Tech Update: Oneida Energy Storage Project Shows “True Commitment to Indigenous Business Partnerships” and Other Business News


The 250-megawatt Oneida energy storage project is poised to be a breakthrough facility – on several fronts. Not only is the Large Resource Project expected to be one of the largest energy storage facilities in the world, it is also notable for its collaborative and inclusive approach: it is a 50:50 joint venture that is being developed in collaboration with Indigenous partners.

The Ontario Minister of Energy has given the go-ahead to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to proceed with the drafting of a 10-year contract for the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation and the company energy storage facility of Toronto NRStor Incorporated. While indigenous communities are often included in projects only as beneficiaries of impact and benefit agreements, the OES project would see the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, a group that manages the economic interests of the Six Nations. in renewable energy projects, as an equal partner.

The project involves the installation of lithium-ion battery modules on a 10-acre lot along the Hydro One transmission corridor in Haldimand County to reduce reliance on old carbon-intensive generators and the need to build new gas plants. It underwent a lengthy consultation process, soliciting community input on everything from education and employment opportunities and environmental conservation to financial considerations and health and safety planning. In May 2021, the elected council of the Six Nations of the Grand River accepted the OES Project Six Nations Community Investment Review Final Report as presented.

The recommendations echo the calls to action of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released in 2015, which urged the business sector to ensure that Indigenous peoples have equitable access to employment opportunities, training and education, and that indigenous communities acquire long-lasting benefits from economic development projects.

“The Oneida energy storage facility will provide incredible education, training and employment opportunities,” said Matt Jamieson, a member of the Tuscarora Nation and Six Nations of the Grand River resident, as well as president. and CEO of Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation which is co-developing the OES project. “In the long term, the impact on our carbon footprint and our sustainable practices for generations to come will demonstrate a real commitment to partnerships with Indigenous businesses. ”

The need for internship programs, skills training and local workforce employment is particularly important as experts predict that about two-thirds of the jobs currently held by Indigenous workers in Canada are at risk of being eliminated. or radically changed by technology.

From the initial idea to the Memorandum of Understanding, Six Nations were consulted every step of the way to ensure the project truly met the needs of the community.

“Working hand in hand as equal partners made the Oneida project more successful than it could be with either of our groups alone,” says Annette Verschuren, President and CEO of NRStor .

Jamieson agrees the partnership has been productive. “The relationship between the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation and NRStor has been incredibly meaningful, and I look forward to seeing it develop further,” he says. “As we mark the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day this year, it is empowering to look at this partnership and know that we are experiencing a little piece of reconciliation firsthand. ”

Second Standup Venture Fund Brings Hope to Women-Led Startups

The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women in the labor market. And for women entrepreneurs, things got even more difficult. The proportion of venture capital dollars invested in women-led businesses globally fell from low to lower, falling to 2.3% in 2020 from 2.8% a year earlier. Here’s a sobering statistic: It took only five days for the Robinhood trading platform to raise as much money as a year of venture capital investment in all the women-founded companies in the United States. United.

That’s not to say there haven’t been success stories of female-led startups. Take, for example, Axonify, a next generation online training company based in Waterloo. The business, founded by women, was recently sold for $ 313 million and will remain under the management of Carol Leaman.

But triumphs like this are rare. The next generation of women entrepreneurs need early access to a seed funding pipeline to be successful.

This is where StandUp Ventures sees a role to play. The early-stage Toronto investment firm supports emerging companies with at least one woman in an executive position who is a significant shareholder. He recently announced the closure of his second fund, surpassing the original target of $ 30 million with a new target of $ 35 million.

Focusing on the seed stage not only creates strong returns, but also strives to remove barriers faced by female founders looking to elevate their first institutional turn, reach Series A milestones, and to grow their businesses, StandUp Ventures said in a statement. One of his recent investments includes the financial industry-focused legal technology powerhouse, Arteria AI.

“The completion of our Series A has contributed to the growing success of Arteria AI,” said Shelby Austin, CEO of Arteria AI. “We are fortunate to have corporate partners working to open doors for us and connect us with all kinds of exciting opportunities – we are grateful for the support that has enabled us to maximize our potential to leverage. the moon.”

Over the next three to five years, StandUp Ventures plans to invest in more than 15 companies with the second fund, for a total of approximately 30 to 40 investments by the company.

In other news:

  • The demand for online learning software and tools continues to grow. New data from CBInsights has revealed that education technology startups, or edtech, have raised more than $ 8 billion in funding through 471 deals so far this year. Contributing to the edtech turmoil, Waterloo-based e-learning company D2L announced it would go public at a valuation of over $ 1 billion (US). D2L creates the online learning platform Brightspace, which is mainly used by schools and universities. And the Knowledgehook math learning platform, just launched in Mexico (right after it went live in the US, UK and Australia) and recently revealed a mega partnership with the educational publisher Pearson Canada.
  • North America’s largest lithium-ion battery recycling company, Li-Cycle, has secured $ 100 million from Koch Strategic Platforms. The investment will be used to take advantage of growth opportunities in North America, Europe and Asia.

  • Toronto-based medical software startup PhenoTips raised $ 2.5 million in its first round of venture capital funding, led by Toronto-based GreenSky Capital’s GreenSky Accelerator Fund IV.

  • VoltSafe, the maker of a safer, simpler, and smarter alternative to the traditional pin-plug socket, has announced the launch of its pre-Series A funding. The company says the product of the cycle will be used in part to expand the scope of pilot projects, beta testing and customer analysis.

Amanda whalen writes about technology for MaRS. Torstar, the parent company of the Toronto Star, has partnered with MaRS to highlight innovation in Canadian businesses.

Disclaimer This content was produced in partnership and therefore may not meet the standards of impartial or independent journalism.

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