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Atlantic Canada, Vancouver named global Blue Economy leaders

Atlantic Canada, Vancouver named global Blue Economy leaders
on December 4, 2023
Atlantic Canada, Vancouver named global Blue Economy leaders

Atlantic Canada continues to be on a hot streak when it comes to fighting global warming, as the region’s Blue Economy was ranked eighth globally and third in North America in the latest Climatetech report from Startup Genome

The study ranks population centers across the globe based on the volume of cleantech investments being driven by the local startup ecosystem. 

The oceantech ecosystem being cultivated in Atlantic Canada in particular—which includes New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island—has rapidly become a global powerhouse. 

Not only has the region’s Blue Economy ecosystem jumped two spots from it’s 10th place perch in Startup Genome’s 2022 global rankings, but the Atlantic Canada oceantech ecosystem now only lags Silicon Valley and New York in terms of activity.

Those are some impressive bragging rights for the Atlantic Canada ecosystem. This is especially true when considering how nascent the region’s innovation economy is compared to the decades of startup dominance held by tech clusters in the United States. 

This is thanks in large part to the Ocean Supercluster from the Canadian federal government, which is based in the region. The program is well on its path to expanding the ocean sector on Canada’s East Coast from an estimated $39 billion in 2019 to at least $220 billion by 2035. At 600 members, the Ocean Supercluster is estimated to have a project portfolio of $420 million. 

“As an ocean nation, we have a huge opportunity for growth that can be transformational, helping tackle climate change globally and creating significant growth for communities in the process,” said Nancy Andrews, chief engagement and communications officer at the Ocean Supercluster, within Startup Genome’s report.

Just this past October, the Ocean Supercluster was behind a $20 million funding round for nine AI-based blue economy initiatives announced as part of the All In Conference in Montreal. The funding—which came alongside similar funding infusions backed by the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy Program—will help support a wide range of programs, from biomass analysis for seaweed farming to optimizing hydropower. 

Wins across Canada as cleantech grows

While Atlantic Canada had an impressive showing, the West Coast also held strong year-over-year in Startup Genome’s ranking. Vancouver ranked 14th in both the 2022 and 2023 Blue Economy reports, for instance, as the region continues to evolve it’s dominance in the legacy energy sector, emerging as a leader in the sustainable resources economy. 

Zooming out, Vancouver is is punching even higher, ranking 12th in the global Cleantech Startup Ecosystem Rankings—that is, solutions beyond just oceantech—with Toronto-Waterloo coming in 13th. 

This makes sense, as a wealth of organizations have emerged in both regions aimed at supporting the climate tech startup ecosystem have emerged in recent years. This includes Boast partner Foresight, Canada’s leading cleantech accelerator, which has raised over $1.68 billion to date in venture capital for innovators in Vancouver and beyond. 

In total, cleantech companies continue to buck an overall lag in year-over-year investment trends across the startup space. For instance, despite Q3 2023 marking the slowest quarter for Canadian VC activity in three years, according to a new report from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA), cleantech deals were already matching 2021 levels and were on track to exceed the $1.1billion raised in 2022. 

Non-dilutive funding to fuel innovation

While VC and private equity investments play a critical roles in driving innovation, companies in emerging fields that put R&D at the heart of their mission also have access to a wealth of non-dilutive funding that could extend their runway significantly.

This can be critical as teams are testing out hypotheses, learning their market potential, and navigating an industry that’s still on the cusp of a rapid growth trajectory.

While venture capital remains tight, founders should explore as many non-dilutive funding opportunities as they can to extend their runway and maintain momentum, regardless of market conditions. 

At Boast AI, we partner with thousands of startups—from seed to growth and beyond—across North America to both tap into tax credits while optimizing their R&D operations from the ground up. Learn more about the innovative funding uniquely available to startups in Atlantic Canada in our latest guide authored in collaboration with our partners Volta.

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