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Early-stage tech entrepreneurs focused on ocean innovation can now apply to the newly launched COAST Venture Acceleration Program. 

Delivered by the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST) in partnership with VIATEC, the program is designed to guide, coach and grow ambitious ocean technology entrepreneurs, accelerating the process of defining a proven business model for sustained profitability, and helping them effectively grow their business. 

Participating ventures will have access to:

  • A wide range of proven entrepreneurs and specialists with technology industry backgrounds and specific expertise dealing with the varied issues confronting start-ups and high-growth companies. 
  • Critical connections, supportive network and collaboration opportunities they need to successfully scale their ventures. 
  • Potential investors, partners, sales opportunities and employees — provincially, nationally and internationally.
  • Workshops, seminars and other structured educational programs that provide knowledge, facilitate learning and share information to enhance entrepreneurial skills and business-critical expertise.

As Executive in Residence (EIR) oceantech leader Shannon Bard will lead successful applicants through a well-defined intake process, review their individual needs, and match them with appropriate support and expertise. 

The Lead of the Climate Venture Studio and Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of British Columbia, Bard has extensive experience in research translation and innovation commercialization of cleantech and sustainability solutions.  She has expertise in marine biology and oceanography, coastal habitat restoration, environmental toxicology, eco-risk and human health assessment, and biomedical research.

“If we want new solutions to climate change problems, we need people who are looking at problems in different ways,” says Bard. “We need a host of different ideas coming from founders that are coming from diverse backgrounds, who have different experiences that can bring the intersectionality of their experiences to the table. The B.C. government is really positioning the province to be a world leader in sustainability, and if we can promote green solutions made in B.C., we can export those solutions around the world.”

“Our mission at COAST is to realize the local opportunities inherent in the US $1.5-trillion global blue economy — a number that’s expected to double by 2030,” says COAST CEO Emilie de Rosenroll. “We’re building on our strengths and have only scratched the surface. B.C. has a major opportunity to play a leadership role in advancing innovative technological solutions that will serve global coastal climate resilience. To do that, we need to support local ideas and startups. By bringing early-stage startups into the C-VAP program we can nurture their potential and contribute to growing this important industry.

The COAST Venture Acceleration Program is delivered by VIATEC, with funding support from Innovate Innovate BC, a Crown Agency of British Columbia that funds and delivers programs that support the growth of the B.C. economy by helping companies start and scale, train talent that meets labour market needs, and encourage technology development, commercialization and adoption. 

VIATEC Program Director Rob Bennett says “we are pleased to be leveraging our 11 years of experience in supporting 200 early-stage entrepreneurs through our accelerator programs to deliver this important community initiative.” 

For details, visit Applicants can direct questions to Rob Bennett at

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