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Cleantech Cluster Update – Squamish Roundtable

Squamish, BC – Hardwired for Adventure

Squamish, BC is not only the gateway to world class skiing and rock climbing, it is a thriving industrial hub with an educated and young workforce. (The average age of a resident is 37.5 years old).

Opportunities for growth and expansion in cleantech was the focus of a recent roundtable event held in Squamish on Oct 10, 2019.   

Areas of Interest

Industries and areas of interest for the region include:

  • Value Added Forestry,  use of biomass and wood waste in particular is an emergent area where there are significant opportunities. Given that the forestry industry has a strong presence in the region, this was seen as a logical use of wood waste.

  • Green building/construction is seen as a potential area of strength underpinned by the availability of industrial space and transportation linkages.

  • Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage. Carbon Engineering, in attendance at the event, are seen as key innovators and industry leaders, and have established their head office in Squamish and are attracting talent to the region. 

Moving the discussion forward will hinge on creating a green economy  based action plan for the region, which the District of Squamish is currently consulting on. This includes  interviewing and bringing stakeholders including government and First Nations communities together with key industry (think wood waste, marine and municipal) to discuss land use planning and logistics, setting goals and defining actions that responds to the need to a green economy. 

Squamish is in an environmentally sensitive location, and the principles of a circular economy principles are important in the region. By establishing linkages between Industry, Government and Universities (through partnerships and programs), they will be in a better position to achieve a green economy.   

Driving the Opportunity Narrative

Telling the story of the industry opportunities and the network of cleantech innovations in the region will be important to any initiatives going forward. A communications strategy will be key to support industry driven activity – helping ‘pitch’ the problem to be solved and paint the vision of the goal they want to achieve. 

Growing the green economy  in the region is an adventure that Squamish industry leaders are ready to take on. 

And why not? They are hardwired for it … 

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Using the best practices of cluster-based economic development, the BC Cleantech Cluster Initiative is bringing together key stakeholders groups including small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), associations, industry, investors and Federal and Provincial government to put in motion a sustainable model to help advance British Columbia’s thriving cleantech sector.  For more information: https://foresightcac.com/cluster/

About the Author

Catriona Power
Director of Partnerships & Strategy,
Foresight Cleantech Accelerator
Twitter:  @catrionapower
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/catrionapower/

Catriona is the Director of Partnerships and Strategy for Foresight Cleantech Accelerator, taking a lead on delivering high profile programs around cluster development, partnerships, collaboration and communications.

Catriona has worked at the intersection of business, sustainability and technology for the last nine years with organizations in Canada, UK, Europe and India, and has an MA Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex, UK and a BSc International Development from University College Cork, Ireland.