By: Amarpreet Kaur, RIC Centre Communications Officer
Who would have thought?
Daniel Bida, Executive Director of the ZooShare Biogas Cooperative, is making this a reality! Daniel initiated the biogas project in 2010, built on his knowledge of the biogas industry and his passion for community power. When he pitched the idea of a community-owned zoo-based biogas plant to the Toronto Zoo, his proposal was gladly accepted and a strong partnership with formed.
In March 2015, ZooShare announced that after 18 months they had successfully raised $2.2 million from over 300 local investors to construct North America’s first zoo biogas plant, located across the street from the Toronto Zoo.
ZooShare plans to recycle 17,000 tonnes of zoo manure and local grocery store waste into 500 kilowatts worth of renewable power for the Ontario grid. “We’re very excited to be located within the boundaries of Toronto, it gives us a distinct advantage that we can share with organic waste producers looking for a economically and environmentally friendly option for their waste,” says Daniel.
Daniel found the RIC Centre, a technology incubator in West GTA, and was able to get mentorship and industry connections from Entrepreneur-in-Residence James Sbrolla. Daniel mentions “RIC Centre was very helpful in providing pitch opportunities and workshops where I could learn and evolve as an entrepreneur.” By attending RIC Centre’s Growing Your Business seminars and workshops, Daniel made personal connections with other entrepreneurs and learned valuable skills to help him succeed in his business.
With the funds in the bank, the next steps for ZooShare involve securing an environmental permit to build and operate the biogas plant, and beginning construction, which it hopes will start in the fall of this year! RIC Centre is proud that their client is able to validate their business model and engage the community in a project that will truly make a positive impact and contribute to Toronto Zoo’s mandate of conservation, education and sustainability. We wish ZooShare success and will continue working together to help make Daniel’s vision a reality!