Overview of the Innovation Ecosystem

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External Links

Some of the resources that you might find useful in moving to BC or planning the establishment and scaling of your business are provided below:

Moving to British Columbia

The BC PNP Entrepreneur Immigration Stream

The Entrepreneur Immigration Stream of the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) attracts experienced entrepreneurs who can support innovation and economic growth in the province, such as through the expansion of an existing business or establishment of a new business.

The BC PNP Skills Immigration Stream

The Skills Immigration stream of the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is for potential immigrants with the skills, experience, and qualifications needed by B.C. employers.

Starting and Growing a Business

Business Start-Up Assistant provides essential business start-up information from the federal and provincial governments.

BC Registry manages the creation (incorporation and registration) and listing of businesses and organizations in British Columbia.

Small Business BC is a key resource centre for business information and services.

Corporate Registry creates and registers business and not-for-profit entities.

Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA) is a regional non-profit partner of the BC Acceleration Network which supports entrepreneurs to start and grow technology companies by providing them with programs and resources they need to succeed.

Export Development Canada (EDC) is a Crown corporation dedicated to helping Canadian companies of all sizes succeed on the world stage. As international risk experts, they equip them with the tools – the trade knowledge, financial solutions, equity, insurance, and connections – to grow businesses with confidence.

Export Navigator helps B.C. businesses diversify and grow by guiding them through the export process. They will connect you with an export advisor who will get to know your business. Free of charge, this advisor will collaborate with you one-on-one to create a realistic growth plan and help you on your export journey.

WeBC provides support for women business owners to start, develop, lead and sell businesses. After 26 years of operating as Women’s Enterprise Centre, it is now WeBC.

Contact: Christopher Theeparajah, Senior Trade Finance Manager – E:  T: 604.678.2257  C : 604 318 2146

Securities Regulation & Information

British Columbia Securities Commission is an independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating securities trading in B.C.

InvestRight is British Columbia Securities Commission’s investor education program, providing information and tools to help B.C. investors avoid investment scams and make investment decisions that are appropriate for their individual needs.

Private and Early Stage Businesses provides information from the British Columbia Securities Commission on private and early stage businesses, and what businesses need to know to raise money.

Federal & Provincial Revenue Agencies

Canada Revenue Agency administers tax laws for the Government of Canada and for most provinces and territories.

Ministry of Finance – Revenue Division supports the prosperity of British Columbians through small business growth, effective tax administration and revenue management, and a responsible regulatory system.

Federal Government Agencies & Departments

Business Development Bank of Canada offers financingconsulting services and venture capital.

Industry Canada works with Canadians throughout the economy, and in all parts of the country, to improve conditions for investment, improve Canada’s innovation performance, increase Canada’s share of global trade, and build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace.

National Research Canada NRC-IRAP has a long history of providing excellent technical and business advisory services related to research and development, including strategic intelligence and customized solutions to fit your business needs.

Scientific Research & Experimental Development Program (SR&ED) is a federal tax incentive program, administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, that encourages Canadian businesses of all sizes, and in all sectors to conduct research and development in Canada.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada is a not-for-profit foundation that finances and supports the development and demonstration of clean technologies which provide solutions to issues of climate change, clean air, water quality and soil, and which deliver economic, environmental and health benefits to Canadians.

PacifiCan is the Government of Canada’s new economic development agency dedicated to British Columbia. PacifiCan promotes growth and diversification in B.C.’s economy by enhancing innovation, improving business competitiveness, and promoting inclusive growth.

The Strategic Innovation Fund’s (SIF) objective is to spur innovation for a better Canada by providing funding for large projects and national innovation ecosystems.

The Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) is a $680 million initiative ending in 2027 and its objective is to address the lack of charging and refuelling stations in Canada; one of the key barriers to ZEV adoption, by increasing the availability of localized charging and hydrogen refuelling opportunities where Canadians live, work, and play.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada supports the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector through initiatives that promote innovation and competitiveness.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) is the major federal agency responsible for funding natural sciences and engineering research in Canada. NSERC directly funds university professors and students as well as Canadian companies to perform research and training.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent not-for-profit organization that invests in research facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions.

Provincial Government Programs and Funded Initiatives

The CleanBC Industry Fund can help leverage your investments to lower your emissions and improve industrial operations. It invests a portion of carbon tax revenues into businesses working on emission reduction projects. At the same time, it provides new opportunities and a larger market for B.C.’s clean technology companies.

The CleanBC Building Innovation Fund (CBBIF) provides incentives to B.C. manufacturers and technology developers to commercialize and demonstrate new energy efficient and low-carbon building technologies, designs, and practices.  The objectives of the CBBIF are to increase the availability, affordability and acceptability of made-in-B.C. low carbon building solutions that can be scaled up to help achieve provincial climate targets, prepare the market for future building sector regulations committed to in the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, and drive economic development.

The ICE Fund is a Special Account, funded through a levy on certain energy sales, designed to support the Province’s energy, economic, environmental and greenhouse gas reduction priorities, and to advance B.C.’s clean energy sector.

Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) supports Indigenous communities to be clean energy change agents through capacity-building, skills development, career training, and mentorship with high-quality and hands-on programming. It is the leading platform in accelerating First Nations, Inuit, and Métis participation in clean energy projects from coast to coast to coast.

The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF) promotes increased Indigenous community participation in the clean energy sector within their asserted traditional territories and treaty areas. The fund provides agreements between the B.C. Government and successful applicants for Capacity funding and Equity funding. It also provides revenue sharing agreements between the B.C. Government and eligible First Nations.

The B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE) helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting BC’s clean energy innovators as they scale commercialization of their solutions for greater global impact. Together with its members, it’s enabling innovation like the future of the planet depends on it. Because it does.

Innovate BC helps foster innovation in B.C. so that British Columbians in all regions of the province can benefit from a thriving, sustainable, and inclusive innovation economy.

Universities and Colleges

Some of the universities, colleges and institutes based in the region or commonly serving residents from the region include:
Vancouver Island University
North Island College
University of Victoria
Camosun College
Royal Roads
University of British Columbia
Simon Fraser University

Sources of Risk Capital

Links to some of the leading sources of capital, particularly for cleantech, and sources of information about venture capital and angel investment in Canada are provided below:
Canadian Venture Capital Association
NACO Canada
Business Development Canada (BDC)
InBC Investment Corp
BC Tech Fund
Pangaea Ventures
Active Impact Investments
Evok Innovations
Chrysalix Venture Capital

Community Futures Offices on Vancouver Island/Coast

Funded by the Government of Canada through PacifiCan, Community Futures has been supporting rural entrepreneurs in the region for over 35 years. Different than a bank, Community Futures uses alternate lending criteria, focusing on rural development and providing business financing to small local businesses. Each of the offices provide flexible and affordable small business loans, business coaching/training services and business management tools for people wanting to start, expand, franchise or sell a rural business.
Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation
Community Futures Mount Waddington
Community Futures Strathcona
Community Futures Powell River
Community Futures Sunshine Coast
Community Futures Howe Sound
Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot
Community Futures Central Island
Community Futures Cowichan

Incubators and Accelerators

Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre is Canada’s cleantech ecosystem accelerator. It brings together innovators, industry, investors, government, and academia to address today’s most urgent climate issues and support a global transition to a green economy.

Circular Economy Accelerator Program provides hands-on support to businesses north of the Malahat and on the Sunshine Coast who seek to adopt circular economy principles, reduce waste and emissions, increase revenue, and develop innovative practices. This program – the first of its kind in Canada – will position your business as a leader in the circular economy, attracting talent and investment, increasing revenue, and paving the way to a prosperous, sustainable, and resilient future for your community.

The COAST Venture Acceleration Program (CVAP), delivered in partnership with VIATEC with funding provided by Innovate BC, provides new ventures focused on opportunities in the ocean economy with a proven pathway to growth through online training and coaching sessions.

The BC Venture Acceleration Program (VAP) helps B.C. tech entrepreneurs accelerate the process of defining a proven business model. Whether you’re just starting out or you have already established your business, this program is designed to help growing technology companies.

Project Zero is an initiative of the Synergy Foundation focused on implementing circular economy concepts in British Columbia through incubation, innovation, and education.

Technology Industry Associations and Initiatives

A wide range of industry associations, initiatives and collaborations that are promoting, facilitating and leading further development of the tech sector in BC. Links to some of these associations, particularly those relevant to cleantech, are provided below:
Advanced Biofuels Canada
BC Bioenergy Network
BC Pulp and Paper Bio-Alliance
BC Sustainable Energy Association
BC Tech
BC Water & WasteWater Association
Building Transformations
Canada Green Building Council
Canada Mining Innovation Council
Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association
Clean Energy BC
Clean Growth Hub