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Clean then dirty then clean again.

Manufacturers go through a lot of water. And what comes out of an industry plant ain't as clean as what goes in. Cleaning up that wastewater costs North American companies, including pharmaceutical and chemical companies, at least $30 billion every year.

That's where BC-based Axine Technologies comes in with its innovative technology that destroys the toxic pollutants in industrial wastewater. The clean technology's modular "plug n' play" format represents a major breakthrough, making it easy to integrate into existing plants. Check. The fact that it also treats wastewater on-site, as opposed to trucking it offsite for treatment, means significant cost savings for plant owners. Check. And doing it chemical-free with fewer by-products means less environmental harm. Checkmate.

The long road to success.

Axine had to go through many steps before it could enter this multi-billion global market.

It began in the classic basement workshop. But turning early research into a real product took a combination of seasoned management, experienced investors and a wickedly talented technology team. It also took huge support from government, including through the Industrial Research Assistance Program, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Western Economic Diversification and the BC Innovation Council.

Now the accolades are rolling in. This year Axine was named to the Global Cleantech 100 for the second time in 4 years, being recognized as one of the "companies that are best positioned to solve tomorrow's clean technology challenges".

A big but...

The downer in this emerging success story is that Axine's customers are all international, not Canadian. The reason? Axine CEO Jonathan Rhone explains that Canada's water and wastewater regulations are lagging behind the U.S., China and Europe "by many years". In other words, potential Canadian customers think, "why invest in better wastewater treatment if we don't have to?".

Accelerating clean innovation in Canada means government leading with world-class environmental regulations. That helps clean innovators secure domestic customers, which is often the boost a firm needs before tapping export markets. Find out more through Smart Prosperity's latest work on Accelerating #CleanInnovation.

Also: Watch a private investor explain how he's cashing in on Axine.