Skip to main content

Are you an early-stage B.C.-based ocean innovation entrepreneur ready to launch or scale your venture to success?

Advancing Innovation across B.C.’s Ocean Economy

The COAST Venture Acceleration Program (CVAP), delivered in partnership with VIATEC with funding provided by Innovate BC, provides new ventures focused on opportunities in the ocean economy with a proven pathway to growth through online training and coaching sessions.

C-VAP: Guide, Coach & Grow

The COAST Venture Acceleration Program (CVAP), delivered in partnership with VIATEC and COAST, provides new ventures focused on opportunities in the ocean-tech economy with a proven pathway to growth through online training and coaching sessions.

The structured venture development service is designed to guide, coach and grow ambitious early-stage technology entrepreneurs. It is delivered by an Executive in Residence (EIR) and supported by a province-wide network of mentors.

Mentorship by Executive In Residence: Shannon Bard

C-VAP EIR Shannon Bard will lead participating ventures through a well-defined intake process, reviews their individual needs and matches them with appropriate support and expertise. 

Day to day support and coaching, together with ongoing reviews ensure progress is continually maintained.

Dr. Shannon Bard

As the Lead Climate Venture Studio & Entrepreneur in Residence at The University of British Columbia, Shannon Bard is a dynamic leader & innovator with extensive experience in corporate innovation, cleantech & sustainability, habitat restoration & conservation, marine biology, environmental toxicology, eco-risk & human health assessment, and biomedical research.

Shannon provides hands-on support and advice to venture founders and mentors R&D teams in developing and commercializing cutting edge technologies and services across diverse environmental, biomedical, and engineering disciplines. 

She is the founding Director of Coastal Scene Investigation supporting stakeholder engagement in resolving complex interdisciplinary environmental health issues, public marine science education, marine ecotoxicology research & conservation programs. Formerly, Shannon was a professor of Environmental Science at Dalhousie University, Director of the Marine Ecotoxicology Laboratory, co-winner of Senate Environmental Award & inaugural winner of the national YTV Environmental Achievement Award.


What is the C-VAP Program?

The COAST Venture Acceleration Program (VAP) is presented through a partnership with VIATEC and Pacific Canada’s hub for the sustainable blue economy, COAST (Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies). COAST is a branch of the South Island Prosperity Partnership.

Who is Eligible?

Any profit-oriented company located in British Columbia that is focused on marine or ocean-based technology is suitable for this program. While we can support ventures at any stage of development, preference will be given to those entrepreneurs that are dedicated full-time to developing their products and businesses, with less than 100 employees.

How do I get started?

  1. Visit the Venture Acceleration Program on the VIATEC website and click on the VAP Application button.
  2. We will review your application and follow up as soon as possible. If we have any questions about your eligibility we will email you for clarification.
  3. You will be invited to complete the Online Market Validation Training program and be able to contact EiR’s as necessary by scheduling coaching calls with them.
  4. Once you submit your Company Playbook by completing the Online Market Validation Training program, you will be invited to book a meeting with our team or EiR’s to discuss your application and to answer any questions you may have. We will discuss what goals you want to achieve and what type of mentorship you are looking for.
  5. After initial meetings or discussions with the EiR we will provide you with further onboarding information

What is the Online Market Validation Training program and why do I have to complete it before my venture is accepted into C-VAP?

As part of the application process we seek to ensure applicants are exposed to the start-up fundamentals that help to ensure success with their start-ups, as well as informing the C-VAP programs team specifically what their venture is all about. 

Entrepreneurs can work through this material at their own pace, and it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to complete based on how much of the work has already been done. There is no cost to this process, and can be done entirely remotely, and involve as many team members as you wish.

As entrepreneurs work through the MVT modules, they may get stuck on a concept or two, and they can book online coaching calls with our Executives-in-Residence. Sometimes all it needs is the ability to talk through something with an advisor. 

Once the entrepreneur has completed the MVT, they submit their results in the form of a slidedeck called the Company Playbook. The Company Playbook is reviewed by the program team, including the Executive-in-Residence (EiRs). 

Once the entrepreneur has fully completed the Playbook and demonstrated a reasonable level of competency in doing so, a meeting with the applicant helps further define their needs and confirm their suitability for the program.

How much does the program cost?

Program fees are $200 per month, and are waived for up to 6 months for start-ups with no (significant) revenue, and no angel or VC investment. 

What is an EiR (Executive in Residence)?

EiRs act as coach, advisor, mentor and confidante, putting their deep industry knowledge, decades of experience to work helping C-VAP ventures succeed.

Does COAST, VIATEC, C-VAP, its staff, contractors or EIR’s take equity in start ups?

No, we are a not-for-profit service provider delivering a zero-equity-stake program. We do not write cheques or sit on formal boards of directors, or take other forms of program compensation.

Am I enough of a Technology or Innovation-based Business?

Maybe. Probably! We’re happy to grab some time with you to talk more about your business and how we can support you.

How do I know that my IP is protected in the C-VAP Program?

C-VAP is bound by several confidentiality terms and conditions within our service contracts. Your IP is safe with us and we will not share your ideas.

How long does the program run for?

The minimum amount of time we ask ventures to commit to is 6 – 8 months.  

How do I Apply?

The COAST Venture Acceleration Program is delivered through our partners at VIATEC.
Visit the
Venture Acceleration Program page on their website.

Click on the VAP Application link to begin the process, or contact Program Director Rob Bennett at

Where are the opportunities in Canada’s Ocean Economy?

Canada’s ocean, or blue, economy’s future focus lies in better ocean management and sustained efforts to reduce climate change. This is leading to substantial changes and new opportunities within the various sectors of the ocean economy.

A string of enabling technologies promises to stimulate improvements in efficiency, productivity and cost structures in many ocean activities, from scientific research and ecosystem analysis to shipping, shipbuilding, energy, fisheries/aquaculture and tourism & marine recreation. 

Some of these technologies and trends include:


  • Cleaner shipping and goods transport 
  • Integrated supply-chain management and traceability 
  • Offshore wind energy and water-situated solar arrays 
  • Ocean tidal energy 
  • Imaging and physical sensors 
  • Satellite & Lidar technologies 
  • Advanced materials and shipbuilding advancements 
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) and its applications to ocean and marine sectors
  • Ocean data management, big data analytics and blockchain 
  • Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and Autonomous Operated Vehicles (AOVs) 
  • Biotechnology and nanotechnology 
  • Subsea engineering 
  • Invasive species, wild fish stock and fish farm monitoring and interventions 
  • Sustainable fisheries management 
  • Ocean acidification monitoring and mitigation 
  • Ocean waste management and prevention 
  • Indigenous economy, ecosystem management and traditional knowledge 
  • Tsunami warning and other wave monitoring 
  • Carbon sequestration and removal

Pacific Canada’s Ocean Potential


The projected value of global ocean opportunity by 2030, outpacing the growth of the broader economy by close to 20%.

$31B CDN

The contribution of Canadian ocean and marine sectors to the national economy each year


Economists and analysts expect a five-to-one ROI made in a sustainable ocean economy for the next 30 years.


70% of world is covered by ocean and over 3 billion people rely on marine and coastal biodiversity


BC is a world leader in climate policy and home to hundreds of clean tech & digital tech companies - competencies that apply to BlueTech


The majority of B.C.’s population lives in coastal zone = over 300 communities and 80 Coastal First Nations


BC’s ocean tech businesses located on Vancouver Island


Ocean economy is vital to B.C. = 8% of GDP