In an article entitled “Cleantech Commons Construction On Track, Multi-tenant Announcement Looming“, Martin Yuill, the research park’s executive director, tells Robbins: “despite everything that COVID threw at us over the last 10 months, we managed to remain largely ‘on track’ at the Cleantech Commons construction site.”
“It’s definitely still full steam ahead” for the new 85-acre development, Yuill says.
The article is based on an interview conducted at the beginning of 2021, in which Yuill described to Robbins how the Trent University-aligned research park is fashioning a unique clean technology hub that is both responsive to the needs of the cleantech sector and is creating a connected community of innovation.
“Cleantech Commons is not only being thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of Canada’s emerging cleantech innovators and entrepreneurs but is also fully integrated with the Trent University campus to encourage social interaction and collaboration, is a leader in sustainable design, and is well connected to the city and region in which it is located.”
This will all help to achieve the research park’s long-term goal of generating, attracting, and retaining leading science and clean technology companies and talent.
“These are the very folks who are innovating, creating, commercializing, and operating in one of the most vibrant, sustainable, forward-looking, and fastest-growing sectors of the economy,” Yuill told Robbins.
While servicing activities at Cleantech Commons during COVID-19 have faced the challenges of enhanced health and safety protocols, disruptions to the supply chain, procurement issues, and even some unavoidable approval delays, the provision of municipal services to the park continued throughout 2020.
“Overall, we have taken significant strides forward,” Yuill says.
He believes that in the first part of 2021, Cleantech Commons will be ready to announce some exciting new partnerships and conclude a number of key negotiations that will enable an announcement about the first multi-tenant commercial building at Cleantech Commons.
Part of this will include the Trent Enterprise Centre: a startup and spin-out support facility and accelerator centre for up-and-coming new cleantech ventures.
The Enterprise Centre will help create experiential learning and future employment opportunities for students, will generate science-based jobs for our community, and will provide value-adding services to students, faculty, researchers, and industry tenants.
Located at what Yuill calls “the very heart of Cleantech Commons”, the Enterprise Centre will enable the research park to become a much more integrated and vibrant community of cleantech innovation – one that brings together industry with academia, students, and the research community to create clean, green, and low-carbon solutions to the most pressing and complex energy, environment, and climate challenges.
“These are the technologies that will help move us closer to a net-zero future and will generate sustainable high-value cleantech jobs for Peterborough & the Kawarthas,” Yuill says.
The Enterprise Centre will also provide value-added support services and co-working spaces for aspiring student entrepreneurs, as well as commercialization training for researchers.
Yuill says that together, the availability of value-added services and entrepreneurship programming will give students the opportunity to end their time at Trent University with more than just a degree, but also with the skills required to be a cleantech entrepreneur, with marketable skills that will give them the edge in a competitive job market, and potentially even with a startup of their own.
“All in all,” Yuill concludes, “2021 is set to be an exciting year for Cleantech Commons.”