Innovate BC has announced Peter Cowan will join the innovation agency as CEO and president.
Cowan will assume the role on February 5, taking over from Tomica Divic, now vice president of operations, who has served as Innovate BC’s interim president and CEO for the last eight months. Divic succeeded Raghwa Gopal, who had led the agency since 2019 and retired in August.
“Peter understands that innovation is key to creating good jobs and building an inclusive, sustainable economy for the benefit of all British Columbians.”Andrew Petter
Cowan brings deep experience in intellectual property (IP) to the role at Innovate BC. Most recently, he was interim CEO at Intellectual Property Ontario, an agency he led since 2022.
His expertise also extends through the federal level as a board member and co-founder of the Innovation Asset Collective, which was established in 2019 to assist small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the cleantech sector with their IP-related needs. According to a statement from Innovate BC, Cowan has over 70 patents filed in the clean energy sector.
Cowan is also the founder of Northworks IP, which provides business advisory services to startups, scaleups, investors, and law firms related to IP and patent strategies. He currently sits on the governance committee for the College of Patent and Trademark Agents, which regulates patent and trademark agents in Canada.
In a statement, Innovate BC board chair Andrew Petter said Cowan’s knowledge of BC’s innovation ecosystem, policy background, and experience in both the private and public sectors make him an ideal fit to helm the agency.
“Peter understands that innovation is key to creating good jobs and building an inclusive, sustainable economy for the benefit of all British Columbians,” Petter added.
Innovate BC is a crown agency of the province that offers programming and funding aimed to help local SMBs scale and acquire talent. The agency is supported by both the BC government and federal government through its regional development agency, PacifiCan.
Its programs include BC Fast Pilot, which disburses funding to help SMBs design, build, and operate a pilot plant or small demonstration of their technology. In December, that program made its fifth disbursement of $2 million to 13 companies.
Feature image courtesy Innovate BC.