The Netherlands is an unrivaled leader at the forefront of water technology innovation. With remarkable successes in developing water tech, it holds immense potential for revolutionizing Metro Vancouver’s water sector. This is why on June 9th, the Vancouver-Netherlands Exchange on Water Tech Cluster Building event, hosted by Foresight Canada and Invest Vancouver, provided a platform to explore this potential and learn from the Dutch experience.
The event, organized in collaboration with the NL Consulate in Vancouver, brought together key stakeholders from various sectors. The focus was on cluster building in British Columbia, where the plan is to establish a water tech cluster. The organizers aimed to gain insights from the successful WaterCampus in the Netherlands, specifically from the perspective of Water Alliance, Wetsus, and Provincie Friesland.
The Dutch panel, comprising Hein Molenkamp (Managing Director, Water Alliance), Inez Dinkla (Program Manager and Theme Coordinator, Wetsus), and Roelof Jansma (Senior Policy Advisor, Provincie Friesland), shed light on the Water Campus and its successes. They brought up diverse perspectives to the discussion, highlighting the collaborative efforts and innovative approaches employed at the Water Campus.
Canadian panelists, including Shannon Bard (Lead Climate Venture Studio, entrepreneurship@UBC), Lillian Zaremba (Program Manager, Collaborative Innovations, Metro Vancouver), David Tsui (Director General at Pacific Economic Development Canada), and Saad Dara (CEO & Co-Founder, Mangrove Lithium), shared their insights and perspectives during the event. Their participation added depth to the discussions, providing a Canadian context to the exchange.
The online event comprised two-panel discussions, featuring representatives from academia, industry, and government from both the Netherlands and British Columbia. The aim was to draw lessons from the Dutch cluster-building experience, evaluate the current state of Brithish Colombia’s water innovation ecosystem, and chart a path forward for future cluster development and international collaboration. The webinar provided a significant step toward unlocking the potential of Dutch water technology innovation in Metro Vancouver. By learning from the Dutch experience and fostering international collaboration.
WaterCampus Leeuwarden has fostered a thriving ecosystem, resulting in the emergence of over 200 new water tech companies. This collaboration between government, industry, and academia serves as an exemplary model for other regions looking to develop their water technology sectors.