Meet the winners of 2023’s B.C. Cleantech Awards
From carbon capture to Indigenous clean energy projects, learn more about the provincial leaders working towards a better future.
Last night, the 2023 B.C. Cleantech Awards gathered to celebrate the local community building solutions for a changing climate. Organized by Foresight Canada, the evening brought together the province’s top investors, community-builders, and entrepreneurs for the common cause of working towards a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy.
In recent weeks, the global climate community has called attention to this point in time as absolutely pivotal for climate action, largely to prevent irrevocable damage. Yet even amidst the atmosphere of unease, celebration plays an important role. In this space, it can be common to reach a milestone and quickly move onto the next problem to solve, said Jeanette Jackson, CEO of Foresight. “But to really sit down and reflect on all of these achievements is something that will make us all stronger and energized to continue this incredible path forward,” she said.
Last night’s winners all expressed sentiments of the need to act urgently and the importance of collaboration to reach net-zero goals. But perhaps most poignant was the common reference to doing this work for the future generations of sons, daughters, and children. The evening’s Sustainability Hero of the Year awardee, Kwatuuma Cole Sayers – the executive director of Clean Energy BC – brought his wife and eight-month old son to the evening’s celebrations, in homage to this theme. “My mom [Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council] brought my sister and I around everywhere, and she’s the reason why I’m here today,” said Sayers.
In another series of events that have come full circle, Moment Energy, which was nominated for an award last year, won the 2023 Startup of the Year. “We know that we wouldn't be here without the support of all of the industry and community members,” said Sumreen Rattan, co-founder and COO at Moment Energy, a sustainable energy storage system startup founded by SFU students. “Foresight was, outside of SFU, the first accelerator that we joined. We got such amazing mentorship from people like Jeff Reading, who was an incredible mentor for us and especially [my co-founder Gabriel Soares] for CTO training.”
The evening closed with optimism for the net-zero journey ahead, coupled with a refusal to remain complacent about the work that needs to be done. “I think it is a moment to celebrate all the achievements in the B.C. cleantech [community],” said Ka-Hay Law, investor at TELUS Pollinator Fund, which won the award for Funder of the Year. “But similarly, it's also a recognition of how much more we'd have to go. Globally, 22 percent of all VC funding goes to climatetech. In Canada, BDC just put out a report that five percent of VC funding goes to climate. There's an opportunity for [both] business success and a real solution for climate challenges.”
Check out the full list of winners below:
Startup of the Year: Moment EnergyAward criteria: An emerging cleantech venture actively growing and already creating impact in their field.
Scaling Venture of the Year: SvanteAward criteria: A cleantech venture positioned to take a leadership role on the global innovation stage.
Community Advocate of the Year: Shannon Bard, entrepreneurship@UBCAward criteria: A mentor offering invaluable guidance, advice, or support to cleantech entrepreneurs.
Ecosystem Supporter of the Year: BC Centre for Innovation and Clean EnergyAward criteria: An organization championing the growth and development of cleantech in B.C. through programs, ecosystem development, thought leadership, and community building.
Corporate Pioneer of the Year: Paper ExcellenceAward criteria: A large organization or company adopting, championing, or leading sustainable practices in their industry.
Investor of the Year: Yuan Shi, The51 Food and Agtech FundAward criteria: An angel investor or VC championing a net zero economy by investing in cleantech ventures.
Funder of the Year: TELUS Pollinator Fund for GoodAward criteria: An organization or individual offering capital support or funding to support cleantech ventures as they grow and scale.
Training Institution of the Year: Pacific Institute for Climate SolutionsAn educational institution leading or championing research, programming, and upskilling that will enable a net-zero future.
Educator of the Year: Basma Majerbi, University of VictoriaAward criteria: A professor, academic leader, or post-secondary instructor taking an innovative approach to education for the net-zero economy.
Government Champion of the Year: Nancy Norris, Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation, Government of British ColumbiaAward criteria: A local or provincial government official using policy, advocacy, or funding to move the province towards net zero.
The B.C. Cleantech Awards also presented the Sustainability Hero award to community member Kwatuuma Cole Sayers for his outstanding work and wealth of experience as an advisor and advocate on clean energy development, particularly to First Nations interested in advancing opportunities in clean energy and technology.