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Conversations in Cleantech:

Our Virtual Incubator Corporate Partners

Conversations in Cleantech 15

Simon Olivier

Vice President,

Growth, Market Strategy and Business Development (M&A),

GE Canada

Delbert Adams

Manager, Product Development,


Bombardier Transportation

Chuck Szmurlo

Vice President,

Alternative & Emerging Technology,

Enbridge

About the SDTC Virtual Incubator Initiative

SDTC’s Virtual Incubator aims to coach entrepreneurs, provide them with introduc-tions to industry partners and suggest additional sources of funding to support pre- commercial demonstration projects and, ultimately, the commercialization of their technologies

Why is incubation or early stage engagement with cleantech innovators important?

Chuck Szmurlo: As ‘Industry’, we don’t have a lock on good ideas—a lot of them come from imaginative entrepreneurs. The SDTC Virtual Incubator process fosters two-way communication, exposing companies like ours to new ideas and giving us the chance to put the issues we’re thinking about on innovators’ radars.

Simon Olivier: The value of SDTC’s incubator eforts is clear to us at GE. Many entrepreneurs have the potential for innovation but developing the technology or business plan or getting funding may be a challenge. In January 2013 we hosted an SDTC ‘Virtual Incubator’ event and, together with the Canadian Electricity Association, invited entrepreneurs to pitch to nation-wide companies and utilities on their cleantech ideas.

Delbert Adams: Innovators are often focused on their technologies: developing a deep and broad understanding of the market is costly and time consuming for them. So this market knowledge and related distribution opportunities are key resources companies like Bombardier bring to the table. I would say incubation is essential for cleantech to be commercialized in a reasonable time frame.

What do you see ahead for cleantech at your company?

Chuck Szmurlo: We have more than $3 billion invested in cleantech. While it’s not a big part of our earnings per share today, it’s defnitely the fastest growing. We’ll continue to invest in it.

Simon Olivier: As will GE. We see cleantech as a key growth engine that touches numerous industries and addresses global challenges.

Delbert Adams: As technologies become more sophisticated, the cost of owning the complete development and production cycle can be prohibitive. We plan to continue collaborating with partners and suppliers on cleantech development. We sponsor open design contests and partner with local and international universities to develop our capacity for innovation. And through our exposure to SDTC, we’ve gained the opportunity to leverage their capabilities for identifying, evaluating and incubating new technologies.

Chuck Szmurlo: Yes, I hope SDTC is able to continue the good work it has been doing in developing cleantech here at home—because we’re going to need these technologies to meet public demand.

Bombardier • Enbridge • GE

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