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The technology needed to address climate issues has already been developed. Here's how the Canadian entrepreneurs addressing climate change are getting the backing they need to make a real difference in the world.

MaRS Discovery District wants Canadians to know there’s a nine-year window before climate change impacts become irreversible. Preventing the most drastic consequences of the climate crisis requires rapid innovation and action, the Toronto-based innovation hub says.

The good news is that much of the technology needed to address climate issues has already been developed. The people creating these innovations just need backing so the solutions can scale up, gain global traction, and make a real difference in the world.

Enter Mission from MaRS

With RBC as a founding supporter through RBC Tech for Nature, MaRS issued a call in early 2021 for Canadian cleantech ventures to apply for the Mission from MaRS: Climate Impact Challenge.

More than 70 ventures from across the country entered their projects. MaRS selected 10 to receive coaching on strategic sales, financing, and partnerships. Each venture is being paired with a curated team of investors, regulators, potential customers, and corporate partners who can help identify barriers to the widespread adoption of their technologies and develop strategies for the removal of these barriers.

This summer, the 10 most-promising applicants — all of which are tackling greenhouse gas emissions through innovation — were announced.

Tyler Hamilton, Director of Ecosystem, Cleantech at MaRS says the entire venture cohort is excellent and made up of high-potential innovators from across Canada. To name just a few:

  • Extract Energy produces an engine that can capture low-grade waste heat (an untapped, emissions-free source of energy) for low-cost power generation. Simple in design and small in footprint, the machine enables behind-the-metre generation for industry — manufacturers, food processors, power plants and more.
  • BrainBox AI uses AI-driven software to optimize HVAC systems. The tech has the ability to decrease a building’s carbon footprint by up to 40 percent, as well as reduce an operator’s energy cost by 25 percent, without sacrificing occupancy comfort.
  • Flash Forest uses UAV tech, automation and ecological science to reforest ecosystems, with an initial goal of planting one billion trees around the world by 2028. Their technology is faster, safer, cheaper and most importantly more scalable than conventional methods, offering a next-gen solution to carbon sequestration.

These aren’t pie-in-the-sky prototypes that are still being toyed with in labs. These are real technologies that all have commercial demonstrations of the product. With the ventures having the help they need to grow, they can more quickly reach a point where they can have a meaningful impact on the world stage.

A more-than-money approach to giving

Through RBC Tech for Nature, RBC isn’t just helping fund the Mission from MaRS — but is also providing high-level expertise, advice, and knowledge that can really change the odds for the chosen ventures.

Peter McArthur, Vice President and National Cleantech Lead at RBCx — and a lifelong environmentalist — will be connecting his team with the chosen 10 ventures, helping them find funding and making those vital connections with suitable customers.

If a chosen technology is designed for the real estate industry, for example, McArthur and his team might connect the venture with developers known to embrace innovative green technologies. And “when those sales come,” McArthur says, typically “funding follows.”

Helping Canadian entrepreneurs looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a big way — that’s why the Mission from MaRS: Climate Impact Challenge is there. That’s why RBC is stepping up to support this program, in every way it can.

Mission from MaRS is supported by RBC Tech for Nature, a multi-year commitment to preserving the world’s greatest wealth: our natural ecosystem. RBC is working with partners to leverage technology and innovation capabilities to solve pressing environmental challenges. To date, over 125 partners have benefited from $27 million in community investments. Learn more at rbc.com/techfornature

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