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Accelerating Canadian Cleantech Pt. 2 with Heather Stephens and Ryan Bourns

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September 29, 2023

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Canada has some of the most talented innovators in the world. Across the country, cleantech entrepreneurs are busy developing amazing solutions that can help us reach emissions targets, and transition to a net zero economy. Yet, many of those solutions won’t see the light of day. 

High operational costs, low rates of domestic adoption, and lack of access to funding are a few of the major challenges that prevent cleantech ventures from developing and deploying their products into the market. Which is where accelerators like Foresight step in. 

On this episode of Cleantech Forward, Foresight CEO Jeanette Jackson sits down with Heather Stephens of Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA), an organization that provides funding for cleantech projects, and Ryan Bourns, the Business Strategy Development Manager at Carbon Upcycling Technologies, an Alberta-based CCUS company that has received funding from ERA. 

Together, the three discuss the challenges innovators face, the state of cleantech adoption in Canada, and why it’s so important that accelerators offer their services to Canadian entrepreneurs.

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Heather Stephens is ERA’s Chief Operating Officer. Heather has worked with ERA since inception and has played a key role in operating and growing the organization over the past 12 years. In her current role, Heather leads teams responsible for finance, project portfolio management, information technology, contract management, governance, and Human Resources.

As a Chartered Professional Accountant, Heather brings her extensive background in audit and financial accounting with not-for-profit organizations, Government of Alberta agencies, as well as various private and public Canadian and International companies.

Prior to joining ERA directly, Heather spent 20 years with the multi-national accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in both the Edmonton and London, UK offices, the last nine of which were primarily dedicated to helping establish and operate ERA (formerly Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation). Heather graduated from the University of Alberta with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce degrees.

As Business Strategy Development Manager, Ryan Bourns is accountable for the commercialization of Carbon Upcycling’s proprietary technology. He plays a key role in the execution of the Company’s strategy and further development in the North American region. Throughout his four years with the Company, Ryan has taken part in several global initiatives, such as the Carbon XPRIZE challenge, as well as industry leadership through Minister Champagne’s working group on decarbonizing cement. Ryan is a University of Calgary alumni, holding a master in sustainable energy development. He also holds a bachelor of commerce from the University of Guelph.

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