Foresight is building Canada’s largest cleantech innovation network, the Community of Innovators. This series showcases some of those inspiring individuals, who are creating change in cleantech.
Carbon Block, based in Winnipeg, MB, enables the creation, trading, and retirement of carbon offsets. Their patent pending hardware uses blockchain technology to ensure Carbon Block’s carbon offsets are of the highest quality. Their journey to date includes graduating from Creative Destruction Labs and an appearance on CBC-TV’s Dragon Den. President and CEO Alex Stuart shares his thoughts about cleantech and community.
Q: What is your connection with Foresight?
A: We were introduced to Foresight through North Forge, an incubator in Winnipeg that we’re working with. It made perfect sense for Carbon Block to work with a cleantech incubator. We joined Foresight’s Deliver program in January 2021. Having a program that can connect us with governments, funding sources, and subject matters is invaluable as we continue to innovate in the carbon markets.
Q: What excites you about the work you’re doing?
A: Connecting emerging decarbonatization technologies with money from the carbon market should accelerate global decarbonization considerably. I’m really pumped about getting to see all the cool new stuff that’s going to help the climate and help businesses get off the ground.
Q: What are the key challenges and opportunities related to cleantech in Canada?
A: For opportunities, we have a world-class university system that produces the technical talent needed to solve global problems. There are research universities from coast to coast and a wealth of talent and knowledge.
Access to finance is a significant challenge. There’s not a lot of risk capital in Canada generally. We have a history of dropping the ball on global tech companies. That speaks volumes to the ecosystem. We wear our Canada hat and don’t think globally a lot of the time. Too often, we don’t design with the international market in mind. We tend to solve a Canadian problem, and we’re happy and polite about it. Canadian tech companies exit too soon. There’s not a lot of wealth creation. It’s a result of small thinking.
Q: Why is a Canadian cleantech network like the Community of Innovators important?
A: It will help companies like Carbon Block discover opportunities that our own research would never bring us. It’s impossible to keep tabs on everything that’s going on. And there’s the serendipity from having like-minded individuals smashing ideas together. That’s where great things can emerge.