New partnership will support cleantech industry

Okanagan College and Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre are looking to make the most of each other’s expertise, facilities, connections and interest in cleantech to help grow the industry and integrate post-secondary institutions in the development of the sector.

The organizations recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focused on supporting and growing the cleantech industry, which is worth an estimated $2.5 billion annually to the B.C. economy. (Cleantech is the rapidly emerging field that encompasses a diverse range of products, services, and processes based upon renewable materials and energy sources. The use of cleantech significantly reduces the dependence on natural resources and substantially reduces emissions and waste. A 2011 study by KPMG found 202 cleantech companies operating in the province, with annual revenues estimated at $2.5 billion.)

The MoU between Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre and Okanagan College is to create a framework for collaboration in a number of areas:

-  Identifying clients that can benefit from Foresight’s acceleration services as well as Okanagan College’s sites for testing and R&D services;

-  Helping to foster corporate relationships by providing joint solutions to companies’ challenges and identifying markets for the companies;

-  Exploring funding opportunities to support applied R&D in cleantech;

-  Sharing ideas and strategies about the development of a cleantech ecosystem in the province; and

-  Creating opportunities for students to engage with client companies.

The benefits of this collaboration are:

-  Creating jobs, intellectual property and growing BC’s (and Canada’s) cleantech ecosystem by helping cleantech businesses to survive and thrive through access to advanced infrastructure and mentoring services;

-  Enabling students and professors to engage with the cleantech industry and real world issues.

One of the precipitants in the development of the MoU was Okanagan College’s newest building in Penticton, the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation. It is one of the most sustainable buildings of its type in the world, and incorporates space intended for use by industry for pilot projects and testing.

"I am excited by the opportunity to engage students, staff, instructors and professors with cleantech companies and let them further develop our advanced clean technologies in the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence building in Penticton," says Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President Education at Okanagan College.

"This is an excellent opportunity for Foresight to expose our entrepreneurial clients to the first-class facilities and testing/R&D services of Okanagan College,” said Neil Huff, Managing Director of Foresight. “We look forward to working with the College to help foster the growth of local technology solutions in green buildings and advanced energy.”

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