Work on ocean hub to begin next year with appointment of chief executive

The work to establish an ocean innovation hub in Greater Victoria that will develop new companies focused on the water and create 1,000 new jobs will start next year with the appointment of a chief executive and the start of a fundraising campaign.

A business case prepared for the South Island Prosperity Partnership, the City of Victoria and the Association of B.C. Marine Industries, released ­Wednesday, outlined fundraising goals and timelines to establish the regional hub.

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Emilie de Rosenroll, chief executive of the Prosperity Partnership, said the global ocean economy is expected to double to $3 trillion by 2030, representing a massive growth opportunity.

“It’s time for the south Island and Pacific Canada to capitalize on our many ocean and marine assets to play an important global role in that economy,” she said.

Alex Rueben, executive director of the Association of B.C. Marine Industries, said the hub will support businesses in commercializing products and services, developing new technologies and growing into new markets.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said enacting the plan will put Greater Victoria on the map as one of the best places in the world to start and grow an ocean company.

Early next year, the hub is expected to appoint a chief ­executive who will meet with all levels of government and private industry to secure funding for the project, including a physical location.

The business case lays out the expected impact of various levels of funding, ranging from establishing a work space and start-up incubator program at the $5-million level to having multiple buildings, dozens of companies and a $50-million venture fund at the $100-million level, and ultimately an ocean-innovation district with more than 100 companies, large ­venture funds and a globally ­recognized ocean tech cluster at the $160-million level.

“At the lower levels, there will be a significant economic impact on the regional economy, but it will take full funding participation of industry, government and investors to have a transformative effect on the global ocean economy,” the report noted.

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