Project Title:

Synergy Foundation Leads Innovative Circular Economy Project with Coastal Businesses

Project Organization:

Synergy Foundation

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $50,000
  • Total Budget: $229,696

Project Highlight:

This initiative empowers small and medium enterprises in rural and urban communities across the coast to develop sustainable competitive advantages.

Synergy Foundation aims to build on its successful pilot project, which helped 16 small businesses improve their operations, with a new three-year Vancouver Island-Coast Circular Economy Ecosystem Project. The new initiative is divided into four phases, including rural and urban business transition training, entrepreneurial training, and Cluster Hub Strategy.

Phase 1 applications for the rural and urban Business Transition Training Program opened on April 3, 2024.

Island Coastal Economic Trust is investing with Synergy Foundation into the Vancouver Island-Coast Circular Economy Ecosystem Project through its Capital and Innovation Program. The Trust will contribute $50,000 towards a total new investment in the region of $229,696 . This investment contributes to the first two phases of the larger initiative, successfully delivering results within the Trust’s Innovation and Technology impact focus.

The Trust has previously invested in similar projects, including phase one of this initiative, led by Vancouver Island Coast Economic Developer’s Association, and the Seafood Business Accelerator.

Strengthening Community Wellbeing: 

This circular economy project strives to assist small and medium sized enterprises gain a competitive advantage by implementing sustainable practices. The early phases of the project will support 15 business in urban communities and 12 in rural communities across Vancouver Island and the coast region. The initiative is expected to positively impact community wellbeing in a variety of ways.

Climate Resiliency: The project’s primary focus is implementing climate resiliency practices into small and medium enterprises across the Trust’s Region. Participating businesses will complete an on-site assessment with a circular advisor and receive an opportunity assessment detailing suggested actions to implement circular economy solutions, reducing waste, energy use, and emissions. They will also receive environmental metrics that they can use to track sustainability performance. The move towards more sustainable and efficient use of resources equips both communities and businesses to mitigate and adapt to evolving climate challenges.

Economic Prosperity: By participating in this circular economy project, 27 small and medium-sized enterprises will take significant steps towards including circularity in their operations. As a result, these businesses are expected to see reduced operational costs and increased competitiveness.  This also stimulates local economies by promoting the growth of circular products and services, leading to multi-sector collaborations or partnerships.

Social Empowerment: Through their commitment to implementing circular economy practices, business owners can position themselves as Green Leaders. Building a resilient local economy will also help create new jobs and sustain existing employment opportunities on Vancouver Island and surrounding coastal communities.

What Leaders Are Saying:

“The pilot project highlighted the power of collaboration and effective partnerships by fostering a vibrant circular ecosystem. The businesses we worked with openly embraced circularity and we are excited to build off the momentum gained through that project. By providing support to more businesses on Vancouver Island in the transition to a circular economy, we will create broader impact and increased resilience in our communities.” – Georgia Lavender, Director of Program Operations, Synergy Foundation

“With our new wellbeing framework, our Capital and Innovation program invests in projects that include more than economic development to improve overall community wellbeing. After its successful pilot project, we are excited to invest in this initiative. Synergy Foundation has demonstrated their circular economy model and its positive impact on environmental sustainability for participating businesses.” – Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust

Media Contacts

Jeff Bartlett
Communications and Impact Manager
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Georgia Lavender
Director of Program Operations


Island Coastal Economic Trust funded this project on November 2023 through the Capital and Innovation program.