There are a number of ways to raise capital to fund research of a new business idea, develop a new environmental technology or to grow an existing pollution prevention business. An often overlooked source is research and development (R&D) funding offered by the three levels of government. There are bureaucratic hurdles to jump, but the reward of seed money to support your technology or company may make the application process worth the effort.
Technology Partnerships Canada
Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) is a funding program that is specifically designed to provide risk capital to the private sector. Of importance to the environmental industry, TPC also has a mandate to encourage the development of SMEs with an environmental strategy, including innovative technologies, sustainable energy alternatives, and pollution prevention, abatement and remediation.
The investment plan targets an average sharing ratio of not more than 33 per cent (with typical project sharing ratios ranging between 25 per cent and 30 per cent). TPC will share risk and rewards with private sector partners. Any upside in financial returns will be managed so that all repayment of funds gets recycled back into TPC coffers.
TPC’s investments are expanded through the program’s partnerships with other federal innovation initiatives (e.g. the Technology Early Action Measures), with other levels of government, and with the private sector to maximize investment in key sustainable technologies.
As of March 31, 2003, TPC’s portfolio includes 69 investments in environmental technologies totaling $402,069. This total includes National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) in partnership with Technology Partnerships Canada.
The Climate Change Action Fund (CCAF) is focused on technology that reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Established in 1998 by the federal government, the fund is designed to help Canada meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
The fund is intended to support early actions to reduce GHG emissions and to increase understanding of the impact, the cost and the benefits of the Protocol’s implementation and the various implementation options open to Canada. The current CCAF stands at $50-million a year.
Generally, the bigger and more industrialized the province, the greater the likelihood that there is funding available for the environmental enterprise. In Alberta, there are two main sources of funding: the Alberta Science and Research Investment Program and the Alberta Energy Research Institute. In Atlantic Canada, environmental businesses can obtain access to capital for start-up or growth through the Atlantic Innovation Fund administered by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
British Columbia has the Sustainable Environment Fund, which is dedicated to supporting provincial environmental protection and renewal initiatives. It was created to assist in directing money collected through environmental levies and waste permit fees toward a variety of provincial environmental protection programs.
Quebec has several funding sources for environmental R&D. These include: the Environmental Priority Assistance Fund, the Government Science and Technology Fund, and the Sustainable Development Fund.
Ontario’s main funding source for the development of environmental technologies is the Ontario Innovation Trust (IOT) administered by the Ministry of Enterprise, Opportunity and Investment. With more than $1-billion endowed from the province, the OIT helps support the capital costs of research for Ontario’s universities, community colleges, hospitals, and research institutes. Since it was established in 1999, OIT has committed $626-million to 657 projects.
In addition, the Ontario Centers of Excellence (OCE) program aims to strengthen research linkages between academia and industry. Of relevance to the environmental business community is the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Technology (CRESTech). CRESTech delivers research excellence to Canada’s environmental, resource management and aeronautical sectors.
The Green Municipal Investment Fund (GMIF) promotes environmental technologies to assist municipalities. GMIF supports initiatives that explore new technologies and best practices for energy, building, water, waste, and transportation projects through funds and/or donations in kind.
These articles are based on public sources deemed to be accurate. These articles are designed for information purposes and are not intended as a recommendation of the companies discussed. Individuals looking to invest in this sector should consult an investment advisor before proceeding.
James Sbrolla is a management consultant to the environment and waste management industry. E-mail James at email@example.com