Federal government invests $39 million through Western Canada scaleup initiative


Seventeen BC-based projects are receiving a cumulative $39 million from the federal government through Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Business Scale Up and Productivity (BSP) initiative.

Western Economic Diversification Canada’s BSP program exists to support businesses looking to accelerate their growth.

The announcement was made by Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development at Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC), which itself will receive $875,000 as part of the $39 million investment. Those funds will be used to help the organization develop and commercialize a next-generation hydrogen fuel delivery system, called the PC65.

“HTEC is grateful for WD’s investment in support of our ongoing efforts to reduce the cost and complexity of distributing hydrogen,” said Colin Armstrong, president and CEO of HTEC. “With the PC65 system, we can deliver high-pressure hydrogen where and how it’s needed, in larger volumes than more conventional distribution systems like tube trailers. Fewer deliveries mean reduced fuel costs for our customers, and reduced greenhouse gas and particulate emissions associated with transportation of the hydrogen itself.”

One of the startups that will receive funding is Saltworks Technologies, a Richmond-based company that develops technology for industrial desalination. Saltworks will receive $2.5 million to demonstrate and commercialize its industrial desalination technology.

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Another startup receiving funding included Vancouver-based DarkVision, which is developing a high-resolution ultrasound-based imaging technology to give oil and gas companies a look inside their wells that are unimpaired by wellbore fluids. The company is receiving approximately $2.9 million to scale up its technology in Western Canada and the US.

Vancouver-based Wivv Wearables will receive about $2.3 million to establish a biomechanics lab and digital manufacturing centre. The company creates 3D-printed custom gear like its custom-fit sandals, which uses computer algorithms to pinpoint the unique length, width, and arch support of each customer’s feet and build a customized shoe. Traction on Demand will collectively receive up to $300,000 to accelerate the growth of its account-based sales software, specifically for Traction Sales and Marketing and Traction Complete.

“Across Canada, innovative companies are developing solutions to today’s biggest challenges, like climate change, and creating the jobs of the future,” said Bains when discussing the importance of supporting companies in emerging sectors.

The funding came from Western Economic Diversification Canada, the federal government’s regional development agency (RDA) for Western Canada, which Bains is responsible for. The BSP program stream, like FedDev Ontario’s Scale Up program, looks to support businesses at various stages of development, including high-growth firms, wanting to accelerate their growth, scale-up, and be more productive and competitive in both domestic and global markets.

Image courtesy HTEC via Twitter

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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