The Canadian clean technology (“cleantech”) industry continues to demonstrate impressive competitive performance and growth in international markets. Sustainable Development Technology Canada (“SDTC”) is a not-for-profit foundation with a mandate to facilitate the commercialization of cleantech by bridging the “funding gap” which exists between research and commercialization. WeirFoulds has been a proud supporter of SDTC’s Venture Summit, which introduces SDTC-backed companies to both venture investors and corporations seeking to adopt new clean technologies, since 2010.  

Over the past few months, SDTC has undertaken some key initiatives towards facilitating opportunities for cleantech companies in international markets and supporting its objective as an organization in building global Canadian cleantech companies.  

These initiatives consisted of the following:  

United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”): In September 2012, SDTC entered into a MOU with the UAE Ministry of Economy to create a framework fostering cleantech opportunities between SDTC and the UAE government through measures such as joint projects, technology transfer and the sharing of information. The UAE government has in recent years indicated its desire to move towards a knowledge-based economy and pursue economic policies with a particular emphasis on small-medium sized companies. In light of this mandate, the MOU should be viewed as some validation of SDTC’s model of innovation. In addition, this MOU is likely to provide the basis to facilitate strategic financing and partnership opportunities in the UAE for Canadian cleantech companies as it provides the means to identify and connect relevant companies to business opportunities in both countries.  

Export Development Canada (“EDC”) Collaboration Agreement: In October 2012, SDTC entered into a collaboration agreement with EDC to further develop Canada’s international capabilities in the cleantech sector. Specifically, under this agreement, EDC will seek to deploy its range of products, including bonding, guarantees, financing and political risk insurance, in projects or transactions involving later-stage SDTC companies. SDTC will share with EDC its assessment of technology risks and the capacity of portfolio companies to perform in international markets. EDC will also look for opportunities within its network of foreign buyers and top global corporations, and leverage its many partnerships with multilateral organizations whose activities and programs present opportunities for the technology solutions developed by SDTC portfolio companies.  

This agreement represents an important step for SDTC funded companies expanding abroad as it allows these companies to leverage a globally recognized platform and partner with an organization that has a successful track record in supporting Canadian companies in accessing capital and international markets.

India Trade Mission: In November 2012, SDTC participated in a Trade Mission to India led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper which resulted in 14 Canada-India trade deals being signed of which one-third consisted of agreements signed with SDTC funded companies. These deals illustrate that Canadian cleantech companies are in demand in global markets and are fostering opportunities in high growth markets like India.  

The importance of these initiatives is highlighted by a recent report issued by a leading cleantech consulting firm Analytica Advisors, which states that Canadian cleantech companies derive approximately 53 per cent of revenues from international markets. This demand has been primarily driven by the need in various international markets to access innovative technology and solutions which address their current sustainability challenges and represents a significant export opportunity for Canada. Moreover, these initiatives reinforce the pivotal role played with SDTC in the Canadian economy in fostering and growing the cleantech industry.