How do you create a better plastic? You make it out of trees.
Advanced BioCarbon 3D (ABC3D), based in B.C.’s Kootenay region, has spent years engineering a way to manufacture bioplastics by extracting the resin from wood chips. The results are plastics that are durable and heat-resistant, and also non-toxic, biodegradable and carbon-negative.
“We’re revolutionizing the plastics industry, making sustainable products that are not only extremely high performing, but cheaper than what’s available now,” says Darryl Fry, CEO of ABC3D.
The next challenge is to scale up. That’s why ABC3D will be showcasing itself at the upcoming #BCTECHSummit, taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre from March 11-13. The event, which is Western Canada’s largest innovation conference, is organized by Innovate BC and the B.C. government.
Innovate BC helps companies like ABC3D access funding, launch their ideas and connect with the experts they need to grow. That makes the organization a key part of B.C.’s innovation ecosystem, helping ensure the development and benefits of a thriving tech sector are felt throughout the province.
Securing $300,000 last year from Innovate BC’s Ignite Program, ABC3D has already made great strides. The company has been able to produce its first line of bioplastic products (3D printing filaments), and work with Selkirk College and MIDAS Fab Lab to help get it to market.
At the #BCTECHSummit, ABC3D will be on “The Ones to Watch” stage. It spotlights under-the-radar innovators whose technology has the potential to transform industries and improve lives. Mr. Fry calls his company’s products part of a climate change solution.
Many smaller tech firms have a similar story. They lack the capital to be the disrupters they envision.
ABC3D is at the commercialization stage, and is actively looking for investors. Mr. Fry says that being at this year’s #BCTECHSummit is an “excellent opportunity and allows us to have access to venture capital contacts.”
A Nov. 2018 report card from KPMG says that B.C.’s tech sector includes more than 10,000 companies, facilitates more than 100,000 jobs, and generates over $17 billion in GDP.
The report says that the industry is growing faster than tech sectors in other Canadian provinces, in key indicators like revenues and employment. Still, there are opportunities for improvement in investing in R&D, and in pursuing available capital.
The #BCTECHSummit connects some of the province’s most innovative and exciting companies (of all sizes) with potential investors, collaborators and mentors. Industry, academia and government are all represented.
“It really is the place to be to meet everyone in this space,” explains Tomica Divic, Vice-President of Operations at Innovate BC.
The sessions range from a discussion by a 15-year-old quantum computing programmer, to lessons from B.C.’s fastest-growing companies.
The theme for this year’s #BCTECHSummit is “The Reality Revolution”. It will show how emerging companies across industries – including cleantech, robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and blockchain – can help tackle some of the biggest challenges facing today’s world.
Innovate BC has also placed an emphasis on attracting participation from people in more traditional sectors, like mining, forestry and agriculture.
“It’s not just about tech people learning from other tech people,” explains Ms. Divic, “We want to show how technology can help take all businesses to the next level.”
Last year a record-breaking 9,000 industry players from more than 26 countries attended #BCTECHSummit-related activities. This year’s event is expected to sell out again.
“Our goal is to educate, inspire and help people connect,” says Ms. Divic. “There are great opportunities to learn, and to find potential partnerships or investments.”
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.