Helping start-ups access field trial funding

COSIA helps startups bridge funding gaps

One way that COSIA supports start-up companies is by identifying opportunities for them in the innovation ecosystem – including helping them bridge funding gaps. As public funding calls are announced, COSIA ensures that they are communicated to its technical teams who can gauge COSIA member interest. 

We quickly recognized that COSIA could add additional value by working with our members – who represent 90 per cent of all oil sands production – to identify specific project opportunities that might suit a funding call. We could then support the start-up by helping them develop the bid documents. COSIA has now formalized this process. Here’s how it works.

Once a major public funding program is announced, COSIA engages with its members to understand if they have a technology or know a start-up that would qualify for the funding call. If a start-up is nominated, COSIA engages with them to better understand their interest. 

COSIA then establishes a “bid team” made up of COSIA staff, at least one representative from a member company who is supportive of the technology, and the start-up’s management team. We host a weekly bid team call to walk the start-up through the process and ensure the management team is able to put the funding bid together. 

COSIA does not write the proposal. We leave the bid writing up to the start-up as the management team can best explain their technology and how they propose to test it in the field. 

COSIA’s role is to act as coordinator and provide technical input and clarification. We identify additional third-party resources, such as a greenhouse gases (GHG) expert who is able to quantify the impact of the technology on tailing pond emissions, for example. We also shortlist several proposal writers for consideration to help the start-up fine-tune their bid.

COSIA identifies organisations that would provide letters of support and/or participate in the project to bring additional capabilities. As a last step, we coordinate a review of the final submission. If the start-up is asked to present a formal pitch, COSIA will ensure the management team has a dry run with industry representatives beforehand.

COSIA recently helped clean tech innovator, H2nanO Inc. submit a successful bid to Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) to fund a field trial. The ERA invests in a diverse portfolio of transformative, sustainable technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The two-year project will accelerate scale-up of the Waterloo based company’s unique technology on an oil sands site, testing its effectiveness on fugitive emissions from tailings ponds. The project is being funded equally by ERA and COSIA members.

Written by Peter Beaudoin, COSIA's Senior Advisor, Strategy and Partnerships 

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