An insider look at PacifiCan's funding for Victoria tech

Startups Origen Air, Aluula, and Peloton Technologies will receive the government's cash, as well as UVic and oceantech accelerator COAST.

Welcome to this week’s Midweek Memo. In this issue, we dig deeper into the $8.1 million for Victoria’s tech ecosystem, share how you feel about using AI, and highlight a Saanich teen’s work on the big screen.

Now onto today’s briefing. It’s 919 words: a three-minute read.

-Allison, @allisongacad

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Funding for Victoria’s oceantech, cleantech, and fintech

From left to right: Emilie de Rosenroll, group CEO, South Island Prosperity Partnership; Christina Clarke, executive director, Indigenous Prosperity Centre; Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of international development and minister responsible for PacifiCan; Jason Goldsworthy, executive director, COAST; and Kevin Murdoch, mayor, District of Oak Bay. Photo: Kevin Light

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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📰 More Victoria innovation news

✏️ Not so small: Tiny acquired HappyFunCorp — a product engineering house for clients such as Apple, Amazon, and Disney — for $30 million.

🐟 In new waters: Open Ocean Robotics announced its expansion of operations to Eastern Canada, with one of its unmanned surface vehicles present in Halifax.

📣 On the world stage: Jeff Ward, founder and CEO of Animikii, spoke at Collision 2023 in Toronto as a panelist on the topic of supporting Indigenous digital sovereignty.

👀 Vancouver Island to the world: Recent Marvel release Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse sees 18-year old Saanich teen Kiegan Simard’s animation software in action.

👩🏻‍💼Victoria tech moves

Major personnel changes, including promotions, hires, and departures:

🕴️Tech jobs of the week

Find your next career:

Hiring in Victoria? Reply to this email and let us know!

📅 Upcoming events

July 6: COAST Talks: Sea to Shore – Blue Tech Solutions to Coastal Challenges: Explore today’s ocean challenges, and find out how ocean tech companies are providing solutions.

July 6: Growth Capital: Learn How To Increase Your Financing As Your Company Expands: Join a power-packed session on Accessing Growth Capital hosted by UVic, iWIST, and VIATEC to fuel your entrepreneurial journey.

July 17: How to Plan for the Use of AI in Enterprise Marketing Teams: Consider whether you should you allow the use of tools like ChatGPT, Midjourney, and Microsoft Copilot by your marketing team.

Have an upcoming event? Reply to let us know.

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