Seven productive years, but SDTC money soon to run out

Hamilton%2C%20Tyler45X64.jpgPosted by Tyler Hamilton
Sustainable Development Technology Canada, the not-for-profit government agency founded in 2002 to support Canadian cleantech ventures, began its mission with $550 million in funding. For every dollar SDTC invests, it requires that another $2.40 is invested from elsewhere — mostly from the private sector. The result has been investment of more than $1 billion in 190 or so clean technology demonstration projects, ranging from solar, wind and biofuels to waste reduction, water treatment and soil remediation. In seven years, it has gone through 14 funding arounds. This January will be the last round for climate and clean air projects, and water/soil projects will run out of funding later in 2010 — unless, of course, the federal government decides in its next budget to recharge SDTC’s fund, allowing it to continue along the path of investing $80 million to $90 million a year in cleantech projects, which leverages twice as much from the private sector.
Not recharging SDTC’s fund would be unfortunate, in light of recent momentum around investment in climate innovation. SDTC isn’t perfect. Small companies routinely complain of the complexity of the application process, and how they simply don’t have the time or resources to commit to jumping through hoops when that time could be better devoted to the innovation that funding is intended to support. Still, SDTC has played a vital role in helping emerging ventures get through the “valley of death” — that funding chasm that many startups fall into just when they’re prepared to demonstrate and commercialize their products. For this reason, SDTC and its continued funding path is considered crucial to the health and success of Canada’s cleantech sector

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