Sustainable Development Technology Canada: funding tomorrow’s cleantech projects

  • By Sara Barzizoui
    • Oct 30, 2022
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The issue of climate change has always been and remains firmly embedded in many global and national dialogues. The evidence about the impact of climate-related changes on people and nature are increasingly apparent, including but not limited to the significant challenges that agriculture currently faces; between the on-growing need to increase global food supply to cater to the growing population, the declining availability of natural resources but also the increasing threats of higher temperatures, pests, and CO2 concentration.

In addition to climate change, air, soil, and water quality are some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Human activities are the key driver for such impediments. Transportation, industries, mining, forestry apply mixed pressures that negatively impact the vital resources of life. According to Health Canada, it is estimated that every year, air pollution causes economic costs of $120 billion, not to mention the impacts on human lives (15,300 premature deaths).

As a matter of fact, natural resources make an important contribution to Canada’s economy. In 2019, natural resources directly and indirectly accounted for 16.9% of the state’s nominal Gross Domestic product, providing annually $21.4 billion on average in revenues for the government. A large number of communities (909 exactly according to natural resources Canada estimates report) are economically reliant on at least one natural resources sector, which accounted for 1.9 million jobs in 2019.

This snapshot enhances the importance of adopting cleaner and more efficient technologies, products, and practices. To address this dilemma, the government of Canada created Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) in 2001, an arm’s-length foundation to demonstrate new technologies to promote sustainable development, including technologies to address issues related to climate change and the quality of air, water, and soil.

Sustainable Development Technology

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) funds Canadian cleantech projects and coaches the companies that lead them, to move their novel and innovative technologies to market. SDTC firmly believes that clean technologies have the power to transform the world, and that Canadian companies have what it takes to lead this transformation. As a matter of fact, SDTC is the largest funder of cleantech SMEs in Canada, investing as of October 2021 in 300 projects throughout Canada, through providing non-repayable contributions of $7.22 billion since 2001.

The SDTC provides funding for SMEs cleantech projects at every stage: seed funding for emerging innovations, start-up support to develop these innovations to reach their target market, and finally the scale-up investments to advance firms through early commercialization and market leadership.

Seed fund: Nurturing innovation in every corner of the country

The seed fund provides early-stage cleantech entrepreneurs with one-time grants of $50,000 to $100,000. The SDTC, partners with a select group of Canadians accelerators and other entrepreneurial service organizations across Canada to identify the entrepreneurs who will become tomorrow’s cleantech leaders. Potential applicants must be nominated by one of SDTC’s accelerator partners.

Sustainable Development Technology

Start-up fund: Building momentum towards commercialization

At this stage of the business, SDTC helps high-potential companies take that next leap and achieve market readiness by funding the development and demonstration of clean technologies by providing an average contribution of $2-5 million. Larger contributions are also available (typically up to $10 million) when the innovation is highly evaluated, taking into consideration the strength of technology innovation, management capability, technology readiness level, business plan and path to market, and the financial strength of the company.

Scale-up fund: accelerating your growth

The scale-up funding targets the needs of high-growth companies: those with growing revenues, a clear path to profitability and the potential to deliver significant environmental benefits in the short to medium term. Companies aiming to scale-up their business in Canada, strengthen their competitive advantage and unlock larger customer base exporting to new markets, building on their existing technology or developing new products and services, can benefit from an average funding of $2-5 million. If the project and/or innovation are deemed of great protentional based on the strength of technology innovation, management capability, technology readiness level, business plan and path to market, and the financial strength of the company, a larger contribution of up $10 million is accessible.

Eager to learn more about this program? Get in touch with one of our experts today!


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Sara Barzizoui

Government Grants Consultant

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