Foresight Cleantech Highlights – April 2016

Foresight Cleantech Highlights – April 2016

For the latest news on cleantech policy, financing and resources…as well as what’s happening at Foresight

I’ve often heard the cleantech community described as, “a loose affiliation of secret handshakes.”

We like to think of Foresight as the connective tissue between many of the key players in that community: entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, funders, and government. And we don’t want any of you to miss a thing. So, at what feels like an incredibly exciting time for cleantech – a time when it’s being discussed as part of the solution to our environmental and economic challenges – we are pleased to bring you the first edition of Foresight Cleantech Highlights.

Each month, we’ll highlight the most significant cleantech news coming out of Canada and the provinces. We’ll include links to interesting articles that we come across. We’ll also keep you posted on what’s happening and what we’re hearing at Foresight, because some of that information might help you to connect the dots or identify new and emerging opportunities.



  • The federal budget, released in March, supports the federal government’s “Innovation Agenda,” which is about creating the kind of environment and conditions for Canadian firms to thrive and compete in a changing – and increasingly low-carbon – global economy.
    • The budget earmarks more than $1 billion over four years to support future clean technology investments, including in the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture sectors. This includes $800m being directed over four years to innovation networks and clusters, such as Foresight.
  • The 2016 Cleantech Directions report, published by and Cleantech Canada, includes the results of a survey of 500 cleantech companies, who identified opportunities, challenges, and keys to success. The report advises that finding a market – primarily through offering a solution to an entrenched problem and savings companies money – is paramount, which is consistent with Foresight’s experience.




  • Two Foresight companies, Recycle Now! and Acura, recently secured a financing under Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Capital’s Note Program with Foresight
    • How does the Note Program work? BDC provides $250k to the selected firm/s, and this amount is matched dollar for dollar by the private sector so that each firm secures $500k of financing at minimum. Foresight recommends our top companies to BDC Capital so they are pre-vetted before BDC evaluates them.
  • We recently hosted a pitch session with BDC Capital for an additional five Foresight companies.


  • New ARCTIC challenge announced in the forestry sector: At the GLOBE Conference in Vancouver in March, Foresight and FPInnovations announced the first-ever ARCTIC challenge in the forestry sector, which will elicit proposals from cleantech innovators on solutions to current environmental challenges in the sector. A potential challenge could focus on remote sensing solutions for conducting forest inventories, which could result in savings of up to $100 million/year. We look forward to sharing more information in future posts.
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), City of Surrey and Foresight collaborate on waste diversion challenge: As part of KPU and Foresight’s series of challenge dialogues, KPU students have developed a potential solution for the City of Surrey’s waste diversion issue, i.e. the large amount of food waste/organics that is not being deposited in the city’s compost bins. Students are now in the process of developing a prototype of their solution and the City of Surrey is preparing to trial it in several residential buildings. Find out more in an upcoming Foresight blog.
  • Market validation training provided to new Foresight companies: Foresight is currently rolling out the spring session of our market validation training, which provides information to our companies about the customer discovery process, value proposition, business model canvas, etc. The training is facilitated by BCIC’s Dean Prelazzi and takes three days over the course of 2.5 – 3 months. For more information, contact us.


  • Foresight and Kinetica Ventures sign an MoU to encourage cleantech collaboration between BC and Alberta: Foresight and Kinetica Ventures, a division of Innovate Calgary, recently signed an MoU on supporting clean technology and alternative energy companies in BC and Alberta. We believe it’s important for accelerators and incubators to collaborate, each bringing their own resources and networks to bear in helping to support early-stage companies. The partnership with Kinetica Ventures will hopefully make it easier for energy-related start-ups to work together across borders, and is an important step in kick starting BC-Alberta collaboration on cleantech.
  • Foresight companies, Neurio (graduate) and SunPump Solar (current), presented at the Canadian Financing Forum.
  • Foresight @GLOBE 2016 Conference and Expo: Foresight was a sponsor of the Powerhaus Pavilion, and we were joined by seven of our current and/or graduate companies. We also hosted an event showcasing our ARCTIC program and featuring a number of impressive speakers, including Jonathan Wilkinson, MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Minister McKenna and Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.
  • Foresight and Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) @SFU: Foresight was asked by WD to host an information session at SFU on the WINN program, which provides loans to public companies for commercialization purposes. The session featured presentations by WD’s Director General of Operations, Naina Sloan; SDTC’s Regional Director, Paul Austin; Greentech Exchange co-founder, Elmer Sum; and Foresight Managing Director, Neil Huff.