oil and gas fund and accelerator, has been created. The leadership team and advisory group includes some of the largest and most renowned organizations in B.C.’s cleantech industry. Through Evok Innovations, there is an opportunity to build companies and a greater economic and environmental partnership between British Columbia and Alberta.
Evok Innovations will finance and accelerate solutions in the industry by focusing on early stage, innovative companies that address carbon, environment, and costcompetitiveness challenges. The fund supports innovation such as greenhouse gas reduction and recovery, water treatment, and new clean energy products.
The accelerator also represents a partnership among leading Western Canadian oil and gas companies and the B.C. Cleantech CEO Alliance, and strives to leverage the oil and gas resources and B.C.’s technology expertise to advance innovation and adoption that progresses the industry, the economy, and the environment, attracting the brightest innovators to focus on Western Canada’s oil and gas challenges while creating new cleantech companies and long term technology jobs.
In addition to being a source of funding, Evok Innovations’ accelerator provides a global network of mentors, venture capital sources, and direct access to a customer base in Canada’s oil and gas sector. Solutions created here can be exported to solve similar problems throughout the world.
By applying Evok Innovations-funded cleantech solutions to current problems in the oil and gas industry, British Columbia can bolster its place as a world-class hub for clean technology innovation, and Alberta has the opportunity to build its oil and gas sector’s competitiveness.