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.
A joint venture of the University of Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, TEC Edmonton operates the Edmonton region’s largest health-technology accelerator.
Q: What is your connection with Foresight?
A: TEC Edmonton hosts the Edmonton Launch program in partnership with Foresight. This is TEC’s second cohort, and we have had the pleasure of mentoring entrepreneurs in the program and moderating weekly sessions with entrepreneurs.
Q: What excites you about the work you’re doing?
A: Working with budding companies that are on the cusp of significant market traction and helping to address some of our most pressing and diverse environmental challenges is extremely rewarding. Within the Foresight collaboration, the entrepreneurs learn from each other, as well as seasoned entrepreneurs and subject matter experts. It is a pleasure to see the companies refine their business model and increase their confidence. Their growth as entrepreneurs and improved business models has led to a number of milestones, including pilot customers and standing orders for product.
Q: What are the key challenges and opportunities related to cleantech in Canada?
A: We are well-positioned to be leaders in cleantech. We are known to be world leaders in energy and agricultural production, but both sectors are sometimes criticized for perceived environmental consequences. This is a rich foundation for innovation that can continue to bolster energy and agriculture production, but with cleaner alternatives to conventional technology. This is leading to new jobs and continued world-class production. However, innovation requires support. We want to ensure entrepreneurs find product/market fit early, gain traction and position themselves well for investment where appropriate. Without the right guidance, resources could be misplaced and valuable time lost.
Q: Why is a Canadian cleantech network like the Community of Innovators important?
A: Taking innovation to market is always easier with community support, regardless of the sector. Whether it’s mentorship, a connection to a potential customer or a potential strategic partner, everyone has a role to play. Importantly, the Community of Innovators are like-minded with cleantech experience, all focused on helping the entrepreneurs reach commercialization as quickly as possible. The synergy can make an immediate impact on most of the companies we work with.