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An insider look at PacifiCan's funding for Victoria tech

An insider look at PacifiCan's funding for Victoria tech

Technology Sector Funding

Funding for Victoria’s oceantech, cleantech, and fintech

Victoria’s tech ecosystem recently saw its largest round of funding from PacifiCan, the federal government’s economic development agency for British Columbia. The organization will inject $8.1 million to not-for-profits, startups, and industry associations in the region.

The largest investment of $3 million from this pool goes to the South Island Prosperity Partnership (SIPP), Greater Victoria’s economic development alliance. Funding will go towards cultivating the ocean and marine tech ecosystem through two branches of SIPP: the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST) headed by Jason Goldsworthy, as well as the Indigenous Prosperity centre led by Christina Clarke.

“The number-one cited problem for for the sector across Canada is actually talent and workforce development,” Emilie de Rosenroll, group CEO of SIPP, tells Victoria Tech Journal. “We're working most immediately on a virtual training hub that will allow us to pool microcredentials — opportunities for upskilling and reskilling in some key areas of the blue economy.”

De Rosenroll also outlined research into the economic opportunities in kelp as another priority, particularly from the perspective of coastal First Nations through the Indigenous Prosperity Centre.

“Kelp has definitely come up as a growth area, where it makes sense to make sure that from the very beginning, the different opportunities are well mapped out for Indigenous communities and organizations to decide how they want to be part of this emerging opportunity,” she said. “There's also strong value in leveraging that knowledge and that know-how to be able to […] learn how to make sure that as we grow and we develop, we're not doing so in a way that's overly extractive or too short-term in our thinking.”

Oceantech was a significant theme in this round of funding, with additional cash going to academia and industry associations. The Association of British Columbia Marine Industries received $821,000 to grow the marine sector, while over $600,000 will support the University of Victoria’s Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery. The institute aims to advance research in the energy transition on Haida Gwaii from diesel to renewable sources such as ocean and tidal currents.

The university will also see $1.2 million go towards the purchase of a flex mass spectrometer to advance healthtech research, notably the first instrument of its kind in Canada.

Three Victoria startups also received significant amounts of funding. Via the Jobs and Growth Fund, cleantech venture Origen Air will see $250,000 to increase production of its genetically modified plants for air purification. In addition, materials tech outfit Aluula Composites secured nearly $730,000 to scale-up manufacturing and sales of its advanced textiles, while fintech firm Peloton Technologies will take $1.5 million to expand its work supporting clients to transition from paper to digital payments.

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Media Contact : Victoria Tech Journal

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