$200K in funding for green tech start-ups
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | November 23, 2017|
Two emerging county businesses received a massive financial boost Tuesday afternoon.
Representatives from Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC), Haliburton County Development Corporation (HCDC) and the Government of Canada announced a $100,000 investment in Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve’s biochar project and another $100,000 for Minden’s Quantum Passivhaus Nov. 21.
Andy Campbell, executive director of the HCDC, told Wendy Curtis, executive director of the Northumberland CFDC, “we would like to thank you for your support for a couple of projects we’ve got underway in Haliburton County.”
Malcolm Cockwell, managing director of Haliburton Forest, wants to see the company’s subsidiary, Haliburton Forest Biochar (HFB), reach a commercial scale.
The $100,000 investment will help, he said during a brief press conference Tuesday afternoon.
“We still have a long way to go, but we’re doing things that no one else is doing,” said Cockwell at HFB’s headquarters on Kennaway Road. “And we’re doing these things right here, in Haliburton.”
HFB uses the waste from low quality timber collected from the Forest’s saw mill and turns it into biochar, which can enhance plant growth or sequester carbon.
The $100,000 investment is part of a total project cost of about $671,000. In Minden, Quantum Passivhaus is a house design and build company, composed of both passive house-certified builders and planners. It provides smart homes and properties that meet current lifestyle needs.
The grant will help create the Minden Passive House Centre, at 8 Peck St., which will comprise a manufacturing facility, showroom and training centre.
Chip Robinson, one of the principals, said during a short press conference Tuesday afternoon that, “we are really grateful for the support from the government of Canada.
Starting something like this is not for the feint of heart … it’s a bit of a roller coaster. And, we had some additional challenges built in like the flood and all the things that you go through as a start-up.”
He said the grant has already helped them to purchase equipment and upgrade electricals to run that equipment at the $350,000 centre. He said the support is helpful “because frankly I’m not sure we would have done it without it … it just helps us get over that start-up hump and get through.”
The investments come from the Eastern Ontario Development Program’s Collaborative Economic Development Projects’ funding stream.
Curtis said she was very intrigued by HFB’s ongoing development of green technology.
“This project has so much potential to grow,” she said, adding it could one day create up to 20 jobs.
In Minden, Curtis said every year funds are set aside for projects “that have the propensity to have a greater, broader, regional impact … further than just the local CDC area.”
She said Quantum Passivhaus qualified for a number of reasons, including business expansion, manufacturing, job creation (they plan to hire at least six people), innovation and green technology.
Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, also released a statement about the two projects.
“We are proud to support projects with companies like Haliburton Forest Biochar Ltd. as they commercialize green technology, expand their facilities and create jobs for Canadians,” said the statement.
About the Minden project, he added, “I’m proud to see this company growing to provide innovative clean building solutions to area residents with this investment and support from the CFDC’s.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.