Earlier this month, Foresight’s analytics team revealed a massive milestone. Since 2017, Foresight-supported cleantech ventures have raised over $1 billion dollars in capital support. This major achievement shows the strength of Canada’s cleantech sector, and the opportunity for Canadian leadership on a global cleantech stage.
But what does $1 billion mean? What does it look like, and what are the impacts for Canada as we charge towards net zero? To answer that question, we spoke to several Foresight team members to get their take.
The Big Picture, with Jeanette Jackson, CEO
The transition to net zero requires significant capital expertise to launch, commercialize, and scale the solutions we need to achieve this ambitious target. Since 2017, Foresight’s flagship Acceleration programs have helped over 845 companies launch, validate and commercialize problem-market data driven solutions, as well as supported over 100 large corporates in the path to procure solutions that have the right business model and impact to achieve their goals.
Securing investments, especially at the early stage, is a major barrier facing many Canadian cleantech entrepreneurs, and a challenge we have to overcome if we are to position Canada as a long term leader in supplying solutions to the global transition. To see our alumni companies raise a collective $1 billion in capital reassures me that we are on track to do just that. Now we are on the path to support the next generation of cleantech entrepreneurs secure the next $1 billion in capital.
We are thrilled to hit this milestone, and excited to see what our innovator network can do going forward. This represents not only an important goal reached for us, but for all of Canada, as we progress towards a net zero future.
How We Got Here, with Stephen Wilson, VP Acceleration
If Canada is going to reach net zero by 2050, we must support companies to pilot, commercialize, and scale. Foresight is constantly re-developing and expanding our program offerings to better support the companies that will bring us to a net zero economy.
The Launch and Deliver streams of our Accelerator programming laid the foundation of success for many Canadian ventures, and we have since built on that program. In November, 2021, we launched Pilot, the stream designed to help companies actively looking for their first customers. We now offer Investor Readiness Workshops to educate our ventures on how to prepare and pitch their solutions to investors, and matchmaking events that facilitate connections and often result in partnerships, pilot opportunities, and the deployment of capital.
Over the past three years, we have hosted countless networking events, Industry Challenges, and investor matchmaking opportunities, all to support the growth and scaling of our ventures, enabling our network to reach this $1 billion milestone.
The Ripple Effect, with David Sanguinetti, VP Technology Adoption
The $1 billion milestone will have a tremendous impact on Canada’s cleantech ecosystem and economy. Capital of that magnitude allows companies to scale quickly, which means more green jobs for Canadians that will fuel the green economy transition.
When we surveyed Canadian cleantech companies in 2021, the number one barrier identified by entrepreneurs was access to capital. Investments like the ones that have added up to $1 billion are accelerating the commercialization and scaling of new technologies. Once these technologies are deployed, they can demonstrate value to new investors and clients, creating a cycle of increasing support for the cleantech ecosystem. As it grows, it gains momentum, which advances us along the path to positioning Canada as a global leader and exporter of cleantech solutions.
Attracting Capital to Cleantech, with Lesley MacKinnon, Director, Investor & Indigenous Relations
Knowing that one of the major barriers cleantech entrepreneurs face is access to capital, Foresight has invested heavily in developing strategies, initiatives, and programs to address that very issue. Over the last three years, Foresight has developed meaningful connections with investors offering early-to-late stage capital support to cleantech ventures. Initiatives like Foresight 50, Demo Day, and investor matchmaking events help our cleantech ventures to gain exposure and vital investment to commercialize their innovation.
Our goal is to see this $1 billion figure doubled in the next two years through more strategic investor relationships and support for our ventures.
Investments are Paying Dividends for Canadian Cleantech
2021 was a record setting year for cleantech investment in Canada, and those investments are paying off.
The cleantech sector in Canada has seen growth and rising employment demand as more industries look to technology to help meet emissions reduction targets. Canada has the talent, support, and dedication to establish ourselves as a market leader, and to make our net zero future a reality.
We’ve come so far in building a green future, and we still have a long way to go. Hitting this milestone instills in us a sense of confidence that we can get there.
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