B.C. government announces new investment in local cleantech industry

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      It’s easy to underestimate how big B.C.’s cleantech industry really is. A hub for everything from renewable energy sources to waste management, Vancouver and Victoria boast local businesses that not only contribute to saving the planet, but create a huge amount of money for the province. Numbering more than 270 companies, the sector brings in $2.9 billion to B.C. every year.

      That financial contribution has not gone unnoticed by the provincial government. Recognizing the importance of growing the industry, the legislature last year pledged $1 million to fund local green-focused startups. Now, it’s announced that it will devote an additional $711,000 over the next three years to B.C. cleantech companies.

      The money will be administered by local non-profit group Alacrity. An established investor, the company aims to facilitate economic growth in the local tech ecosystem by providing support and mentorship. Through its Cleantch Scale-Up program and other initiatives, the group’s portfolio has brought in $300 million to the two cities.  

      “B.C.’s globally recognized innovation in clean technology is a promising area for growth and investment, and it’s also an area that’s working toward protecting us against the intensifying effects of climate change,” says Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “By supporting Alacrity’s B.C. Cleantech Scale-Up program, cleantech companies that are ready for growth will get the mentorship they need to grow, create new jobs and become profitable businesses that are working toward a more sustainable planet.”

      A well as the B.C. government’s contribution, Alacrity aims to generate an additional $20 million in direct foreign investment for local clean energy companies over the next three years.

      “With the support of the province and its funding partners, the Alacrity Foundation of B.C. will be able to provide cleantech companies a number of services they need to be competitive at home and abroad,” said Owen Matthews, chairman of Alacrity Canada. “Alacrity will help connect companies in the cleantech industry to customers and investors, bringing B.C. innovation to the global marketplace and contributing to a cleaner environment for future generations.”

      The investment comes at a good time. Many of the province’s green-focused companies—including those working on creating hydrogen fuel cells, turning waste water into fertilizer, and building engines that run on natural gas—are nearly ready to launch their products in the marketplace. With a final push of support, it’s hoped they can successfully send their technology across the world.

      Follow Kate Wilson on Twitter @KateWilsonSays