Blue Mentorship and Leadership Pathways

Welcome to the Innovation Ecosystem Program, funded by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster! It aims at improving national connectivity and innovative culture within the ocean sector to support the Canadian Blue Economy Strategy. Our mission is to strengthen the links between small and large companies to foster new supply chain partnerships, expand the number of ocean shared resources, increase commercialization from post-secondary institutions, and encourage new entrants into the ocean economy, both talent and companies. 

At the heart of the Blue Mentorship and Leadership project is the belief in the strength of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in supporting innovation and growth of the ocean sector.

Project Information

The Blue Mentorship and Leadership Pathways project is part of a broader initiative started by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, the Ocean Leaders Impact Program (OLIP). It aims to build a more robust and innovative marine sector by increasing diversity and creating a system for professional enhancement within the sector through a strong and sustainable mentorship network.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is one of the driving principles of this project that will ensure that women, Indigenous participants, and other visible minorities have access to more meaningful opportunities under this project.

To achieve this objective the project aims to:

  • Recruit at least 50 new Ocean Experts whose skills fill a gap in the Canadian Blue Economy sector.
  • Develop a stronger peer mentorship network amongst a minimum of 30 Ocean Founders.
  • Foster at least 50 new mentor relationships between Ocean Experts and Founders; and
  • Attract at least 20 diverse and/or underrepresented employees or mentors to Canadian ocean SMEs 

Mentorship Component

ECO’s Mentorship program connects Ocean Founders with Experts to exchange ideas and advice. Registered participants receive three toolkits promoting diversity and inclusivity in the Ocean sector. After piloting and promoting best practices, ECO Canada plans to hand over the program to Ocean Founders.

Ocean Experts (mentors)

Expert mentors will be recruited based on identified skills gaps within the cohort of Ocean Founders. Well-established professionals with experience in desired areas can participate in the program on an organizational or individual basis. Potential mentors will be contacted by the project manager for more information about the online platform and enrollment.

Ocean Founders (mentees)

The program is designed for new Ocean entrepreneurs, evolving leaders, and recent graduates. Mentees can join individually or organizationally, signing up with their organization’s name. PM contacts them for platform and enrollment details.

Commitment to the mentorship

  • Period: April to July 2023
  • Time Commitment: 1 hour per week

For more information: mcourtois@eco.ca 


Mentors and mentees will be supported by 3 toolkits to help maximize their potential within the program. Each toolkit takes an evidence-based approach to provide guidance on how to build an inclusive organization and access the largest possible pool of talent in Canada’s workforce.

Toolkit #1 – Recruiting new talent in the Ocean sector.

Toolkit #2 – Developing existing talents and helping them progress.

Toolkit #3 – Establishing effective mentorship.

The toolkits are established with the input of industry representatives in the environmental and ocean sector and will be available online for all participants of the program. They will also be shared through ECO’s network of professionals after the completion of the project in July.


Targeted toward potential mentors and mentees, webinars are also available for external professionals, organizations, and associations. They will cover leadership and technical skills in the Blue Economy sector and highlight diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.

Do not miss out on this opportunity to stay up to date and enhance your skills in the Blue Economy sector, and register now for the upcoming webinars! Sessions include:

March 30th – 1-2 pm EST – Talent in Blue Economy: Explore some best practices in inclusive talent development and leadership.

April 27th – 1-2 pm EST – Blue Economy Innovation for Sustainable Growth: Explore models of innovation and collaboration.

May 25th – 1-2 pm EST – Ensuring Growth and Prosperity for All in the Blue Economy: Learn from those who are actively building an inclusive and diverse Blue Economy.

Objectives of the Project

• Share their skills and specific expertise with newly established Ocean Founders.
• Benefit from increased visibility for their organization within Canada (OSC and ECO website, possibility to participate to ECO events, etc.).
• Develop new relationships with industries focused on the Ocean sector and involve in a broad network across the country.
• Participate in the establishment and support of the Blue Economy in Canada.
• Accessibility to Toolkits to help develop and diversify DEI within their organizations.

• Benefit from their relationship with an Expert Mentor with an-demand skillset who can guide and advise them on how to grow as the senior leader of a company in a technically demanding field with a limited number of experts.
• Benefit from the involvement in a peer mentorship network, which will connect them to individuals in circumstances like their own.
• Facilitate the growth of individual Ocean Founders by creating new connections to experts and other founders making the Ocean sector community more diverse and thereby, more innovative, robust, and productive.
• Accessibility to toolkits to all the program participants to help them understand the logic of diversity on which the program is built, manage the talent pipeline within their organization, and help them to both learn and teach as a mentor.
• Founders understand the purpose and benefits of what/how they are doing, how to get the most out of their experience

• Improved leadership and specific skills in Ocean Founders.
• Diversify the network between professionals in the Ocean Sector.
• Improving the ability to recruit and ladder new talent entering the field while focusing on DEI considerations.
• Support and promote the growth and

• Create an accessible and inclusive program for women, visible minority groups, and Indigenous peoples interested in working in this sector.
• Ensure a diverse group of Expert Mentors is recruited.
• ECO Canada will also leverage its marine-focused BEAHR training course, to help more Indigenous people enter the field.

Thanks to our partners for making these programs possible: