Nova Scotia-based Clean Valley CIC is a group of young and talented people shaping the future of clean technology.
Clean water is vital for aquafarmers because healthy fish need healthy water. Aquaculture ponds and tanks rely on filtration systems, which often means filtered water needs to be trucked or dumped. So, engineers and scientists at Clean Valley CIC have come up with sustainable solutions by mimicking nature. Through this process of "biomimicry" and through bio-utilization and innovation, they have created a cost-effective, nature-based technology that cleans water.
Clean Valley CIC has built an algae-based filter solution that produces co-products, not waste. As Nicholas H. LaValle, CEO and co-founder of Clean Valley CIC says, "I don't think waste is something that actually exists.
We believe strongly in a re-circulative economy. It's at the heart of Clean Valley CIC's values. The waste and algae from our biofilter are not, in fact, waste. They're a co-product. They can be turned into pharmaceuticals, medical nutraceutical or even fertilizer."
In the future, Clean Valley CIC is looking to collaborate for solutions in the ocean as well. Nicholas reflects on the value their intellectual property can bring to this endeavour. "If we don't have IP to bring forward or to develop or to sell, then we don't have that collaboration."
Nicholas has some advice to offer other young entrepreneurs when it comes to IP strategy.
Knowledge is meant to be shared
"Patents are a way to share your knowledge. When someone reads about it, they can mimic or apply that technology. It is rather brilliant because information is meant to be shared."
Write down your ideas
"IP is very important not only as a way to transfer knowledge but also for what other avenues and applications it could branch out into. So if you have an idea, write it down. If it turns out that you do want a patent at the end of the day, then it's better to have it all written down."
Protect what the industry wants
"A patent can be only as good as the applicable industries. Find someone who believes in your IP and can help you patent it right the first time. Natural creatures or things, for example, are not something you can patent, but a process in itself is something that you could patent."
Use your protection as proof that you've verified your invention
"Going through the process of getting a patent has allowed us to come up with technology that is very well validated. It has been well reviewed and has as much efficacy behind it as possible. IP isn't the single selling point for venture capitalists. But it's always a good box to have ticked in case they want an extra point of verification. It shows how much progress you've made with the technology, where you've invested your time, how your money is invested."
The company has big plans for the future. They are planning to build an oyster hatchery in Nova Scotia for sustainable onshore culture of oysters in collaboration with the Sober Island Oyster Farmers. They would also like to scale up their biofilter technology to treat waste in the ocean, allowing them to contribute to Canada's blue carbon credit market.
To find out more, visit Clean Valley CIC.
Nicholas understands the importance of networks and support. The company is proudly supported by programs like Mitacs and LearnSphere. Clean Valley CIC is also supported by Futurpreneur. This is a non-profit organization helping aspiring entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39. It helps them with sustainable and inclusive economic development in their communities. They offer early-stage, non-collateral financing as well as mentorship and resources. Over the last 25 years, Futurpreneur has supported more than 15,000 diverse entrepreneurs.
Nicholas was part of Futurpreneur's Canadian 2021 delegates at the G20Young Entrepreneurs Alliance (G20 YEA) summit. G20 YEA is a global network of over 500,000 young entrepreneurs and supporting organizations. At the summit, they connect to drive economic growth, innovation and social change. They also advance their businesses, make new connections and explore international growth.
Learn more about intellectual property
A patent is a legal right to prevent others from making, using or selling your invention for up to 20 years in the country or region where your patent is granted. Learn more about patents and how to apply for a patent.
Looking for support for your business? Check out the Government of Canada's business benefits finder tool.