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Connecting sustainable seafood businesses with investors, resources with Fish 2.0

Driving business growth while creating positive environmental and social change might seem a bold endeavour, but the team at Fish 2.0 not only believe it can be done, they’ve created the forum to make it happen.

Now in its second installment, Fish 2.0 is a business competition that connects global sustainable seafood and aquaculture businesses with potential investors. Through the competition, businesses have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a broad range of investors and supply chain partners who are interested in seafood and can help their businesses grow. For investors, the competition exposes them to some of the top business ventures in the seafood sector. In the end, everyone gains from the knowledge and access that Fish 2.0 offers to increase investment in the sustainable seafood sector.

Tides Canada is proud to once again support Fish 2.0, following the success of the competition’s launch in 2013. As part of our work to advance aquaculture solutions that protect wild salmon and the marine environment through the Tides Canada Salmon Aquaculture Innovation Fund, we aim to bring sustainable aquaculture practices to scale through opportunities like Fish 2.0.

Over the past five years, there has been significant progress in the assessment of the technical, biological, and economic feasibility of land-based aquaculture as an alternative means of participating in aquaculture while better protecting wild salmon and the marine environment. Several land-based aquaculture businesses, such as the ‘Namgis First Nation’s Kuterra project, funded by Tides Canada, are producing fish for a very receptive marketplace, while a number of new projects are in the planning phase. Participating in Fish 2.0 will help companies like Kuterra hone their business plans and provide them with a unique opportunity to engage with sector experts and impact investors interested in the sustainable seafood space.

“Fish 2.0 is a unique opportunity to educate investors about the progress that has been made to catalyze a more sustainable aquaculture industry,” says Catherine Emrick, Tides Canada Senior Associate, Aquaculture Innovation. “It does not have to be a choice between economic development or protecting the marine environment—through innovation we can have both.”

In 2013, 160 businesses applied to Fish 2.0. Twenty-one finalists presented to over 100 investors and the majority of the businesses have since reported marked growth in the past year. They have also noted an increase in networking opportunities.

Fish 2.0 offers sustainable seafood businesses the opportunity to gain visibility, find strategic partners and, ultimately, garner new investments in the range of $100,000 to over $10-million. And for investors, Fish 2.0 offers a chance to learn more about the seafood sector and meet emerging industry leaders. Investors can also sign up as competition advisors and judges.

Taryn Goodman of RSF Social Finance offered her perspective: “Being an advisor in Fish 2.0 gave me the opportunity to explore potential deals and work with different entrepreneurs without having to commit to a specific investment. It’s given me new insight about how seafood fits into our food and agriculture work, and how we might expand our investments in this sector.”

The competition is open to both early-stage enterprises and established companies across the globe. Up for grabs is over $180,000 in cash and service prizes, along with direct connections to industry leaders and investors.

Seafood and aquaculture businesses have until April 27, 2015, to register for the 2015 Fish 2.0 business competition at www.fish20.org. The initial application is simple and there is no fee to participate.

Visit the Fish 2.0 website for more information about the competition.

Tides Canada commits to open data for its grantmaking

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Interview with Tara Marsden, Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs Office

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