One of the exciting things about the growing cleantech sector in British Columbia is the level of interest in the sector and the scope and strength of the leadership driving it.

The Cleantech Cluster project team at Foresight has been busy the last few months with events, meetings, project planning and preliminary research (summarized in our recent update), but one thing we’re particularly excited about is our Advisory Group.

The BC Cleantech Cluster Advisory group is a selection of 15 leaders from across the province (from business, investment, associations and government) who are advising the project team as we move forward. It also includes representatives from all of the project’s funding partners (Western Economic Diversification CanadaProvince of BCVancity),  and has been instrumental in helping us drive the mandate, identify regional and sector priorities and provide insight and context to the project.

Based on our first few meetings, it’s clear there’s an active community of leaders that want to be involved and contribute.

Choosing the Advisors

Research shows us that successful cluster development needs to be 1) industry driven and 2) have strong linkages to investment, academic and government communities and stakeholders.

Many early-stage cleantech companies face a significant funding gap when trying to develop their product from proof-of-concept phase into commercialization. This funding gap is sometimes referred to as the “valley of death”, a reflection of the vast number of companies that are unable to raise the needed capital to progress into the marketplace.

That’s why it’s important to have a range of participants in our advisory team – cleantech SME, Industry and Investment voices. We need a diverse group of people who understand how to scale cleantech companies past the Valley of Death, so that these companies can succeed over the long term. These are the companies who will be generating wealth for the BC for many years to come.

From a wider economic perspective, it was also important to us to include government representatives. Government are key enablers of a cleantech ecosystem and can support through funding mechanisms, policy and initiatives.

Academic input is also crucial to support talent required for industry and for economic development in a region. Everything from engineering specialists to business development play an important role in the ecosystem. Academia brings huge value to an economic development project, including talent development and education, highly specialized knowledge, connections to global research resources and advanced intellectual property, and in depth connections and understanding of the community and history of the region.

These leaders bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, and have been instrumental in driving the vision forward.

I’d like to offer them a special thank you for agreeing to be part of this initiative – it’s gratifying to see such an engaged, experienced and passionate group coming together to forge ahead with a plan to put BC cleantech on the global map!

Our Advisory Group:

  • Scott Stanners, Executive Director,BC Bioenergy Network
  • Steve Slater, VP Strategic Initiatives, Terramera
  • Anna Stuka, Business Development, Carbon Engineering
  • Mark Kirby, CEO, CHFCA
  • Rose Klukas, Economic Development Officer, Campbell River
  • Melissa Barcellos, Economic Development Manager, City of Prince George
  • John McPherson, Cleantech Manager, Vancouver Economic Commission
  • Walter Merida, Professor, UBC
  • Raghwa Gopal, CEO, Innovate BC
  • Stephen Brydon, Director, Ministry of Energy, Mines & Resources
  • Mark Warren, VP Innovation, Fortis BC
  • Janice Larson, Director, Tri University Partnership
  • Wal Van Lierop, Partner, Chrysalix
  • Mischa Steiner, CEO, Awesense
  • Martin Mullany, Interim CEO, Clean Energy BC
  • Jonathan Rhone, CEO, AXINE

Funding Partners

  • Emily Pearson, Portfolio Manager, VanCity
  • Christine Fast, Executive Project Director, BC Govt – JTT
  • Daniel Bustillio, Manager – Projects, WED
  • Gordon Mitchell, Manager – Policy    WED