Emerging as a global centre of cleantech innovation, British Columbia has enjoyed economic expansion courtesy of cleantech entrepreneurs who have launched dozens of new, high-growth companies.
The sector has created thousands of high-paying tech jobs for British Columbians and attracted billions in investment dollars for commercialization of BC products and services meant for export around the world, according to the BC Cleantech 2016 Status Report. The study — which surveyed BC cleantech companies to assess the space’s size, health, and impact — was conducted by KPMG Canada in collaboration with the BC Cleantech Alliance.
Employment in the sector grew rapidly, with the number of cleantech companies rising 35% to 273; the number of BC-based employees increased 20% to 8,560 last year, and is expected to grow to 9,800 in 2017. In addition, total employment in BC by cleantech respondents went up by 18% in 2016. Average wages reached $84,000, a 24% jump compared to $68,000 in 2009, making the industry a high-value employer for BC residents.
“The cleantech sector continues to both experience and drive growth in our province, as well as provide an attractive investment opportunity for British Columbians,” said Lorne Burns, a partner in KPMG Canada and author of the report. “The jobs it offers are desirable ones – average salaries are high and the technologies these jobs produce contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable world.”
BC’s cleantech industry has considerable reach, with firms selling a considerable quantity of their products and services outside the province. The survey determined that the US is the largest export market, which is expected to be the case over the next three to five years. The share of Europe, Asia, and other countries put together is projected to reach a third of total revenue by 2021.
“Over the past five years, BC's cleantech sector has emerged as a global leader of cleantech innovation, investment and job creation,” said Jonathan Rhone, who chairs the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance. “As the sector expands, competes and wins in the $3 trillion global cleantech market, the industry is becoming a critical driver of innovation and economic growth for the province and for Canada.”
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