Canada and Sweden are hoping for new green partnerships
Several significant connections have been established between Swedish startups and Canadian companies who were present at the Swedish-Canadian Innovation Days in Toronto at the end of September. Paper Province was there to represent the members and strengthen an already existing collaboration.
“A close relationship between the two countries is of great importance to accelerate a green transition. There is a great potential for many of our member companies to collaborate with our friends on the other side of the Atlantic,” says Paul Nemes, Deputy CEO Paper Province.
On 20-23 September, the Swedish-Canadian Innovation Days were held in Toronto, organised by Business Sweden on behalf of Vinnova. Paper Province, Sting Bioeconomy and several Swedish startups and innovation actors flew there to be deepen our already existing collaboration with Canada and to make valuable new contacts.
Focus on common challenges
The main focus of the trip for Paper Province was the bioeconomy side event organised together with Sting Bioeconomy and Paper Province’s Canadian partner, CRIBE (Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bioeconomy). The event was funded by iHubs Sweden. The day included both a workshop and matchmaking between Swedish companies and Canadian organisations. The aim was to identify synergies and pinpoint areas of collaboration in the bioeconomy.
Mikael Hannus, Senior Vice President, Group Innovation R&D, Stora Enso kick-stated the bioeconomy side event, underlining the importance of forest-based innovations in accelerating the green transition.
Paper Province and CRIBE then held a workshop focusing on common challenges and opportunities with biomaterials. Among other things, they were able to identify areas of cooperation more precisely as well as possible collaborative projects, said Paul Nemes.
“For example, we need to map our respective ecosystems, to better understand each other, our stakeholders and what we have to offer. When you have that information, you have a completely different basis from which involve each other in a project or activity.”
During the workshop, it was noted that Canada has a strong manufacturing sector looking for renewable and low-carbon solutions and Sweden has a strong startup culture. Therefore, continued efforts are needed to find a way to match the two countries, to create new opportunities.
Bioeconomy speed matching
In the afternoon, Sting Bioeconomy organised a matchmaking event for the Swedish startups Richter Life Science, Fibu, Reselo, Cellfion, SentianAI and Lignin Industries and the Canadian organisations Plantee Bioplastic, CKD Pack, West Fraser, Element 5, FPInnovations and Enerlab. The matchmaking was very successful and resulted in many potential future collaborations.
Paper Province’s member company Fibu has developed protective wood fibre products that can reduce the use of single-use plastics. Founder Majid Alimadadi was very pleased after the event.
“We had two really good meetings. One with a large company that we can see as a future partner and one with a potential larger customer. In two weeks, the latter will come to Sweden and I invited them to visit us. There is also a third very interesting company that I will meet in the next few days,” says Majid.
Henrik Otendal is one of the founders of Paper Province member Reselo – the company that can create fossil-free rubber from birch bark. He says the matchmaking event was very rewarding because it resulted in concrete cooperation opportunities going forward.
“The contacts we made are worth their weight in gold. I got at least two really good matches who wanted to do something together with us. One of them is a huge company that makes packaging for the automotive industry and uses a material that ours could replace. We’re going to send them material samples so they can test our product in a specific application. They also have an investor network and are now making sure we get to pitch to them in December.”
Many green Canadian-Swedish opportunities
During the three days, many common Canadian-Swedish low-carbon opportunities were discussed. These included a separate CRIBE event – the Biomass Biocarbon for Heavy Industries Forum, where green steel was discussed. The Innovation Days main event delved into AI as a faster route to a green mining industry, among other topics.
In conclusion, both Canada and Sweden are looking at electrification strategies such as electric vehicles and energy storage. Canada also has a robust strategy for critical minerals and Sweden is making progress in creating biochar/hard coal technologies. It was also seen that there is continued interest in both countries in sustainable building solutions – an area of growth and opportunity.
Paul Nemes is pleased with the days and is convinced that the trip was valuable for many the companies.
“I am pleased that the participation in the Innovation Days, and specifically our Bioeconomy side event, has created value for our participating companies, for Sting Bioeconomy, for CRIBE and for the companies and organisations from the CRIBE ecosystem that participated. Together, we can accelerate the forest bioeconomy. I am also particularly pleased that our participation took place in a national context, through close cooperation with the other iHubs Sweden environments, with Vinnova and with Business Sweden, thereby enabling us to share our experiences with relevant stakeholders nationally.”
The Swedish-Canadian Innovation Days were organised by Ignite Sweden, AI Sweden, Business Sweden, The DMZ, European- Canadian Centre for Innovation and Research and were enabled with funding from Vinnova – Sweden’s innovation authority. The Bioeconomy side event was synchronised within the framework of iHubs Sweden, which also included an IndTech track, with PiiA and Automation Region as main organisers.