Sweden and Canada strengthen cooperation for forest-based innovations
In mid-June, Paper Province and Sting Bioeconomy travel to Toronto and Vancouver together with seven Swedish start-ups to explore collaborations around forest-based innovations. The trip deepens an ongoing collaboration and creates business opportunities for companies in both Sweden and Canada.
The start-ups participating in the trip 15 – 21 June are Biosorbe, Bright Day Graphene, Ecopals, Melker of Sweden, Richter Life Science, Reselo and Tubesprout. The goal is to create new collaborations and business opportunities. In Canada, the Swedish companies will connect with important enablers for forest innovations as well as potential partners and customers.
“Since we base our production of graphene on lignin, we are very interested in establishing contacts with future collaborators in Canada’s strong bioeconomy”, says Anna Carlsson, CEO of Bright Day Graphene.
“The trip is an opportunity for us to connect with potential business partners in this strong network. We hope to return with new opportunities for collaboration and interesting projects”, she continues.
“For us, this means an opportunity to meet potential partners in process and material development for our innovative kayaks together with other Swedish companies. We also hope to meet investors for the establishment of product manufacturing in Canada for the North American market”, says Pelle Stafshede, CEO of Melker of Sweden.
Deepening the collaboration
The agenda includes participation in a conference on bioeconomy, workshops and matchmaking events where participants will be able to showcase and learn about groundbreaking innovations from the forest as well as explore possible cross-border collaborations. The trip is organised by Paper Province, Sting Bioeconomy and Business Sweden, in close cooperation with Canadian actors such as CRIBE (Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bioeconomy).*
“It is thanks to successful results from previous, similar matchmaking efforts in collaboration with CRIBE that we have the opportunity to meet again and deepen the cooperation”, says Paul Nemes, deputy CEO of Paper Province. “Even though we are so far apart geographically, we have managed to build a strong common network where we create value for both Swedish and Canadian companies.”
Far away but similar
CRIBE is Ontario’s leading accelerator for forest innovation. Like Paper Province, they work to support and develop a sustainable and thriving bioeconomy rooted in the forest. By bringing together researchers, businesses and the public in different types of collaboration efforts, they push innovative development forward.
“We have a well-developed ecosystem for forest bioeconomy Sweden with epicentre in and around Värmland, where actors such as Paper Province and Sting Bioeconomy act as catalysts. In a similar way, the forest bioeconomy develops around Ontario, where we have a counterpart in the form of CRIBE”, says Paul Nemes.
Relationship with deep roots
The collaboration between Sweden and Canada on forest opportunities has been going on for several years. In 2016, the countries signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation in research, innovation and trade for forest-based products. Since then, several joint activities have been carried out.
One example is from last autumn when the Swedish-Canadian innovation days were organised in Toronto to exchange experiences, find synergies and create new contacts and business opportunities. During this event, Paper Province, Sting Bioeconomy and CRIBE organised side events with a focus on forest bioeconomy together with selected start-up companies.
“Canada has a strong industry that is looking for renewable and low-carbon solutions and Sweden is strong on innovation with many outstanding start-up companies. Therefore, it is so important to develop the collaboration between the countries and together become pioneers in showing how the forest can be part of the solutions to several of the global challenges that we face”, concludes Paul Nemes.
*The trip and the innovation-promoting efforts are organised within the framework of the projects Vinnväxt and Focus Industry Spets. Vinnova supports participating companies with travel grants.