U.S.-Canadian cleantech business relationships continue to grow thanks to opportunities like the GLOBE Forum, an international conference in Canada attended by a 65-person North American delegation.
CleanTech Alliance, in partnership with the Consulate General of Canada-Seattle, brought the largest North American delegation ever to GLOBE Forum in Vancouver, BC on March 14-16. A total of 65 entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, and researchers attended the international conference.
GLOBE is Canada’s largest leadership summit for sustainable business attracting delegates from over 50 countries. Held every two years, the conference includes thought-provoking sessions presented by world-renowned sustainability experts, exhibition of leading-edge environmental innovations, and unparalleled global networking opportunities.
For the past several years, the CleanTech Alliance has partnered with the Canadian Consulate to bring a delegation of cleantech entrepreneurs and business members to represent U.S. innovation at the event. Cheryl Schell, CleanTech Alliance board member and Trade Commissioner for the Consulate, has been instrumental in growing the relationship between the U.S. and Canada in the cleantech sector.
“Our primary goal is to generate and foster continued cross-border business opportunities, as well as networking and investment between Washington and Canada, with a focus on the Cascadia region,” Schell said. “Meetings, presentations, networking, and learning about clean tech innovation from Canada and beyond were highlights of the trip.”
“The size of this year’s GLOBE delegation speaks to the genuine interest in collaboration,” said J. Thomas Ranken, CEO of the CleanTech Alliance. “Canada continues to be a great partner for entrepreneurs and businesses in the northwest cleantech sector, and we’re grateful for the Canadian Consulate’s engaged leadership on our board.”
The 3-day forum included several presentations by Washington State officials and companies – from a panel featuring Governor Jay Inslee to a challenge-pitch session that featured Avista, Snohomish County PUD, Sound Transit, and King County Metro. The pitch session – called Cascadia Connect – was a reverse-pitch that gave established organizations an opportunity to pitch their pain points and technology needs to local and international solution providers. The northwest utility team presented on needs related to resilient energy infrastructure, and the transit team presented on net zero fleets.
“The format was great,” said Peter Melin, Director of Zero-Emissions Technologies at King County Metro Transit. “The best part for me were the 15-minute meetings afterward. Those were really beneficial to me and I hope for those with whom I met.”
As a result of the event, the four Washington organizations met with 28 Canadian technology solution providers. Sound Transit and King County Metro already have follow up meetings planned with several of those companies. King County and Sound Transit are now discussing synergies on net zero fleets.
In addition to the reverse-pitch session, Northwest delegation members made connections with companies and individuals interested in using the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds (WCET), beta testing products in Seattle, and expanding their business into Washington State.
“It was a good event for us to attend” said Mike Pomfret of WCET. “We thought we would mostly meet referral partners, but we did meet several Canadian companies that could be direct users of the Testbeds.”
The upcoming CleanTech Innovation Showcase on June 25 will provide an opportunity for Canadian companies to continue engaging with CleanTech Alliance members in Seattle.
“The gauntlet was dropped by Canadian Consul General Brandon Lee for Canadians to further demonstrate their commitment to cross border collaboration by coming the CleanTech Innovation Showcase, June 25th in Seattle,” Schell said. “Canada intends to have a huge presence at Showcase and invites others to do the same!”