Net-zero innovation network to boost clean-tech in B.C.

A new business innovation network is launching on the West Coast, aimed at helping British Columbia transition to a clean, net-zero economy.

Foresight Canada, with $2.3 million in support from the province and $5.2 million from Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan), is creating the BC Net Zero Innovation Network (BCNZIN) to support clean-tech innovators and adopters to compete, attract investment and talent, and help them grow faster while bringing their products to market.

Foresight Canada is a countrywide non-profit headquartered in Vancouver, working with innovators, industry, investors, government and academia to address climate issues and support a global transition to a green economy.

PacifiCan is the Government of Canada’s new economic development agency dedicated to British Columbia. It promotes growth and diversification in B.C.’s economy by enhancing innovation, improving business competitiveness, and promoting inclusive growth.

The network will create initial clusters in the water, bio-economy and mining sectors, with a fourth expected to be announced this spring. The goal of the cluster approach is to help clean-tech entrepreneurs and scientists create world-changing technologies and bring them to market.

“A sustainable, clean economy for our future is a priority for all British Columbians, and developing and launching the necessary technology is essential for businesses, researchers and innovators,” said Adam Walker, BC’s parliamentary secretary for the sustainable economy.

“To tackle this, Foresight’s Net Zero Innovation Network will help support the adoption and growth of clean tech in B.C. This will help to meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets, drive economic growth, and enhance industrial competitiveness, expanding B.C.’s position as a global leader in clean energy technology.”

The network will also advance regional economic growth opportunities, and reduce the risk of investment decisions that support net-zero and environmental goals at the provincial and federal levels.

This builds on a 2019 project for which Foresight received $66,250 from the provincial and federal governments to create a six-month Cleantech Cluster Initiative. A final report released in June 2020 recommended the development of a new clean-tech cluster organization with focuses on water, mining and agriculture alongside energy, transportation and forestry.

“Foresight Canada is thrilled to launch the BC Net Zero Innovation Network (BCNZIN), made possible through funding contributions from PacifiCan, the Province of British Columbia, and other partners,” said Jeanette Jackson, chief executive officer, Foresight Canada.

“This project will take clean-tech innovation in British Columbia to the next level, allowing climate ventures and industry leaders from key sectors across the province to develop and scale critical climate solutions that attract capital, generate green jobs, drive exports and accelerate domestic industry sustainability. Initiatives like this will significantly accelerate Canada’s transition to a net-zero economy, and Foresight is excited to demonstrate this model in B.C.”