Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We believe—and I can speak from the New Brunswick perspective here—that there are really three key areas where we see possible development, and in fact they require development in some cases. Primarily, with respect to value-added resource sectors like agriculture, forestry, and the fishery, as you pointed out, there is a lack of productivity. This isn't something that we can let up on, though, because a lot of the jobs associated with value-added resource sectors are in rural New Brunswick. There are challenges there in maintaining them, so we believe we need a continued focus on improving productivity and investing in innovation in these firms. We believe that, as well, we need to expose these firms to international markets and to open up doors in terms of new sales opportunities and help them develop new products and services for rural New Brunswick.
In addition to that, a second focus would be in the area of information technology. I alluded to this in my opening remarks. In New Brunswick, we have a number of success stories in growing ICT firms, a handful of which, if I add them up over the past few years, have actually sold for over a billion dollars. The terms of the deals are private, but we do have access to some of the reported information. The important thing to note is that this wealth that was created from the sale of these firms remains largely in the region. More importantly, the individuals who grew these firms, who now serve as mentors for the start-up ecosystem, are also there. They're investing their capital and they're investing their time.
ACOA sees that investing in the start-up ecosystem, making sure it's solid, is paying real dividends. A number of IT firms that we've seen come through the start-up ecosystem, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, are garnering international recognition for their work.
The third area I want to cover, and the last area, is around clean technologies. As jurisdictions, countries, and economies around the world are moving toward reduced emissions and targets, this is opening up a real opportunity for new business in that sector, new technologies. We believe that the Smart Grid Innovation Network and the smart grid development project are really at the forefront of that. It's a unique opportunity, and we have a world player in Siemens. We have NB Power fully cooperative. They have provided an end-to-end system that can be mined for data, and there are real opportunities to develop new technologies and new ways of power generation that could then be turned out and sold to utilities around the world.