Atlantic Canada’s commercialization and industry liaison network

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Bridging the Gap

There is a vast body of knowledge, expertise, and innovation available in our Atlantic Canadian post-secondary institutions. For years these resources were left untapped. From time to time, some of these products saw the light of public recognition beyond a scientific publication by being commercialized. More often though, the world-class innovations created by our researchers remained untapped and on the shelf.

To change that, Springboard Atlantic was established in 2004 and incorporated as a non-for-profit organization in 2005. Our main objective is to drive the efficiency and effectiveness of technology and knowledge transfer in Atlantic Canada. We connect skilled professionals in academia with like-minded contacts in industry to build new collaborations and to support research commercialization, accelerating the competitiveness of Atlantic Canadian companies.

The Springboard network is comprised of 19 members – 14 universities and 5 colleges from Atlantic Canada and with support from the Government of Canada (through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), we are the only regional commercialization network in Canada that has public post-secondary universities and colleges working together under a common commercialization mandate.

Springboard’s Innovation Mobilization (IM) Funding, available to our members, plays a very important role in bridging the gap between a new idea and getting that idea to market. Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), are the 9 stages of technology/knowhow development that categorize how close the innovation is to being commercialized. The work done in our post-secondary institutions usually centers around TRL 1-3 and in recent years more often also around TRL 4. However, funding for TRL 5-7, the crucial stage between moving from the initial prototype to commercial prototype to market goes beyond what most granting agencies fund and, remain too early in development for most startup companies to fund directly.

To ensure that this gap is bridged Springboard provides Proof of Concept, Patent & Legal and Marketing Support Funds to our members so that more research and innovations developed in our member institutions reach the market.

Over the course of this series we will celebrate Springboard’s success bridging the gap and #springboarding innovations forward; and explore the ways this work personally impacts you, your neighbours, and your communities. Make sure to follow us, connect with us and do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Nautilus Biosciences Canada Inc is being aquired by Corda International

Nautilus Biosciences Canada Inc. (Nautilus) was founded in 2007 by Professor Russell Kerr via a spin-out from his research at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). Nautilus focuses on using marine microbial biodiversity to discover novel activities and materials. In a press release on January 11, 2018, Corda International announced the acquisition of Nautilus. Through this acquisition and the associated patents, Croda will utilise this innovative science for applications across all its market sectors.

Having worked together for the last six years, Nautilus and Croda have a proven history of successful collaboration, focusing on the development of specific applications for skin, hair and crop care. It is Croda's intend to establish Nautilus as a Croda Centre of Innovation for Marine Biotechnology at Nautilus’ existing base at UPEI. The location is ideal for biotechnology research and has attracted and facilitated partnerships with many other biotechnology-based companies. 

Springboard's member Synapse was pleased to support the acquisition process by shepherding discussions and helping coordinate the agreements between UPEI and Croda/Nautilus. Synapse, an independently-incorporated company was created to help transfer the expertise and knowledge housed in UPEI into products, processes, services, and insights that can provide practical social and economic benefit beyond the university environment.

We want to add our well-deserved congratulations to the well-wishes from UPEI and Synapse.

To read the full article in UPEI Marketing and Communications, click here.

UNB receives funding for the development of Arctic surveillance capabilities

A physics professor at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) is working on two projects that are developing the next generation of sensors and systems to enhance the surveillance and detection capabilities for continental defence. UNB uns the Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network (CHAIN), which is one of the world’s largest networks for ionospheric monitoring and investigation and the two projects are part of the Department of National Defence (DND) All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) program, providing valuable information about the Canadian Arctic Upper Atmosphere.

CHAIN (the network) started its work in 2006 and has 25 global navigation satellite receiver systems and five high-frequency radars called ionosondes. The information/ data gathered satellite systems is transferred to UNB in near real-time for processing. 

The total funding of $2.9M will go towards adding three more high-frequency radars to the network and to develop more accurate and Arctic-specific ionospheric models.

These two projects will help to develop a next-generation surveillance system for the Arctic and will have broad impacts on communication and navigation technologies and the Canadian economy, says Dr. P. Thayyil Jayachandran, chair of the physics department at the University of New Brunswick and lead for CHAIN.

To read the full story on the UNB News, click here.

Photo by Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen on Unsplash

BMM Testlabs selects Moncton to Create the Automation Center of Excellence

On January 8, 2018, BMM Testlabs announced that it has selected Moncton as the place for its worldwide Test Automation  Center of Excellence. Transforming the gaming industry BMM's automation services include automation strategy consulting, automation frameworks and tools, automation execution, reports, and metrics.

To meet the demand BMM has been working with the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and has been investing, and will continue to do so, in educational programs to ensure training of qualified personnel for jobs in technology.

BMM has employed many graduates, keeping up with the industry's growth. The commitment to Moncton started in 2015 when BNN Testlabs announced that it will create 1,000 jobs over the next 5 years.

To read the full article on Huddle, click here.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

New Generation of Social Entrepreneurs coming from MUN

Student teams at Memorial University (MUN) from business and other faculties have been extremely successful in the annual Enactus competitions for the last nine to ten years, taking second place in 2017 and first place in 2016 internationally. Enactus is an international non-profit organization, promoting student entrepreneurship for the social good.

The work in social entrepreneurship has been steadily growing at MUN, in 2013 the university established a partnership with Fogo Island-based Shorefast Foundation, enabling MUN faculty to engage in research and various university-community collaborations. In 2016 the Centre for Social Enterprise was established by three faculties, including business. The purpose of the centre is to promote social innovation across Newfoundland and serves as an on-campus complement to the Centre for Entrepreneurship, assisting students, staff or faculty interested in taking a startup idea to the next level.

To further MUN's influence in this field, the faculty of business administration has announced its plans to offer a master-level program in social enterprise and entrepreneurship in the fall of 2018, thereby joining a growing list of business schools that have created new options to study social entrepreneurship.

"The idea is that you are creating your own job, a startup or getting involved in social enterprise," says Isabelle Dostaler, dean of the faculty of business administration. "It is interesting there are so many initiatives in social enterprise everywhere across the province."

To read the full article in The Globe and Mail, click here.

To read the article in The Gazette, click here.

Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

SmartICE - combining technology with traditional knowledge to save lives

With the changing climate, the conditions of the sea ice are changing in northern Canada. The land-fast ice is thinning, impacting the personal and food security of the Inuit people, during the hunt. 

Adapting to these changing conditions, the communities are using SmartICE, an innovative tool, blending modern technology with traditional knowledge. Dr. Trevor Bell, a professor at Memorial University (MUN) researched and developed the technology and founded SmartICE and is its director. 

SmartICE provides real-time information to the Inuit people who are traveling on the ice, by sensors that are frozen into the ice at the beginning of the season. The sensors relay information of the thickness of the ice and the depth of snow on it. Hired by SmartICE, Inuit people are also affixing sensors to the underside of their sleds gathering further information as they travel.

The maps that are created also include local and traditional knowledge to enhance them. Indigenous communities can assess the condition of the ice by its texture and its sounds and have asked that microphones are installed with the stationary sensors to be able to listen to the ice from their communities, leading to a successful melding of knowledge.

MUN's Technology Transfer and Commercialization office supports Dr. Bell and SmartICE during the process of transferring the research into the company.

To read the full article on CBC, click here.

SMU-Industry partnership allows students to look deeper into the Ground

Meet the Noggin 500, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR). The instrument added to the Department of Anthropology at Saint Mary's University will help students and faculty to see beneath the soil to explore some of Nova Scotia’s most important historic sites.

The remarkable fact about this acquisition is, that the purchase was made jointly by Boreas Heritage Consulting and Northeast Archaeological Research, two Halifax-based archaeological consulting companies. Sara Beanlands, an archaeologist with Boreas, a graduate of Saint Mary’s History program, and an adjunct professor in the Anthropology Department, says that it is critical for students to have access to this kind of technology. This kind of technology is standard in the archeological world, and now the students at SMU will have access to this technology as well.

The Noggin can see up to two meters into the soil and can map the subterranean environment in three dimensions. The Noggin GPR is especially good at spotting “discontinuities” in soil texture and type, such as those caused by unmarked graves.The Noggin compliments the Geonics EM38B, a device which measures soil magnetism and can put together a limited picture of what lies underneath. Now with this expanded toolkit, the research will more accurately tell the researchers what lies where, especially valuable when making the most of time in the field.

To read the full story in the Saint Mary's News, click here.

#Springboarding Forward - Island AquaTech Preps Prototype

In October we reported on the success of three engineering students from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) who created a startup business, Island AquaTech, out of a class project. With the help from UPEI's Synapse (a Springboard member turning ideas into solutions) and Springboard's Innovation Mobilization Proof of Concept and Patent funding, Dylan MacIssac, Brett McDermott, and Jordan Sampson were able to file for patent protection in 2017 for their innovation that will greatly support the oyster farming industry. 

The team invented a machine enabling oyster farmers to flip their cages easily, reducing the manual labour and time needed, greatly improving the performance of this critical task. In oyster farming, the shellfish are grown in floating cages needing to be flipped often during growth to kill off parasites like barnacles, algae and mussels. When the cages are flipped, these parasites are exposed to the sun, which kills them.

The oyster industry is very important for PEI, producing roughly 30 per cent of the farmed oysters in Canada.

Besides Springboard's funding, Island AquaTech also received non-equity funding from Innovation P.E.I.’s Ignition Fund. The team has by now built their prototype and will finalize its boat attachment design. Just before the winter, they tested their latest prototype with good success and now have to work out the last kinks, but the concept is proven.

To learn the business side of their startup, the team enrolled in the Creative Destruction Lab in Halifax and completed the first session in November and will return this month to CDL for the next session. The team is very excited about the possibilities that 2018 holds for them and we are excited to see their dedication and success and seeing them #springboarding forward.

To read the full article in Entrevestor, click here.

Memorial names 1st Research Chair in Entrepreneurship

Memorial University's (MUN) new chair in entrepreneurship will build research capacity in the field of entrepreneurship, lead research aimed at better understanding and contributing to the health of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and provide academic leadership of entrepreneurship-related activities in the province. This position is filled by Dr. Alex Stewart, who is coming from Marquette University in Wisconsin, where he was the Coleman Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship.

The chair’s focus on research and on contributing to the entrepreneurial ecosystem was one of its appeals, says Dr. Stewart, as was the prospect of living in Newfoundland and Labrador. At the moment he is investigating possible research projects but expects to focus his attention on entrepreneurship, creative industries and the natural environment in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The chair was funded by contributions from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, the faculties of Business and Engineering and Applied Science and private donations as part of the creation of the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

UNB awarded ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund to develop Smart Grid Solutions

Thanks to funding from the Federal Government through Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF), the University of New Brunswick (UNB) will advance their existing smart grid expertise infrastructure as well as refine the technology. This will allow UNB to deliver solutions for renewable energy to meet Canada's and the world's future energy needs.

The work from this AIF will advance Canada's efforts for a cleaner economy and help realize Canada's climate change goals.

Project partner Emera Inc. is providing $1.4 million to the project, ACOA invests $2.8 million in the project and NSERC provides $82,100 towards the project for a total of ~$4.28 million.

The project goal is to distribute energy resource solutions for commercialization by industry and its implementation by utilities. This will be achieved through the designing, building, testing and demonstrating of a suite of distributed energy resource solutions. Emera will deploy and test the project results within its system network at Barbados Light and Power. After testing in a real-world environment, the results will be refined and validated by industry players, users, suppliers, regulators, and others.

“We’re excited to support innovation-focused research towards creating a 100 percent clean electricity supply. We believe the kind of technology being developed at UNB will play a critical role in making it possible for 100 percent renewable energy to be affordable and reliable to serve our customers in the future.”
– Chris Huskilson, president & CEO, Emera Inc.

To read the full article in UNB's Newsroom, click here.

STFX signs Agreement with Cultivator Catalyst Coorporation

The three-year multi-disciplinary agreement between Cultivator Catalyst Corporation (CCC), THC Dispensiaries Inc (THC Inc) and St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) will focus on the development of proprietary solutions for the commercial cannabis industry, specifically on:

* The creation of unique cannabis genetics that may be used in clinical trials that CCC intends to undertake
* The development of new delivery methods and mechanisms for cannabis into the human body
* Research into new approaches for growing and cultivating cannabis at an industrial scale
* Assistance in sourcing human capital for CCC with a particular focus on StFX students and graduates
* Work with regional and provincial authorities to support these activities

Springboard's member, StFX Office of Industry Liaison and Technology Transfer, represented through its manager Andrew Kendall, will support CCC, THC Inc and StFx's researchers to ensure the research and innovations are #springboarding forward and are successfully commercialized.

To read the full article on the StFX website, click here.

New Pilot Program for UNB Graduates

The goal of this partnership and pilot program is to move young companies out of the idea stage. Accelerate Entrepreneur will work with all sectors, for example, manufacturing, technical innovation, business processes, IT, social sciences, and design. 

Mitacs is a nation-wide not-for-profit organization that bridges the gap between academia and industry and helps companies employ Masters, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. Planet Hatch is New Brunswick's flagship business accelerator and entrepreneurial hub located in Fredericton.

“This pilot program will support university-based entrepreneurs who are solving research problems, which in turn, will have positive impacts on our economy and our society,” said Alejandro Adem, CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs.

To find out if you are eligible for the program or are interested in attending, contact Mitacs local representative Valerie Bonnardel-Vacque at vbonnardel@mitacs.ca. 

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here.

Photo by Climate KIC on Unsplash

Staying Connected via Nature

Being able to get connected when exploring the great and wide outdoors is important for a number of reasons and Seaformatics Systems Inc is delivering the technology to do just that.

WaterLily, a hand-held microturbine was designed to harness wind and water power is the easiest to use tool out in the market. Recharge your phone, camera, GPS or portable battery bank by the power of nature.

The St. John's based start-up was spun out of Memorial University (MUN) and the technology that has lead to the launch of WaterLily was developed at MUN over the last decade with funding support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Atlantic Innovation Fund and Springboard Atlantic’s Innovation Mobilization Program. Springboard's funds provided support during the proof of concept, the patenting and the marketing stage and we are thrilled to see how our funds have been instrumental in #springboarding Seaformatics forward and seeing this technology commercialized. 

The company now holds one patent and another one is in progress and WaterLily is catching the attention of customers, curiosity seekers and mainstream media. Seaformatics is currently a client of the Genesis Centre, Memorial’s award-winning business incubator for technology startups.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

PHOTO: SUBMITTED

Startups receive $10K from Acadia Award

In total, 16 teams participated in Acadia's Start It Up program via Launchbox. The winner a team of three environmental science students from Acadia University won first prize and $6,000 for their idea of a mobile food truck that serves healthy produce sourced from local farms, called Highway 101.

the 16 teams were given real industry problems and had 28 hours to come up with a viable solution. The participants learn to apply the Lean Canvas Model and at the end of the workshop, the teams present their ideas to a panel of judges. The second-place team won $3500 for its solution to connect students to retired seniors who want to stay in their homes and need help maintaining their property and third place ($500) was won by a team from Cultiv8, who designed an app to harmonize a work/life balance.

The workshop was coordinated by the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre, which manages LaunchBox.

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

Sparking new ideas and fostering entrepreneurship

Meet Western Newfoundland's entrepreneurship centre, Navigate at Memorial University's (MUN) Grenfell Campus. Since its opening in 2004 (formerly known as Gateway West) it has supported more than 80 businesses in Western Newfoundland and beyond and served almost 250 clients.

Navigate builds relationships with clients, partners and organizations, paving the way for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, giving assistance in business and financial planning, market research as well as networking and mentoring opportunities.

Navigate also connects MUN's Grenfell campus and the College of the North Atlantic's (CNA) Corner Brook campus, its manager Sean St. George works out of both locations and both places offer office space for entrepreneurs for meetings, use office equipment and have access to mentors.

Going forward, thanks to the new partnership with the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship, Navigates student-clients now have the opportunity to access services through the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship and new entrepreneurs may be eligible for funding and subsidies. Navigate has also recently begun working with Futurpreneur Canada, a non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39.

The funding for Navigate comes from different partners, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Newfoundland's and Labrador's Departments of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and Advanced Education, Skills and Labour and Grenfell Campus and the College of the North Atlantic-Corner Brook Campus.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

UNB’s Energia and TME program propel startups forward

Trispectra:

Three grads from the University of New Brunswick (UNB) are embracing the provinces Smart Grid Initiative and are working on a way to help utilities find outages on their grids more quickly, and eventually help to reduce power interruption via their Fredericton startup Trispectra.

It’s a little-known fact that utilities don’t have the ability to detect a power outage as soon as it occurs and about a year and a half ago the company came up with sensors that are placed on the powerlines, that tell the utility company when a power outage occurs and where.

“Our solution was to provide a sensor-based monitor system that would provide a map of the power lines and detect faults,” said CEO Emmanuel Albert in an interview. “We can alert the utility if there’s a fault – not just location but also the type of problem.”

With the help from the Energia accelerator at UNB, Trispectra has received $20,000 in non-dilutive funding and have been introduced to mentors such as Pierre Mullin of Siemens Canada.

The founders’ main focus now is to perfect certain components that will go into the sensor mechanism, and they are talking with potential manufacturers about ironing our sundry kinks in the design. 

Mbissa:

Mbissa, a Fredericton startup develops micro homes that use 100 per cent renewable solar and wind energy in order to run basic electrical services. The original goal was to bring renewable energy solutions to communities off the grid in Cameroon, but now Mbissa wants New Brunswickers to know they can transform the lives of people here at home too.

The off-grid micro home will be showcased in Douglas and Caleb Grove, founder of Mbissa Energy is excited to show off the technology and business model, that they developed with the support of the Energia Accelerator and the Technology Management & Entrepreneurship (TME) program at UNB.

Mbissa has completed 40 renewable energy installations in homes, clinics, and businesses on and around the island Mbissa and Grove wants to return to Cameroon in January to train another team of technicians who he hopes can complete installations across the entire island of Mbissa within eight months.

To read the full article on Entrevestor click here.

To read the full article on Huddle, click here.

CarbonCure continues to accelerate

CarbonCure Technologies, a Dartmouth-based company that sequesters carobon dioxide in concrete is growing at a fast pace, adding its 80th client to their customer list. St. Louis-based Breckenridge Material Company and Eastern Missouri Concrete are 2 American companies that will now be able to recycle waste carbon dioxide and therefore increase their environmental performance and profile.

A neat side-effect of the sequestered coarbon dioxide in the concrete is the added compressive strength of the concrete.

CarbonCure is also one of 23 semi-finalists in the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE challenge, which has been called the Nobel Prize for climate technologies.

To read the full articvle in Entrevestor, click here.

Investment Opportunities Program Announces First Cohort

On behalf of the Investment Opportunities Program (IOP) partners we are pleased to confirm the 12 companies selected to join our 1st cohort. A total of 16 preselected companies competed in a pitching session after an invite only weekend of workshops that focused on investment readiness, pitching and investor relations. The event was held Nov 17-19th at St Mary’s University. Workshops were facilitated by representatives from the First Angel Network, Springboard Atlantic and Invest Atlantic.

The 1st cohort welcomes the following company representatives:

  1. Sizwe Dhlamini, POWERHV, NL
  2. James Stewart, EhEye Inc, NB
  3. Trevor Forward, DuXion Motors, NL
  4. Issmat Al-Akhali, Black Sheep Project Management Inc, NS
  5. Dr Bill Smith, NeckTronics, NS
  6. Aris Economopoulos, Boombers Plus, NS
  7. Randy Campbell, Shoplaw, PE
  8. Joel Muise, Tranquility Online, NS
  9. Josh Ogden, AVSS- Aerial Vehicle Safety Solutions, NB
  10. Amir Akbari, WENTech Solutions, NB
  11. Eric Fisher, MyMem Technologies Inc, NS
  12. Mark Gauci, ABA Access, NL

The cohort including up to 4 mentors will be in Toronto from December 13-15th, 2017 to pitch their ideas to angel investors with the goal of raising capital. Angel Investors Ontario will be hosting the first pitch session for its members on Dec 14th and the National Angel Capital Organization is hosting a 2nd pitch session which is open to all investors on Dec 15th.

The IOP strives to identify the top startup companies from Atlantic Canada available today, and pairs them with identified investors in key target markets. The program was launched by Springboard Atlantic CEO Chris Mathis and Nova Scotia-based Jameson Group (organizers of Invest Atlantic) CEO Bob Williamson with support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

For further details please visit Springboard Atlantic’s website or email Bob Williamson at Bob@jamesongroup.ca.

Bees to be used to protect Wild Blueberry Crops

The Wild Blueberry Research Program at Dalhousie University conducted trials near Parrsborough, Nova Scotia to test Bee Vectoring's new and proprietary honey bee dispenser system. The trials were conducted by Dr. David Percival's team and the results showed a yield of wild blueberries that is 77% higher compared to the nontreated control, the number of marketable berries per stem is 50% higher than with chemical standard, and a reduction of Monilinia blight (mummy berry) by 21% occured.

Blueberries are a high-value crop in Canada and the United States with a total farm gate value of US $1.1 billion. Blueberry production in North America represents 54% of the worldwide crops with key growing regions including the Atlantic provinces and British Columbia in Canada, Washington, Oregon, Georgia, Michigan, California, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Florida in the US.

To read the full article on MarketWired, click here.

Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

Research is supporting Aqualitas for unique Business Advantage

Through the use of research from its subsidiary Finleaf Technologies, Aqualitas, a Liverpool cannabis producer, is setting itself apart from its other 73 competitors in Canada and the company is now close to raising $6.5-million with private investors next month.

If Health Canada approves its growing facility for medical cannabis, Aqualitas will be getting to market next year.

With support and initial research from Acadia University, Finleaf Technologies has developed proprietary aquaponics technology, that ensures that plants get enough nutrients and the fish are protected from toxic chemicals while preserving water and avoiding harmful runoffs. Aquaponics is especially important to areas in the world where fresh water is scarce. Finleafs' research lab is housed and fully staffed at Acadia University and the company has been accepted into Innovacorp’s Cleantech Accelerator Program and was a $25,000 winner of the Spark West competition.

While Cannabis is a hot sector, the company is looking forward to diversifying the company’s crop and using its technology to address food security and they want to develop more facilities in the provinces so that more food can be grown indoors with minimal environmental impact.

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

NBCC creates New Brunswick’s first Cybersecurity Post-Grad Program

To be offered in September 2018, the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) is going to launch a new one-year post-graduate cybersecurity diploma program at its Saint John campus.

This one-year program was developed together with CyberNB and industry to address the anticipated growing demand for cybersecurity expertise in New Brunswick. The admission requirement for this program is a diploma or degree in network administration, computer science or equivalent experience in network administration. While the curriculum is still in development, NBCC says that the program will equip graduated with “the skills and knowledge that industry is seeking, and help expand the cybersecurity infrastructure in New Brunswick.”

According to a recent report from Cisco, in 2016, there are about one million jobs available worldwide in cybersecurity and many of them were not filled. By 2019, that’s expected to grow to six million.

To read the full article on Huddle, click here.

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

Enjoying your Christmas Tree longer

Celebrating the SMART Christmas Tree success, Dalhousie's Truro Agricultural Campus welcomed the Honourable Navdeep Bains (below), Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Bill Casey, Member of Parliament for Cumberland-Colchester, James DeLong, President of the SMART Christmas Tree Research Cooperative Limited and Richard Florizone, president of Dalhousie University.

The National Christmas Tree Research Centre (CRC), funded in large part through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Atlantic Innovation Fund, has licensed three commercial products and technologies, the SMART Balsam Fir TEchnologies, to help sustain Atlantic Canada’s Christmas tree and greenery industry.

Developed in a true industry partnership by Raj Lada (Faculty of Agriculture professor and the CRC's director) and his team, the SMART-er trees boast a full, sturdy architecture; unique fragrance; blue-green needles; and the ability to retain its needles longer (up to three months when handled properly).

The research is being conducted at Dalhousie Agricultural campus in partnership with the Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia, SMART Christmas Tree Research Cooperative, Christmas tree producers; NS Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources, NB Department of Agriculture and Aquaculture; NL Department of Forestry and Agriculture; and University of New Brunswick, under the leadership and direction of Dr. Lada.

“This opportunity has already begun to enhance the economic growth of the balsam fir industry with market growth. I believe the true potential of the Cooperatives' success and all that has been achieved, will only be truly realized by generations to come.” said James DeLong, President of the SMART Christmas Tree Research Cooperative Limited.

The CRC has provided a great wealth of new and improved knowledge and technologies for the industry, including 13 disclosures to the university; three commercial products and technologies; over 20 published, peer-reviewed original scientific articles; over 40 conference abstracts, posters and presentations; and the training of trained undergraduate students, graduate students, PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants and research associates — a total of more than 50 totaling person-years of building human capacity for the region.

Congratulations to Dalhousie University and all of its partners.

To read the full article on Dal News, click here.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Halifax’s Discovery Centre Discovery Awards 2017

On November 23, 2017 Halifax’s Discovery Centre held their 15th annual Discovery Awards. This great annual event recognizes talented individuals and outstanding companies for their innovative contributions to science and technology. This year's awards were sponsored by Dalhousie University.

Award Recipients:

Professional of Distinction Award: Jason Clyburne, Saint Mary's University, Department of Chemistry

Dr. Clyburne is recognized as a leader in the study of green chemistry and his research is widely recognized for its potential to mitigate a wide range of environmental challenges, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. His focus lies on the application of simple chemical principles to identify designer chemicals for the removal of environmentally hazardous substances from industrial processes. 

Find out more about Dr. Clyburne's work, click here.  

Science Hall of Fame recipients: Peter Allen, Dalhousie University, Faculty of Engineering and William Howard Feindel

Dr. Allen is recognized for his contributions to the solar energy research and development community. He is CEO and founder of Thermo Dynamics Ltd, a Dartmouth company that carries out research, development and manufacture of solar thermal equipment for domestic and export markets.

Dr. Feindel (1918-2014), was a graduate of Dal's Faculty of Science. He was recognized posthumously for his outstanding contributions to neurosurgical research and development of medical diagnostic equipment.

Emerging Professional: Ghada Koleilat, Dalhousie University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Koleilat developed the world’s first functional colloidal quantum dot tandem solar cell employing a single quantum tuned material during her graduate studies at the University of Toronto. She also conceived a material processing that enabled prolonged stability and improved electrical properties in photovoltaic junctions based on colloidal quantum dots. Before joining Dalhousie University in 2016, Dr. Koleilat investigated the properties of single-walled carbon nanotubes and their potential in photovoltaics. Her work has frequently been highlighted in major media outlets for technology reporting. Notably, her first research publication in the American Chemical Society’s journal “ACS Nano” was one of the ten highest cited articles in the journal for four consecutive years.

See what Dr. Koleilat's group is working at the moment.

Science Champion: Matthew Lukeman, Acadia University, Department of Chemistry

Dr. Luekmans' passion for teaching chemistry has been recognized through winning the Student Union Teaching Recognition Award twice, along with the Faculty of Pure and Applied Science Teaching Award. He was instrumental in the development of a course for non-science majors entitled “Chemistry in Our World” which has become Acadia’s most highly registered class. The demonstrations Dr. Lukeman developed for his courses became the basis for a science education “show” featuring attention-grabbing and hands-on activities which has been presented now dozens of times to school and community groups – including regular interactions with the Acadia Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience ( or “S.M.I.L.E.”) Program. Dr. Lukeman has also developed a series of public lectures on Pseudoscience and The Sky is Falling: Separating Fact from Fiction in Our Chemical World aimed at demystifying the media’s many conflicting messages about chemicals.

Innovation Award recipients: Densitas Inc.

An early stage medical software company, Densitas Inc., focuses on machine-learning solutions in the breast imaging enterprise and sees digital mammograms as “imaging fingerprints” that enable tailored patient care. Densitas was founded in 2011 by Mohamed (Mo) Abdolell, a biostatistician with 25 years’ experience in modeling data for clinical decision-making, and currently also an Associate Professor in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Dalhousie University and an Affiliated Scientist at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. Densitas’ flagship technology is DM-Density, an automated breast density assessment tool which serves as the foundational product for a suite of technologies that complete a comprehensive imaging analytics platform targeting mammography quality and delivery of personalized care. 

Youth Award Recipients: Janani Venkat and Anisha Rajaselvam 

Congratulations to all recipients.

UNB’s TME 5.0? What is next?

The Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship (TME) at UNB has been in operation since 29 years to great success and its overseers are currently working on what will be next for the program, given its recent growth. Buzz words like “TME Next” or “TME 5.0” are floating around the Faculty of Engineering at UNB. Since 2014, TME has produced 65 startups, including Resson an agtech company. 

In an interview, Dhirendra Shukla said the options include a PhD program in entrepreneurship, a ramping up of its Energia accelerator, a program to help mature companies grow, or all of the above.

The current TME program has four pillars

  • Academic
  • Research 
  • Experiential 
  • Engagement 

and UNB is working out how to build on this success. A PhD in entrepreneurship would be the first of its kind in the region, and the university is one of several groups in Atlantic Canada wondering what it can do to help mature companies grow. 

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

AFRED Database is enabling regional collaborations

To businesses relying on scientific discovery, it is important to have the hardware to realize their ideas and innovation. However, the expense of the instrumentation and the technical expertise often far exceeds what companies can afford, especially in the early stages.  

Thanks to AFRED (Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database), housing this infrastructure within their company is no longer essential. AFRED is an open access, online, searchable database created by Science Atlantic. Launched earlier this year, AFRED now lists close to 500 pieces of equipment available in various colleges, universities, government, medical, and not-for-profit facilities throughout Atlantic Canada. 

A number of Springboard's members are part of AFRED, helping companies in the region address their research needs, #springboarding forward.

"AFRED has tremendous potential to showcase specialized research infrastructure in Atlantic Canada and provide researchers with opportunities for partnerships with colleagues in academia and industry," said Dr. Christian Lacroix, Chair-Elect, Science Atlantic and Biology Professor, University of Prince Edward Island.

"We regard AFRED as an invaluable tool to link applied research expertise that exists within our region to our industry partners who are seeking assistance in developing critical products and processes within their organizations," said Mike Long, Vice President of Applied Research and Innovation, College of the North Atlantic, St. John's, Newfoundland.

To read the full article in Atlantic Business, click here.

Springboard welcomes new President and CEO

Springboard Atlantic’s board of directors announced today, November 16, the appointment of Daryl Genge as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer.

Mr. Genge has been a leader in building innovative partnerships among academia, industry and government for the last 28 years. He comes to the organization most recently from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s former Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development where, in his role as Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister (acting), he championed public-private investment strategies to support commercialization, drive technology industry growth, and expand key trade networks. He will begin his new role December 1.

"After an extensive search which generated interest from across Canada, we are thrilled to have Daryl join us," said Brian Lowe, Springboard’s board chair. "Daryl is a strong leader, and his understanding of academia, industry and the public sector will be a significant asset to Springboard going forward.”

" I am very excited to take on the role of President and CEO of Springboard at such a pivotal time," said Mr. Genge. “I’m looking forward to working alongside our members and partners to make a real impact on our region’s future. Atlantic Canada is rapidly developing a reputation as one of country’s leading innovation hubs. With such a powerful network of universities and colleges, and strong relationships with government, industry and our entrepreneurial community, we have unparalleled talent and resources to turn great ideas into commercial success.” 

The Newfoundland native is a graduate of Memorial University and a Certified Management Consultant. Prior to joining the provincial government, he was the founding director of Memorial University’s Atlantic Canada Venture Gateway which prepared high-potential entrepreneurs to raise capital and brought promising technologies to international markets. Mr. Genge has held numerous board and committee positions including participating on the advisory boards of two venture capital funds.

Mr. Lowe extended the board's appreciation to Chris Mathis, who served as Springboard’s president and CEO since 2011.

“We’re grateful for Chris’ strong leadership over the last six years,” said Mr. Lowe. “He delivered on all of our strategic goals, and evolved the organization into a vehicle that drives academic and industry collaboration for the economic benefit of our region."

Springboard is Atlantic Canada’s commercialization network. It works to connect skilled professionals in academia with like-minded contacts in industry to drive new collaborations and support research commercialization in Atlantic Canada. With core support from its members, and from the Government of Canada (through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, or ACOA), Springboard is building economic advantages and #springboarding the Atlantic Region every day.

For more information, please contact:

Katie Kushner
Springboard Atlantic       
902.421.5679
kkushner@springboardatlantic.ca
www.springboardatlantic.ca

Saint Mary’s University will host the international Venture Capital Investment Competition

Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is a tri-continental organization, hosting competitions at universities around the world. Holding competitions for a decade, so far no Canadian university has stepped up to host the event. Venture Grade, a student-run venture capital fund at St. Mary’s University (SMU) is changing that.

“It’s a pretty spectacular opportunity,” said Ellen Farrell, professor of venture capital and entrepreneurship at SMU. “The nation will now realize that the Atlantic region has a real specialization in the area of venture capital.”

SMU, as the host, cannot enter competing teams into the event held on March 2, 2018, but it has been invited to an American competition n Februar 2018 in Boston. Applications for the SMU event have been already submitted by Dalhousie, University of New Brunswick and Memorial University of Newfoundland.

At the event the student teams will be given an imaginary $100 million to invest, and they must pick one of the pitching startups to back. Real venture capital investors serve as the judges to assess which teams do the best job.

Venture Grade is the only program of its kind in North America because the students are responsible for making connections and raising funds themselves and it has been meeting all of its targets for 2017, raising almost $200,000 since its inception in 2016 and is set to meet its $250,000 target in 2018.

To read the full artilce on Entrevestor, click here.

Acadia and NSCC receive Offshore Energy Research Association funding

A total of $1.25 million in funding support was announced by the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA). $1 million comes from Natural Resources Canada and $125,000 each come from the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and OERA. 

OERA issued a research call in support of the Canadian In-stream Tidal Energy Sector to address the “fundamental knowledge gaps impacting the Canadian tidal energy sector”  in environmental effects, monitoring, marine operations and cost reduction technologies.

 

Acadia University received funding for 2 projects:

1) Using acoustic fish tracking technology to study fish distributions and movements in the Minas Passage, and

2) Using mobile measurement devices and modeling techniques to complete a comprehensive characterization of turbulence in the passage.

The Nova Scotia Community College received funding for: Conducting field trials to augment ROV operational capacity and efficiency to enhance marine operations in high-flow tidal environments.

“Our investment in innovative research and development creates new opportunities for Nova Scotia’s growing ocean technology sector,” said Stephen Dempsey, OERA executive director. “These collaborative research projects will contribute significantly to the development of a commercial tidal industry here in Nova Scotia – one that will see export opportunities around the globe.”

To read the full article on HydroWorld.com, click here.

Photo by Dan Grinwis on Unsplash

StFX Collaboration to drive material discovery in Canada

In order to speed up the process of new materials discovery, urgently needed for better solar and battery materials, lighter but stronger alloys and more efficient catalysts, St. Francis Xavier University’s (StFX) physicists and chemists are collaborating with Lumiant Corporation, a Canadian materials science company.

The tried and tested method of discovering new materials takes to long and is too costly and risky and Lumiant’s Xaedra™ platform offers a solution by combining AI and quantum physics into a system that predicts material properties from atomic structure information. To test this new artificial intelligence (AI) computing platform that is expected to revolutionize how materials are discovered, the Luminant Corporation is collaborating with StFX, so that the university’s researchers can test Xaedra before its release by using the platform in their research. Other academic researchers across Canada are also participating in this beta testing program.

“Through our collaboration with Lumiant, StFX researchers and students have a great opportunity to be at the forefront of new material research with a technology that promises to fundamentally alter how materials are discovered,” says Dr. Kevin B. Wamsley, StFX Academic Vice-President and Provost. “This work will enable our science students to gain valuable insights into the rapidly evolving world of material science.”

StFX physics professor Dr. Brandon van Zyl, a lead investigator bringing this state-of-the-art collaboration, along with StFX Industry Liaison Manager Andrew Kendall and Lumiant Business Development Manager Charles Robison, agrees. “My physics students are excited about using this quantum mechanics-based computing platform to solve real-world problems – to possibly discover new materials." 

To read the full article on the StFX website, click here.

Photo taken by Saint Francis Xavier University. L-r, Dr. Gurpreet Matharoo, research consultant at ACENET; StFX Industry Liaison Manager Andrew Kendall; StFX physics professor Dr. Brandon van Zyl, a lead investigator bringing this state-of-the-art collaboration; Greg Lukeman, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer, ACENET; and StFX chemistry professor Dr. Shah Gulam Razul.

Developing biopesticides and biofertilizers for agricultural and horticultural needs

As the medical marijuana industry grows into the mainstream for recreational use, so is the need for technology that ensures a viable crop. Like all cultivated plants, cannabis needs fertilizers to grow and pesticides to protect itself from diseases and death, and if Dr. Martin Filion has anything to do with it, they will not be the chemical kind.

A microbiologist and a precision agriculturalist at the university’s Moncton campus, Dr. Filion studies the beneficial organisms that live in soil on and near the roots of plants. Since it is the place they call home, many of those beneficial microbes have evolved mechanisms that help protect their host plant from diseases and/or promote plant growth and yield. Dr. Filion’s laboratory studies these mechanisms at the genetics and molecular level to ensure choosing the right microorganism for the right job!

“Right now there are more and more issues with pesticides. The more we look at chemical ones, the more we want to remove them from the shelf,” says Dr. Filion. “Organic is the big thing today, and developing biopesticides from natural beneficial microorganisms is economically viable as many of the organisms we work with are easy to grow, and cost of production is low. We also study microorganisms to be used as biofertilizers to boost plant productivity and yield, again compatible with organic production,” he went on to say.

For marijuana grown inside, many diseases may affect the plant, as well as stresses that may alter plant growth and therefore reduce yield. This can be disastrous for producers, and finding ways of treating these, ideally environmentally friendly ones, is important.  

“By keeping the soil or soil substrate enriched with targeted beneficial microbes, it is now possible to protect the plant from disease development and promote health and productivity. Dr. Filion’s laboratory works on developing biopesticides and biofertilizers to be commercialized for agricultural and horticultural needs. A patent pending number has recently been obtained for one of the microbial strains isolated and characterized by Dr. Filion’s group to be used as a biofertilizer.

Dr. Filion’s research on plant‑protecting and growth promoting microbes is much farther reaching than marijuana. The methods he is developing can be used to discover similarly functioning microorganisms for all types of crop, indoors and out, that are already naturally there. Dr. Filion’s team also works in close collaboration with two other researchers at the Université de Moncton interested in cannabis research: Dr. David Joly who works on the genetics of the plant, and Dr. Étienne Hébert-Châtelain who works on cannabinoids and their beneficial impact on human diseases.

Article was written by Chet Wesley (writer for the Atlantic Business Magazine)

Dalhousie is #springboarding 3D-Bolus to improve cancer patients lives

Undergoing radiation therapy is incredibly stressful for many cancer patients and also time-consuming and Dr. James Robar, director of Dalhousie University's Medical Physics programs and professor of the departments of Radiation Oncology and Physics & Atmospheric Science, and his team set out to change that, working on a tool for health practitioners that improves the accuracy and efficiency of this treatment, while making it a more comfortable experience for the patient.

With access to high tech equipment, state-of-the-art software and linear accelerators radiation oncologists and medical physicists are able to deliver treatment in a highly automated way, but there are key steps of the process that remain very manual. These include using a device called a bolus, a layer of tissue-equivalent material placed on the patient's skin during treatment that assists in providing the optimal dose of radiation.

Producing a bolus that works perfectly and needs to be custom made for each patient, leads to inaccuracy and is very time-consuming. However, with the increased availability of 3D-printers, Dr. Robar saw an opportunity and in 2012 he started working on finding a better way to produce the bolus.

With the support of Springboard Atlantic's Innovation Mobilization Proof-Of-Concept (POC) grant, Dr. Robar and his team purchased their first 3-D printer, and began creating four different devices:

Electron Beam Therapy

Photon Beam Therapy

Immobilization Device

Brachy therapy

Springboard was thrilled to learn that all of these applications have been shown to greatly enhance the accuracy and efficiency of the radiation treatment process and the next step was to put it in the hands of clinicians.

With the support of Dalhousie's Industry Liaison and Innovation the 3-D printing technology was licensed over 18 months ago, and from there a start-up company called 3-D Bolus was formed to begin developing the product. The product includes the software that will enable practitioners to create photon and electron boluses, low-density immobilization and brachytherapy surface applicators. The application is bundled with a 3-D printer.

Currently, version one of the product has been developed and has secured CE Mark clearance. The technology has been deployed in clinics in Dublin, Ireland and Tel-Aviv, with research versions in Chicago, San Francisco and Halifax.

Going forward, the company's approach will be to bring in 10 founding clients who will be the first in the world to use the technology in the clinic and to assist with testing and further development. Once they receive Food and Drug Association (FDA) clearance, slated for early 2018, they will begin sales in the US.

To read the full article on Medical Express, click here.

Memorial receives three new Canada Research Chairs

The appointments are for tier 2 chairs, which are five-year positions worth $100,000 each year with the possibility of one five-year renewal, which represents a total investments (including the CFI fuding ) of more than $1.6 million in federal funding.

The recipients are:

Dr. Rachel Sipler, Surf and Turf: How Changes on Land Impact the Ocean, Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science, is the Canada Research Chair in Ocean Biogeochemistry.

Dr. Julia Christensen, Finding Home in an Urbanizing Arctic, Canada Research Chair in Northern Governance and Public Policy, joins the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in December.

Dr. Baiyu (Helen) Zhang, Controlling Oil Pollution, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, is the Canada Research Chair in Coastal Environmental Engineering.

Created in 2000, the Canada Research Chairs program has helped attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds to post-secondary institutions in the country.

Since its creation in 1997, CFI has ensured Canadian researchers have the tools — the cutting-edge labs, facilities and equipment — they need to push the frontiers of knowledge in all disciplines.

CFI and the Canada Research Chairs program partner through JELF to provide top-notch infrastructure for research institutions across Canada.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

Memorial receives a $1.1M donation from the Woodward Family

The donated $1.1 million will flow into the now newly created Mel Woodward Cup which will be awarded to student entrepreneurs through an annual business competition. The competition, which is a program of the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship, will award more than $40,000 in cash prizes and offer mentorship and support opportunities for student innovators and entrepreneurs. 

Woodward’s children, Peter, Melvin, and Tana, made the donation in memory of their father, who died in 2015. 

“This generous donation from the Woodward family shows incredible support for, and belief in, our students and their capacity as potential entrepreneurs," said Isabelle Dostaler, the dean of Memorial’s business faculty. “Through this donation and the Mel Woodward Cup, we will be able to provide a tangible investment in our students and support them on their journeys towards becoming the next generation of business leaders.”

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

Fostering Innovation - Government investment into building AI research at Memorial

The Government of Canada and the Newfoudland and Labrador government are investing in groundbreaking research in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI) to create a more robust, innovative Atlantic economy. Memorial University, the recipient is collaborating with businesses to help address technology challenges using AI.

Nick Whalen, member of Parliament, St. John’s East, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, federal minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), announced on Nov. 3 an investment of $67,000 from ACOA’s Business Development Program for this initiative. Christopher Mitchelmore, provincial minister, Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, announced a contribution of $60,000 through InnovateNL.

These investments will enable Memorial to conduct a three-year research initiative in the areas of real-time search and planning used in systems like Google Maps and robot navigation; reinforcement learning - teaching  AI systems how to make decisions based on past experience and; deep neural networks focused on learning about large data sets by creating AI based on the human brain.

Researchers at Memorial’s Faculty of Science will use computer games and simulations for developing and testing new AI techniques. Their work will have business applications across a variety of sectors.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

Envenio Inc. sells to the government via the Built in Canada Innovation Program

The Build in Canada Innovation Program is designed to buy new products and services from Canadian startup companies to test and validate the technology and to act as their important first sale. This is especially important for Atlantic Canada where there are fewer big businesses to serve as B2B clients.

Envenio Inc. was formed in 2015 as a spinoff company from The University oif New Brunswick and has now signed a $492,000 contract with the government. 

Envenio produces air- and fluid-flow simulation software, EXN/Aero, which allows engineers to simulate air or fluid movement around objects. The company’s algorithms allow basic computers to simulate the flow of these substances. Like a virtual wind tunnel, it can chart the interactions of liquids and gases in specific conditions and with certain solid shapes.

The Build in Canada contract will allow Defence Research and Development Canada, National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces to test Envenio’s simulation software.

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

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Mount Allison University researches the impact of Microplastics in freshwater

Microplastics are very small pieces of plastics, less than five millimetres in size that are invisible to the eye but show up under the microscope. These microplastics are showing up in New Brunswick's' freshwater system and it is currently unclear what effect the material will have on aquaculture and humans. Research to study just that is underway at Mount Allison University (MtA).

The small particles can come from synthetic clothing, beauty products and essentially anything made of plastic. "They can be long stringy fibre bits, they can be small angular plastics, or they can be small micro beads," said Joshua Kurek, assistant professor of geography and environment at Mount Allison University.

To Dr Kurek's knowledge, this is the first time this study is being conducted on freshwater in New Brunswick. In keeping with similar work done in other provinces — for example, around the Great Lakes — Kurek said samples are taken near sewage treatment areas because they are thought to be a main source of microplastics.

The study is expected to be finished in April 2018. 

To read the full article on CBC.ca, click here.

UPEI receives funding to better prepare students for the workforce

The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) has developed a new model, work integrated learning (WIL), that aims to prepare students for careers after they graduate. This model builds on knowledge gained through traditional academic education combined with experiential learning, co-op and clinical placements, internships, research and teaching practice to name a few. This approach will help graduates transfer that knowledge into practice in workplace settings.

The fuding to support this UPEI programming was announced by the governments of Canada and Prince Edward Island.  ACOA is providing a non-repayable contribution of $114,660 through its business development program and the provincial government is providing a grant of $17,640.

“The University of Prince Edward Island has long played a central role in building our community, attracting talented staff and students from P.E.I. and around the world, and developing expertise that focuses on the strengths of our region,” said Charlottetown MP Sean Casey in making the announcement.

To read the full article in The Guardian, click here.

To read the full article on CBC.ca, click here.

College of the North Atlantic technology is #springboarding forward

Picture this - a 10 foot-wide buoy is anchored 1,600 feet off the coast of Newfoundland by a small fishing vessel in high ice-free waves. The buoy holds an integrated cylinder, which is attached to a piston rod, which moves with the rise and fall of the waves, collecting and pumping water back to shore. All done without an external energy source.

Combining technology developed by College of the Atlantic (CNA)' Wave Environment Research Centre (WERC)   with Atmocean technology, the collaboration started testing the prototype in September of the coast of Newfoundland. While harnessing wave energy isn't a new idea, most efforts so far have focused on generating electricity from the swells of the ocean. The application of this clean technology does not end there, Atmocean also wants to use the pressurized seawater arriving on shore, for use at a desalination facility without the need for grid-tied electricity or costly fossil fuels to run generators, in the hope that this system could drive down the high costs of desalination, some of which arise simply from pumping water to the plant in the first place.

Michael Graham of WERC also sees its uses in places without reliable power or water. Agriculture, potable water sources, and hygiene all stand to benefit from efficient desalination if it can be brought to remote communities, and the technology can be used as a safeguard against drought all over the world.

CNA's technology was supported by Springboard Atlantic's Innovation Mobilization Fund and Springboard is looking forward to seeing its development and progression into the marketplace. Currently, in its fifth round of sea trials, Atmocean is hopeful the system will be up and running by the end of next year, bringing with it the potential to transform an industry that, so far, has failed to come to shore.

To read the full article in Popular Mechanics, click here.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Zecken Laboratories Working on Easy and Accurate Diagnosis Method for Lyme Disease

Kami Harris is currently working on transforming her PhD work at Mount A in Sackville, NB into a company to provide the public, government and eventually medical practitioners with reliable diagnostic tools for Lyme Disease. Ms Harris is the Founder and CEO of Zecken Laboratories and is known as the "tick girl".

With the growing awareness of the spread of Lyme Disease in Atlantic Canada and the need for more accurate and affordable diagnostic tools, Ms Harris has received about 1,000 ticks annually to develop Zeckens products and she hopes that she will continue to receive them. She says that there are actually 21 types of Lyme disease but current diagnostic tests only identify one type, meaning that about 90 per cent of the instances of Lyme disease go undetected. Zecken's products can identify markers in the other types of Lyme disease to improve diagnosis and therefore generate more treatment.

At BioPort 2017, Zecken Laboratories was one of the three finalists in the BioInnovation Challenge and earlier in the year, Zecken Laboratories was a semifinalist in Breakthru. Soon it will be ready to start bringing in revenue. Up until now, the company’s research has been financed through Harris’ research funding, but Zecken recognizes that a structured finance model is needed and they will probably aim for a $250,000 funding round in their first year.

To read the full article in Entrevestor, click here.

Mount Allison University to join the SHAD program

In July 2018 Mount Allison University (MtA) will host its first Shad cohort, therefore be joining the University of New Brunswick offering Shad programs in New Brunswick.

Shad is known as the number one incubator for innovation and entrepreneurship with high school students who have a passion for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) and Entrepreneurship. Students from grades 10, 11 and 12 can apply to the program. Applications for summer 2018 are due November 20.

MtA is one of the smallest campuses and communities participating in the Shad program. The program will allow students to connect with academic and business leaders and support the growing culture of innovation there.  The students will see how big change can originate from a small place.

Shad recently also announced that it would bring its program to the University of Prince Edward Island. 

To read the full article in Entrevestor, click here.

To read the full article in Huddle, click here.

Canadian Foundation for Innovation awards Infrastructure Funding to Acadia, Dalhousie and Memorial

The Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Infrastructure Funding will support work on reusing composite materials to build and repair equipment in the aerospace industry, detecting and studying dark matter, working toward the next breakthrough in non-invasive brain surgery to treat diseases such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis, environmental monitoring, modelling and forecasting infrastructure for instream tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy, the development of autonomous marine observation systems (DAMOS), and the Harsh Environment Research Facility (HERF), one of the most advanced icing wind tunnel and wave tank integrated laboratories in the world.

The funding for the Atlantic Canadian universities is part of the more than $554 million announced by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan yesterday. The CFI funding will support 117 new infrastructure projects at 61 universities, colleges and research hospitals across Canada.

Quote:

"Our government understands that scientists need to have the best labs and tools if they're going to make discoveries that will pave the way to a brighter future for all people. That's why this funding announcement is so important; it gives scientists and their students the opportunity to further their research in areas where Canada has a competitive advantage. The discoveries, innovations and skills developed in these new, state-of-the-art labs will go a long way in improving our lives, our economy and our future prosperity." 
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

To read the full article in Market Insider, click here.

To read the full article in Dal News, click here.

To read the full article in Cision, click here.

To read the full article in the Hants Journal, click here.

To read the two articles in the Gazette, click here and here.

Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED) received ACOA funding

Science Atlantic will receive $280,000 from ACOA to support the development and implementation of the Atlantic Facilities and Research Equipment Database (AFRED). AFRED was launched in March 2017 and helps businesses access publicly funded research and development tools. The database provides quick and affordable access to 400 sophisticated technical instruments from more than 80 research facilities from across Atlantic Canada that can be contracted by companies in need of specialized testing.

If a search in the AFRED database for a research and development tool comes up empty, an email request for this equipment is sent to Springboard Atlantic. Springboard will then reach out to our members and network to see if anyone in our ecosystem is able to help. This mechanism serves two purposes, it extends AFRED's reach and it also helps researchers becoming aware of AFRED and to consider if they have research and development tools that they are willing to enter into the AFRED database.

“AFRED has tremendous potential to showcase specialized research infrastructure in Atlantic Canada and provide researchers with opportunities for partnerships with colleagues in academia and industry,” said Christian Lacroix, Chair-Elect of Science Atlantic and Biology Professor, University of Prince Edward Island.

First Angel Network will receive a grant of $948,000 over three years and Venn Innovation will receive ~$177,000 from ACOA. The goal for the First Angel Network is to develop the angel investor community in Atlantic Canada and to improve access to private capital for early-stage companies in the region. Venn Innovation will provide 60 Atlantic Canadian startups with access to MaRS market intelligence services over the next year, including access to industry-leading research reports and expert analysts.

To read the full Entrevestor article, click here.

Looking into the hearts of galaxies - Halifax researchers are working on deep space telescope

A $13-million project involving eight Canadian universities and the National Research Council will allow researchers to look into the heart of galaxies billions of light-years away. The Halifax researchers involved, Marcin Sawicki, Canada research chair in astronomy at Saint Mary’s University and Scott Chapman, a professor in Dalhousie’s faculty of science (co-leader of GIRMOS with faculty at the University of Toronto) will help build the instrument, the GIRMOS spectrograph. It will combine existing technologies into a powerful and efficient galactic probe.

Saint Mary’s scientists will create data-processing and simulation software that will be crucial to the operation of the Gemini InfraRed Multi-Object Spectrograph. GIRMOS will be a souped-up infrared spectrograph with “adaptive optics” technology, which compensates for distortions in the Earth’s atmosphere to create a sharper image. This component of the spectrograph, will be developed by scientists at Dalhousie.

The software to be developed at Saint Mary’s will be able to answer questions about what astronomers will see before they actually use the spectrograph, which will be attached to the eight-metre Gemini telescope in Chile. The data streaming through the spectrograph and telescopic optical system ends up on a detector similar to the one in cellphone cameras. Collected in the form of binary data — zeros and ones — it must be translated into a visible image and Saint Mary’s researchers will create data-processing software to perform that crucial task.

Currently, in the planning stages, the work on the project will begin in early 2018 and over the next five years, the various sites will work on their part of the project, collaborating through video conferences and annual face-to-face meetings. Saint Mary’s will dedicate one full-time researcher to the work, who will be supported by graduate and undergraduate students. The university will receive $300,000, shared by the federal government and the Nova Scotia government.

To read the full article in the Chronicle Herald, click here

Pilot Program works to address Investment Challenges in Atlantic Canada

Over the last few years, we have seen significant changes in the funding landscape.  Early stage start-ups and small SMEs who make up the bulk of the industry in the region, are subjected to changes in programs and investment behaviors which impact their ability to grow a business. The issue of increasing investment attraction in Atlantic Canada has been on our radar for a while

 Meanwhile, our companies have a global economy to compete with and need to let policy work its process – which means using the programs as they exist, and increasing access to private capital.

The challenge is that regional private capital rarely engages early enough compared to some of the above example programs. So our private sector capital gap just gets bigger.  Enter The Investment Opportunities Program (IOP) stage left. The goal of this program is to help offset this gap.

This pilot, which is funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) aims to select an initial group of 16 of our most promising early-stage companies, provide training and mentorship and groom with up to 12 companies being selected to attend an to attend an investment attraction mission to Toronto, where they will have the opportunity to meet with angels and early-stage investors looking for new opportunities. 

This pilot program aims to show that putting processes in place that facilitate matches between investors and investable companies can yield great results and help bridge the private sector capital gap. 

To learn more about the details of the program you can check out our FAQs. The deadline to apply is October 26th, get your application in NOW, to be part of this great opportunity. 

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Atlantic Canadian Universities involved in two short-listed Superclusters

The Canadian government received 50 proposals, involving more than 1,000 companies and 350 participants and has now announced the shortlist for a piece of the $950-million supercluster program to nine projects invited to submit a full application. The government anticipates that it will announce the five projects that will be chosen at the end of the fiscal year in March 20018.

The government defines superclusters as collaborations between companies and universities, colleges or not-for-profit organizations "to turn ideas into solutions that can be brought to market."

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, was at Dal’s Steele Ocean Sciences Building to make the announcement, his first stop in a cross-country tour announcing the nine finalists.

Supercluster short list:

  • From the Atlantic region: an oceans supercluster to invest in digital ocean technologies for industries such as aquaculture, the fishery, offshore oil and gas, and clean energy. Proponents include Petroleum Research Newfoundland and Labrador, Emera Inc., Clearwater and several regional universities including Dalhousie, MUN, UNB, UPEI to name a few – Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.
  • From Quebec: an artificial intelligence supercluster to bolster Canadian leadership in AI and data science. Proponents are led by Optel Group and include more than other 80 firms, including AgroPur, Aldo and Polytechnique de Montreal - The AI-powered Supply Chains Supercluster. 
  • MOST21 - A mobility supercluster focused on innovation and commercialization in the aerospace, ground transportation, and advanced manufacturing. Proponents include CAE Inc., Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. and Polytechnique Montreal and institutions and companies from the Atlantic region.
  • Ontario supercluster looking at transforming Canada's mining sector and focusing on clean resources, clean technology and responsible sourcing of metals. Proponents include Canada Mining Innovation Council, Barrick Gold Corp. and the University of British Columbia – CLEER Supercluster.
  • Ontario supercluster promises to speed up Canada's manufacturing competitiveness. Proponents include Communitech Corp. and MaRS Discovery District, Maple Leaf Foods and the University of Waterloo. 
  • From the Prairies: A protein supercluster to capture the export market opportunity for safe, nutritious plant-based food. Proponents include Ag-West Bio Inc., AGT Food and Ingredients and the University of Saskatchewan – Protein Innovations Canada supercluster. 
  • A supercluster to invest in technologies related to Canada's crop, livestock and agri-food processing sectors. Proponents: Agrium, Telus, and Olds College - Smart Agri-Food Super Cluster. 
  • An infrastructure supercluster promising to change how Canada's infrastructure is designed, built and operated using advanced digital communications, cutting-edge tools and interconnected applications and services. Proponents include Stantec Consulting Ltd., PCL Construction Management Inc., Athabasca University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. 
  • From British Columbia: a digital technology supercluster dedicated to making Canada better at inventing, developing and applying health and manufacturing. Proponents include Telus, Microsoft Canada Development Centre and six post-secondary institutions. 

To read the full article on CBC, click here.

To read the full article on Dal News, click here.

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

To read the full article on Huddle, click here.

Saint Mary’s University students are working on a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy

Matt Triff, Sunil Udhayakumar, and Raj Sonani, Saint Mary’s Master of Science in Computing and Data Analytics (CDA) students together with their Graduate Program Manager Keith Bain, participated in a National Poverty Conference in Ottawa.

The team was invited as guest speakers at the “Working Towards a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy” event by Employment and Social Development Canada. The students had the opportunity to share their experiences developing, organizing, and participating in Hackathon events. Using real-life examples, the team discussed how data from multiple sources could be used to find innovative solutions to social challenges, and they shared their experiences using advanced computing and data analytics techniques and tools to lead to creative solutions for the government and private sector.

Federal ministers attending included: 

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development;

Louise Levonian, Deputy Minister, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC);

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture;

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; and

Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

To read the full article in Saint Mary's News, click here.

UPEI engineering students are #springboarding the oyster industry

Jordan Sampson, Brett McDermott and Dylan MacIsaac, UPEI engineering students are working to flip over the oyster industry in Atlantic Canada, while opening up a new business opportunity for themselves. The three students designed specialized equipment that gently guides oyster cages in a rollercoaster-like flip.

The business opportunity is huge. Farmed oysters grow over 5 years in cages which can weigh up to 200 pounds each. During the maturation process, the cages need to be turned once or twice a week to discourage mussel, barnacle and algae build-up. Turning the cages improves the appearance and the size of the matured oysters. Currently, this process involves manual labour of up to 10 hours a day (depending on the size of the farm) and requires employees to be strong enough to do that work.

During their second year of their studies, the students were given the task to work with an industrial client to come up with an automated solution to the oyster cage flipping. Fast forward a year later and the student team applied under their own company name Island AquaTech for the provincial government award for students and received a $25,000 Ignition Fund grant for their entrepreneurial spirit.

This entrepreneurial team also sought help from UPEI's Synapse (a Springboard member turning ideas into solutions) to work on their technology and to file for a patent and in the summer Springboard Atlantic came behind their technology by providing Proof of Concept and patent funding from our Innovation Mobilization program. 

We are excited to not only see this project #springboarding forward but also to keep track of this entrepreneurial team and Island AquaTech in the years to come. 

The students anticipate that a full-sized prototype will be used in November and with the money the students received from the Ignition Fund they will build a production model that the industry can use.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

UPEI receives funding for high-tech science equipment

Providing support to the biosciences, the ACOA funding will be used to purchase equipment to look into the chemical makeup of materials for natural health products and the other equipment piece will be used by the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC).

AVC will be able to provide detailed toxicology testing on fish and mammals to detect pesticides, toxins and antibiotics that could be harmful for human consumption.

The total price tag of the equipment is estimated at $820,000 and UPEI and AVC will be covering the remaining $200,000.

To read the full CBC article, click here.

Boosting Innovation Success

Having passion is a key ingredient of business innovation and success, but it can also be a quality needing to be mitigated to successfully launch new products, says Michelle Jones, executive vice-president of Stage-Gate International, a management consulting firm based in Burlington, Ont.

On December 7, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Michelle Jones will be sharing the Stage-Gate process, being used by successful companies like High Liner Food and Starbucks to name a few. This one day workshop is organized and co-hosted by Acadia University, NSCC and Université Sainte-Anne and will be held in Wolfville at the K.C. Irving Centre, Acadia University.

Stage-Gate provides a roadmap and it is not a program participants have to buy with money, it is an internal business process and risk model companies are encouraged to adopt in order to accelerate innovation and success.

“What will be truly innovative about this session, is that Michelle has agreed to develop a customized workshop format that integrates both researcher expertise and local company (new product development) experiences into the day,” said Leigh Huestis, Director of Acadia’s Office of Industry and Community Engagement, or ICE. Researchers from all three institutions (who are members of Springboard) with specialized skill-sets will also present at the workshop and the presentations will highlight how to leverage available resources to support product development and getting it to market.

Collaboration and the approach taken are key to success and ICE’s has doubled Acadia’s research collaborations over the past few years over a broad range of areas from value-added food and beverage products to software, fulfilling its mandate to connect researchers with companies, government, and community groups.

Early-bird registration by November 15, 2017, is recommended.

To read the full article in The Chronicle Herald, click here.

Cybersecurity Centre created in Fredericton

To address the growing concern of the cybersecurity of industrial control systems, especially in the nuclear industry, establishing a cybersecurity research facility by the Canadian Nuclear Laboratory (CNL) in Fredericton, NB is essential. The research facility can leverage the cybersecurity expertise available in Fredericton and is going to partner with UNB's Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity (CIC) and UNB's faculties of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

Tha lab will be located at Knowledge Park and the facilities will be ready in 2018.

With this facility and their research, CNL will be well positioned to fill the void that exists in the cybersecurity of industrial control systems and is looking to expand its capabilities into more conventional industries.

To read the full story on Huddle, click here.

Moving Nova Scotian and Atlantic Canadian Agriculture Forward

Food security and food sovereignty is an important field of research and conversation in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. The use of Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) as a technology based approach in agriculture could be the means to achieve just that with more year-round local food production.  

To further this goal the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture is partnering with the Government of the Netherlands and a group of Dutch agri-food companies, Greenhouse industries and organizations, are teaming up to explore the possibilities of supporting more local food production and related R&D using innovative CEA in Atlantic Canada.

On September 28, 2017 AIM to Grow — an initiative of the Dutch Government and partner organizations — was launched in collaboration with the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture. The potential for improvements to the Canadian Agri-food sector by expanding production through modern local greenhouses is attractive by lengthening the growing season and providing new opportunities to produce more locally grown, year-round, pesticide-free food.

Further advantages of this approach are the benefits to the economy with the creation of local jobs and decreased pollution with shorter transport distances. Currently nearly 86 per cent of all fresh fruits and 39 per cent of vegetables consumed in Canada are imported and in 2015, prices for imported fresh produce increased approximately 12 per cent due to the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar. Further, due to the high costs of imported produce, Atlantic Canada’s ‘end of the line’ transportation and distribution challenges and costs pose an extra burden for ensuring fresh produce in the region.

A world leader in greenhouse produced food, the Dutch Agri-food greenhouse sector and its representatives are eager to collaborate with the Faculty of Agriculture, seeing it as an ideal partner for the AIM to Grow initiative for research and development, education and training and outreach.

To read the full article in the Dal News, click here.

Celebration September: Agile Technologies - Soaring to New Heights

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Highlights from this story include: 

  • Agile Sensor Technologies is a start-up out of Memorial University (MUN) focused on the commercialization of robotics technologies. 
  • The company and the underlying tech came out of a multi-year Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) project with Dr. Nick Krouglicof who is now Agile's Chief Technology Officer.
  • Its first technology - a motor control system for drones was released onto the market in 2015. 
  • A partnership with Solace Power (another NL startup), and a strategic partnership with Gaitech International Ltd. of Shanghai, China is enabling new growth. The partnership with Gaitech includes a strategic investment in Agile and an agreement to co-develop new products for distribution in the global robotics market. Their first joint project is to produce a plug-and-play development platform for robot makers. 
  • Memorial's Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office aided Agile in protecting its intellectual property portfolio, which now consists of over five issued patents.
  • Key stats: 1 new company, 1 license, 9 new jobs. 

We are very proud of the ways that Memorial is #springboarding Atlantic growth. This type of support is available to you and your business too. Contact us to start #springboarding. 

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Research Cluster is Budding in Fredericton

The two cannabis research chairs created at St. Thomas University (STU) and the University of New Brunswick (UNB) are the first two such chairs in Canada. The creation of these two chairs is supported by the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF), who is providing $500,000 over five years for each chair. Private industry, via Shoppers Drug Mart at St. Thomas and the pharmaceutical company Tetra Bio-Pharma at UNB. are also each providing $500,000 each over five years.

STU's strength lies in the social sciences and the humanities and the STU research chair's work will help inform government policy on a complex moral and legal issue.

The UNB the research chair will focus on the biochemistry, medicinal use, and pharmacology of cannabis.

This is a great opportunity for both Springboard members to collaborate on this important project and to potentially combine their expertise with other players in the industry.  

To read the full article on University Affairs, click here.

To read our previous coverage of this topic, click here.

Celebration September: Pest Fighting Pheromones

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Highlights from this story include: 

  • Pest management using pheromones is key to helping the agriculture and forestry sectors continue to grow in ecologically responsible ways. 
  • Dr. Kirk Hillier and the Office of Industry and Community Engagement were able to build new partnerships around Atlantic Canada's considerable expertise in fighting insect pests. They were successful in receiving $4.42 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's  (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) to help foster this innovation. 
  • The project has generated:  2 full patents, 2 more patents pending and 9 technologies licensed for commercialization.
  • The project has enabled Sylvar Technologies to launch a complete line of pheromone pest management products on the market. 
  • The work has proven so promising that a second AIF has been awarded to continue this development of this technology for $2.93 million.

We are very proud of the ways that Acadia is #springboarding Atlantic growth. This type of support is available to you and your business too. Contact us to start #springboarding. 

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Dr. Beth Mason named a winner of Canada’s 2018 Clean50 Awards.

Dr. Beth Mason, an Industrial Research Fellow Bio-products at the Verschuren Centre, has built a team of bio-products researchers at the Verschuren Centre. She has helped over 20 companies in Atlantic Canada to recover valuable co-products from unused agri-food and marine byproducts, thereby reducing the amount and potential pollution that would otherwise go into the landfill or the ocean.

High efficient "green" enzymatic fermentation extraction is the core technology of her work. The process leaves out the use of noxious chemicals and does not produce further waste. The concept has been proven at pilot scale, transforming byproducts into high value feed, plant and food bioactive compounds for health applications.

“I am very honoured to be selected to receive this prestigious award and share the recognition with my Verschuren Centre team,” said Mason. “I look forward to meeting with other honourees later this month to further the centre’s sustainability mandate and continue our work toward developing industry solutions and opportunities to grow a sustainable economy.”  

Later this month Dr. Mason will travel to Toronto to attend the Clean50 Summit 7 where she will be meeting with approximately 120 past and incoming Clean50 Honourees.

To read the full article in the Cape Breton Post, click here.

Nova Scotia Community College receives $6.5 million from Sobeys Family

The Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is now able to provide access to education for all Nova Scotians thanks to a generous gift from the Sobey's family.

The $4 million gift from the Donald R. Sobey Foundation is intended to directly recruit and assist individuals who are facing barriers to attaining a post-secondary education. Together with the Donald R. Sobey Foundation Fund at NSCC, NSCC will work with community agencies and law enforcement organizations from across Nova Scotia to enable individuals who have never considered a college education to attend NSCC. 

With the $2 million gift from the Sobey Foundation, six NSCC campuses, that hold Sobeys Culinary Centres will be refurbished to evolve food services education at NSCC and will also provide a dedicated fund to finance bursaries for students who choose to study Culinary Arts at NSCC.

The  $500,000 gift from Frank, Heather, Karl and Ann Sobey will establish a legacy of access to education in memory of their parents, Doe and Bill Sobey. Students at the NSCC Marconi and Pictou Campuses who are in financial need can apply for the Doe and Bill Sobey Inspiration Awards to help cover tuition and related college expenses.

"The generosity of the Sobey Family will make an extraordinary impact on those who wish to embrace and benefit from post-secondary education," says NSCC President Don Bureaux. "Their support will serve as a catalyst, making a new beginning possible for deserving students in need. As NSCC starts a new school year, the timing of this commitment is inspiring."

To read the full article on NSCC News, click here.

Addressing mental health in the classroom

We are very happy to see that Springboards Innovation Mobilization (IM) Proof of Concept funding has provided the initial push to get Teacher Help into the classroom, promising to provide help to Canadians on a daily basis.

Developed from over 10 years of research led by Dr. Penny Corkum (professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, and in Psychiatry), her team worked with one Nova Scotia school board on a solution to provide the information the classroom teachers need, in the moment they need it and not at the next professional development day, when the situation has long passed.

With the support from Dalhousie's Industry Liaison office and Springboard's IM funding, Dr. Corkum was able to explore this novel and innovative approach, which in March 2016 has led to a successful application to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) eHealth Innovation Partnership Program (eHIPP) for $300,000 which was industry matched by Velsoft Training Materials, a private e-Learning company based in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia for a total project value of $600,000. This Nova Scotia-based eHealth professional development program was ranked first in Canada and was the only successful application from Nova Scotia in the CIHR eHIPP competition.

This fall, a Canada-wide randomized controlled trial (RCT) is set to launch, which will test the effectiveness of the Teacher Help program in Canadian school systems. It is hoped that the final tested program will on the market by the 2019/2020 school year with the help of Velsoft Training Materials Inc.

To read the full article in the Dal News, click here.

Creative Destruction Labs Atlantic has named 24 mentors for the program

Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic (CDL-Atlantic) will begin with its first cohort in December with the first group of early-stage startups from various sectors, focusing on nurtuting comapnies in ocean tech, cleantech and agritech.

Generally, CDL starts each cohort with a few dozen teams. the Teams attend a one- or two-day mentoring session to receive a set of milestones from mentors, which they have to achieve over the next 2 month. When the cohort convenes again, teams who missed their milestones are asked to leave. CDL repeats the process several times, so each cohort ends up with a core of graduates.

CDL-Atlantic has now named its rooster of 24 mentors, which include national business leaders John Rislet and Ken Rowe. 

“This is a tremendous effort to help increase the regional prosperity of Atlantic Canada,” IMP Group founder and executive chairman Ken Rowe said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to mentoring and sharing my experiences with early-stage, high-potential companies.”

The list of mentors is a mixture of those who have been active and visible in backing Atlantic Canadian tech startups and those who are known more for their work in traditional businesses. The CDL could be luring a new host of investors into the startup space.

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here.

Celebration September: Better Beer - A “Case” Study

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Highlights from this story include: 

  • CCNB is working with over 50 industry partners annually from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, and Maine to name a few. 
  • Being awarded 2.16 million in January 2017 to grow their applied research services. 
  • Keeping 14 young Highly Qualified Personnel working and living in rural New Brunswick and working with companies to help the area thrive.

We are very proud of the ways that CCNB is #springboarding Atlantic growth. This type of support is available to you and your business too. Contact us to start #springboarding. 

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ICYMI: Pushing the boundaries of innovation and knowledge with NSERC funding

On September 8, 2017, the Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, announced $515 million in support for fundamental research through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's (NSERC) 2017 funding competition, representing NSERC’s largest annual investment. The funding assists researchers with financial support through scholarships, fellowships, research supplements, and equipment grants.

Springboard congratulates its members, Acadia University, Dalhousie University, Memorial University, Mount Allison University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Saint Francis Xavier University, Saint Mary's University, Université de Moncton, Université de Sainte Anne, University of New Brunswick and the University of Prince Edward Island for receiving a combined total of ~$24 million to advance Atlantic Canadian innovation and skills development.

Funding was received for NSERC's Discovery Grant, Research Tools and Instruments Grant, Student Scholarships and Fellowships grants and for Discovery Development Grants. The science investigated by Atlantic Canadian researchers extends across all fields of the natural sciences, from algae to robotics and everything in between. 

We also would like to extend our congratulations to Drs. Rodolphe Devillers (Memorial University), Aitazaz Ahsan Farooque (University of Prince Edward Island), Arunika Gunawardena (Dalhousie University), Kirk Hillier (Acadia University), Weimin Huang (Memorial University), Jan Reiney (Dalhousie University) and Peter Selinger (Dalhousie University) who were among the Canadian researchers that received the 2017 NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement for their outstanding research program. 

To read the full NSERC article, click here.

To read Acadia University's article, click here.

To read Dalhousie University's article, click here.

To read Memorial University's article, click here.

Celebration September: Springboard Impact

We are kicking the month off with a 'by the numbers' look at the impact of Springboard on the Atlantic Canadian economy in the last 3 years. 

You can see that our impact is significant. Let's dig into the numbers a bit further: 

- From 2014-2017 35 people did 6237 contracts with companies. So think again when you think about universities and colleges as ivory towers. Our network is out there working hard to ensure companies get a ton of value out of the research capacity in their backyards. This number is also 24% OVER the goal we set for ourselves in 2014. 

- Not impressed yet? Well, we also contributed over a BILLION in research dollars to the regional economy. Anytime you can put that B in front of -illion you can feel pretty good about going home at the end of the day. 

- In addition to contracts and dollars, the network was also responsible for 1300 intellectual property transfers in the last 3 years. We know intellectual property remains a controversial subject. But the fact remains that protecting ideas is a major part of building businesses. We've enabled the protection and transfer of over 1300 ideas into the hands of capable business owners large and small to help their businesses grow. 

- This intellectual property is the seed that many of our startups grow from. We are excited to see the startup growth in our ecosystem and we're proud to see how many of these ideas are being fostered at our member institutions. 149 new companies grown in the last 3 years is something to be very proud of. We continue to try and do more to facilitate start-up growth, including the launch of our Investment Opportunities Program. This pilot program will help startups partner with potential investors at that crucial stage when early seed investment can take a business to the next level. 

- One of the major tools we have to help facilitate the development of ideas is our Innovation Mobilization Program. This program is one of our core tools. It allows us to prove, protect, and develop new ideas at the final bench stage through to market prototyping. We've spent 1.5 million doing just that. You will see as we share more of our successes, many of our stories have theirs roots in this program. 

These numbers speak for themselves and we are very proud to celebrate the success and impact of this network. None of this would be possible without the continued support of the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency (ACOA). We appreciate not only their financial contribution to Springboard but also our shared vision for the region. Which you can see articulated in the Atlantic Growth Strategy.

We hope we've peaked your interest in joining us in #springboarding Atlantic growth. Click here to chat with us about how we can help you grow. 

Sentrant’s assets taken on by Nielsen Holdings

Combating fraudulent online advertising, the Fredericton-based cybersecurity company Sentrant Solutions, the Fredericton cybersecurity company that combats fraudulent online advertising has made a deal with Nielsen Holdings.

Nielsen has not acquired Sentrant Security’s entire business, but has been buying key assets (technology) and has been hiring Sentrant's personnel. The companies technology specializes in detecting and fighting fraudulent online advertising schemes that use sophisticated botnets, allowing advertising campaigns to run without the worry of cyber-criminals influencing the messaging with hard-to-detect malware.

Originally named Ara Labs, the company (Sentrant Security) was co-founded by Ali Ghorbani, dean of computer science at UNB. Dr. Ghorbani was recently named the Canada Research Chair in cybersecurity and last week captured the regional Startup Canada Award for senior entrepreneurship. He also co-founded the social media monitoring company Eyesover.

It is the hope that the operation continues to grow in the Fredericton area. The city has a rich ecosystem for cybersecurity research and development, including the Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence at UNB. 

To read the full article in Entrevestor, click here.

Springboard seeks next President and CEO

As Springboard moves into its 12th year we are sad to say farewell to our current President and CEO Chris Mathis who announced at the Annual General Meeting on August 23rd, 2017 that he will be stepping down to pursue new opportunities.

"At different stages in an organization's growth it needs new leaders to help it continue to evolve and grow, I believe Springboard is at such a stage and it's time for a new leader to guide the organization into the future," said Chris Mathis. 

"I am proud of the Springboard team and the work we have done together," he added. "I know I am leaving the organization knowing that the network is strong. And I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Springboard." 

Brian Lowe, Chair of the Springboard Atlantic Board of Directors expressed the board's appreciation for Chris' leadership saying, "We thank Chris for his tremendous contribution to Springboard and we wish him every success going forward."

The search for a new President and CEO is underway. Please click here to find out more about this opportunity. 

UNB receives $1.25 million from the McCain Foundation for Innovation Fellowship

To provide PhD graduates with the skills and resources to transform their research into market ready products, the McCain Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Innovation has been created at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). The university has received a $1.25 million gift from The McCain Foundation, which will fund the new fellowships. 

These fellowships will run for two- to three years and are valued at $50,000 per year. They will be awarded on an annual basis and are competitive. The aim is to attract the best early-career researchers, who over the course of their fellowship will advance their expertise in their field under the mentorship from faculty and industry leaders. 

"Linda McCain, chair of The McCain Foundation, said the fellowships will provide unique training opportunities for early-career researchers. “We believe that these fellowships will enhance the recipients’ specialized expertise and also give them valuable skills that will translate their ideas into more opportunities for themselves and others in New Brunswick,” she said." 

The first recipient of the McCain Fellowship is Edward Cyr from the University of Waterloo and at UNB since May 2017. He is currently building his research program to investigate at the 

The inaugural recipient of the McCain Fellowship is Edward Cyr. He came to UNB from the University of Waterloo in May, and began building his research program, studying the role that artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing play in the evolution of printed materials. His work is undertaken at the Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre. He anticipates that the results will have applications in the marine industry, the automotive, construction, and aircraft industries.

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

To read the full article on Huddle, click here.

“ExACT” Technology is #springboarding forward with real world studies

In January 2017 StFX announced the signing of a collaboration agreement with Altus Geomatics (a Canadian Altus Group company) for the exclusive commercialization and usage rights of the technology. 

Now combining forces with Altus Gemoatics, faculty and students of Dr. Dave Risk’s Flux Lab, the group is currently field testing the (“ExACT”) gas leak detection technology for commercial use of their vehicle-based Emissions Attribution via Computational Techniques.

Springboard is very pleased that Dr. Risk's Flux Lab is #springboarding forward with Altus Geomatics and to see that through the support of Springboard's Innovation Mobilization Fund CleanTech technology is being commercialized. StFX Manager of Industry Liaison Andrew Kendall (StFX is a member of Springboard Atlantic) says that the ability to identify emissions in an efficient and cost-effective manner allows producers to minimize the economic cost of lost commodities and maximize environmental protection. “This is an excellent example of technology transfer,” he says. 

To read the full article in StFX News, click here.

First Ocean Choice International Research Chair in Stock Assessment and Sustainable Harvest Advice for Northwest Atlantic Fisheries

The new chair is only the second industry research chair of the Marine Institute (MI) and has received an investment of $2.5 million from industry, government, academia, donors and the Marine Institute (MI) to advance the way fish stock assessments for the Northwest Atlantic fisheries are conducted.

Ocean Choice International and the provincial government, through InnovateNL, will each contribute $500,000 and additional funding will be leveraged against the chair through the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) and MI while the Robert and Edith Skinner Wildlife Management Fund at the Fisheries and Marine Institute will provide $500,000 over the next five years. This money will support the work of the chair and the hiring of two research scientists in fish stock assessment.

With the formation of this chair, MI's leadership role in fisheries research will be furthered, a leadership role that was established with the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research and will contribute to MI’s role in advancing unique, interdisciplinary ocean-related research and innovation within the Ocean Frontier Institute.

The goal of the chair is to further the state-of-the-art and current practice in fish stock assessment and focus on sustainability and requirements for Northwest Atlantic Fisheries and specifically those on the Grand Banks, N.L., including but not limited to American plaice, yellowtail flounder, Greenland halibut and redfish.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

Low Cost, Efficient Water Analysis

Originally from Romania, Dr. Stephana Egli, came to Memorial University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and environmental science from South Africa in 2009 to do her master's degree in analytical chemistry and quickly converted to the PhD program.

Her work, which started in Dr. Christina Bottaro's group, has led her to develop a cost-effective, portable water analysis method that is of great interest to the oil and gas industry as it can be used to assist in oil cleanup operations. The compound is a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP), which when exposed to water, can absorb certain compounds that normally dissolve in water. Up until now, a one-liter water sample had to be brought to the laboratory to analyse for oil in water. The MIP, in contrast, is the size of a quarter and can also be deployed via a remotely operated vehicle if needed.

Dr. Egli also went through the Evolution Program with the Genesis Centre and came first in their Pitch & Pick competition and acknowledges the Genesis Centre, (MaRS on the Rock), and the Entrepreneurship Training Program in enabling her to learn the skills required to successfully commercialize the MIP.

Together with Drs. Christina Bottaro, Kelly Hawboldt and Carlos Bazan, she received an Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) in March 2017 to develop MIP-based systems for water quality assessment.

Already in December 2016 Drs. Egli and Bottaro were awarded a $248,400 provincial ArcticTECH grant to translate the MIP into a market-ready product. The result: Intelligent Materials, a Memorial spin-off company. The Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (a Springboard Member) has worked with Dr. Egli along the way, supporting the commercialization of her research.

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

Chelation Partners Inc. is #springboarding forward in their Fight against Superbugs

Chelation Partners -  a Halifax company is working on solving the problem of superbugs and one of the major issues we must face in our healthcare system is the antibiotic-resistance that bacteria are developing. 

When Bill Cheliak was speaking with Sarah Conrod, the Manager of Industry Partnerships and Research Commercialization at Cape Breton University (CBU), a Springboard Atlantic Member, at the Atlantic Venture Forum 2015 a remarkable research relationship was formed. One of CBU's key researchers Dr. Matthias Bierenstiel was looking for new partners for his work and Dr. Bierenstiel and Mr. Cheliak began their research partnership with an NSERC Engage grant in 2015 and the collaboration continued from there: 

Currently, the company is running clinical trials on dogs to test a new chemical compound that acts like a magnet to break down the defences of antibiotic-resistant superbugs by depriving them of the one thing they all need — iron. The work at CBU has provided hands-on experience for undergraduate and honours students in Bierenstiel’s laboratory, helping develop manufacturing methods and studying how the compound works at the molecular level and currently Bierenstiel's lab is working on the scale up from the lab manufacturing to commercial manufacturing. 

At Dalhousie University, researchers in the faculty of medicine have also been involved with Chelation Partners and CBU, testing how the compound works at the microbiological level in blood. If the clinical trials on dogs are successful, it is hoped that human trials could be underway by the end of next year.

To read the full article in the Chronicle Herald, click here.

At Springboard Atlantic we are excited to see how our members are helping industry to solve their problems and are #springboarding forward. 

ICYMI: Springboard Members receive CFI infrastructure funding

On August 15, 2017 the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced the next round of funding, provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF), which gives researchers the means to purchase state-of-the-art technology and equipment to allow universities and researchers across Canada to carry out ground-breaking research in world-class facilities.

In the Atlantic Provinces the recipients in New Brunswick were Mount Allision University (MtA), Université de Moncton (UdM) and the University of New Brunswick (UNB). Click here to read about the funding details. Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) received funding for 2 projects. In Nova Scotia the recipients were Acadia University, Cape Breton University (CBU), Dalhousie University (Dal), Saint Mary's University (SMU) and Saint Francis Xavier University (StFX). Click here to read about the funding details.

Congratulations to our members and their outstanding researchers.

To read the CIF press release, click here.

To read the Huddle article about UNB CFI funding, click here.

To read the Gazette article about MUN CFI funding, click here.

To read the Dal News article about Dal CFI funding, click here.

To read the StFX News article about StFX CFI funding, click here.

Attracting Customers in New Ways

To develop and innovate new digital and other strategies students and researchers at the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University are set to work with local producers and artisans, technology companies and others at the Halifax Port Authority's Seaport Farmers' Market.

The idea for this partnership was born when when Julie Chaisson, executive director of the Seaport Farmers' Market, and a colleague attended a new week-long certificate program at Sobey's retail innovation centre. Future research topics considered are small video screens on shelves to tell the story of local food producers and artisans whose wares are sold in The Shelf, the farmers' market retail store and to deliver an assessment of their value or  specially-fitted glasses worn by consumers to see what attracts their attention in the store. The farmers market also serves as an incubator for local businesses, working with as many as 250 vendors.

"This partnership gives us a living laboratory in a real store," say Ramesh Venkat, director of the business school's David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services, of a new agreement with the Seaport Farmers' Market. "It will allow us to test innovations, run experiments and gather data while the store is operating." 

To read the full Globe and Mail article. click here.

Turning Fish Waste into a Commercial Product

To divert potential landfill and to turn a profit in the process, the Verschuren Centre at Cape Breton University will receive $750,000 from ACOA to create a pilot facility. Fish and shellfish waste will be ground up and turned into value added products, like paint additives or diet supplements.

Beth Mason, CEO of the Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, said it's a practical solution to reducing waste that would normally be put in a landfill. The project will take two years to be completed.

In a second project ($300,000 from ACOA) the Verschuren Centre will work North Sydney's Northsyde Processing, a division of Louisbourg Seafoods Ltd., to implement a filtering system to remove shrimp shells from seafood waste.

To read the full article on CBC.ca, click here.

Springboard and Jameson Group Launch Investment Opportunities Pilot Project

When investors and market ready entrepreneurs come together, the outcomes can be significant. Time and again we’ve heard about great startup success for those companies who were able to secure necessary funding to move the idea into a commercializable opportunity. The problem tends to be matching the right investors with the right start-up at the right time.

That’s why Springboard Atlantic CEO Chris Mathis and Nova Scotia-based Jameson Group (organizers of Invest Atlantic) CEO Bob Williamson have launched a new pilot program in Atlantic Canada with support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency(ACOA). It’s called the Atlantic Investment Opportunities Program and its purpose is to help solve the problem of timing and match the right investors with the right start-up at the right time.

The program will identify the best investable opportunities from Atlantic Canada and pair them with identified investors in key target markets. “The program will seek out those best opportunity start-ups that also meet the criteria outlined in the input and feedback we’ve received from potential investors,” says Mathis.

This market-driven pilot program is accepting applications for entry into the programs first cohort now. Click here to find out more about participating in this unique opportunity.  

This story first appeared in the Canadian Innovation News

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CarbonCure to work on Californian Rail project

The Halifax-based startup has partnered with Outback Materials of Fresno, Calif., which will install CarbonCure’s technology at its Fresno plant. The installation of the technology will lead to the consumption of waste during concrete production instead of emitting it. Therefore not only making the high-speed rail project more environmentally friendly but also all other projects that make use of CarbonCure's Technology.

CarbonCure's Technology injects carbon into concrete to strengthen it, reduce costs and most importantly it reduces carbon dioxide emissions, where traditional concrete production produces huge amounts of CO2. The company began with a process for concrete blocks and last year launched a process to inject carbon into ready-mix concrete.

"It is truly an honour for CarbonCure to have the opportunity to partner with a great producer like Outback Materials and to partake in an infrastructure project with the magnitude of the California High-Speed Rail," said CarbonCure CEO Robert Niven. "If CarbonCure's technology were used to produce the concrete for the rest of the first construction package, spanning from Madera to Fresno, the carbon reductions would be equivalent to the amount of CO2 consumed by 3200 acres of American forest over a year."

To read the full article, click here.

Nova Scotia Community College receives $2.2M in ACOA funding

The funding of $1,207,500 NSCC, a Springboard Atlantic member, received from ACOA will support applied research in local clean technology, agriculture, fisheries, and in the marine and manufacturing sectors. This will include the purchases of new 3D printing technology and a mobile micro-grid capable of generating and storing wind and other forms of clean energy for the Dartmouth waterfront campus, a “visualization lab” to help researchers tap Lidar-based data for the Middleton campus and an integrated UAV crop-management system for precision viticulture for the NSCC’s Centre for Geographic Sciences, in Lawrencetown.

The remaining $948,000 will help NSCC support 40 Nova Scotian firms to improve their HR, occupational health and industrial engineering, will allow NSCC to hire a manufacturing technician to incorporate new technology into the curriculum and to help students build entrepreneurial skills across NSCC’s 13 campuses until June 30 next year.

To read the full article, click here.

St. Thomas University and UNB set to lead Canada’s Cannabis Research

New Brunswick is strengthening its position as a Canadian leader in Cannabis research, as well as a world leader, by creating the 2nd Heath Research Chair in Cannabis at UNB. This follows the first announcement in May of the creation of the first ever Health Research Chair in Cannabis at St. Thomas University.

St. Thomas' Health Research Chair received $1M in funding ($500,000 from Shoppers Drug Mart and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, respectively and the UNB chair will also receive $1-million in funding – $500,000 from New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and $500,000 from Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc.

The UNB chair will focus on the research of biochemistry, medicinal use and pharmacology of cannabis, further expanding the university’s commitment to research and innovation in the field of natural product and biomedical, health and life sciences. The St. Thomas chair will research policy development, socio-economic and health-related issues related to cannabis use.

The creation of these chairs are very timely, since the federal government is moving ahead with plans to legalize recreational marijuana use by July 2018.

To read the full Huddle article, click here.

To read the full CBC article, click here.

To read the full Global News article, click here.

To read the full Civilized article, click here.

MUN and UPEI receive ACOA AFI funding for cultured salmon research

MUN researcher Dr. Kurt Gamperl and UPEI researcher Dr. Mark Fast have been working for 15 years to improve the regions aquaculture production of salmon and other fish species, with the aim to reduce the impact of pathogens and changing environmental conditions. Both circumstances can lead to disease and poor health, directly impacting the industry.

This pan-Atlantic project will be using genomics and other biotechnologies to imporve the health and well-being of cultured Atlantic salmon and is lead by Drs. Gamperl and Fast, MUN Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science and UPEI’s Atlantic Veterinary College, respectively.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) awarded $2.9 million in AIF funding, which is matched with $1.5 million in funding from Newfoundland's provincial government ($500,000), industry and other academic partners for the total project cost of $4.4 million.

Supported by MUN's Technology Transfer and Industry Liaison Office and UPEI's Synapse, members of Springboard Atlantic, the research and engagement with industry has been steadily #springboarding forward and Springboard Atlantic came further behind this pan-Atlantic initiative with Innovation Mobilization Marketing Support funding.  

To read the full article in The Gazette, click here.

To read the full article in The Telegram, click here.

To read the full article in The Guardian, click here.

To read the full article in VOCM, click here.

NS EEL Aquaculture business readying to launch with help from Dalhousie researchers

Aiming to raise market ready product in a sustainable and low-impact way by 2020, NovaEel a Nova Scotia company continues to work with researchers at Dalhousie University. Receiving access to various sophisticated equipment, for example, the Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Core Facility at Dalhousie Medical School has helped the company to determine the sex of immature eels (glass eels) and to safely select and grow female eels, which can grow up to several kilograms and are the preferred product for export.

Dalhousie's Industry Liaison & Innovation office (Dal ILI), a Springboard member, played a key role to help obtained a $25,000 Engage Grant from NSERC and $5,000 from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, allowing the Dalhousie researchers to work with NovaEel to develop the methods for safely and reliably feminizing its glass eel supply. Dal ILI will continue to be involved in the project were needed. 

The work on all aspects of this project has also proven to be a great training ground for scientists and engineers and so far has involved more than 20 trainees.

To read the full article, click here.

Engaging Entrepreneurs - One Student at a Time

In 2014, the Province of Nova Scotia, as part of the One Nova Scotia Report,  launched the Provincial Sandbox Initiative designed to create a culture of entrepreneurism for students and communities  across the Province.  It came about as a result of the question - how and when do we get people moving through the start-up funnel? 

The sandbox idea lives at the top of the funnel with each location acting as a hub designed to leverage the brain power in the province’s universities and colleges to help drive knowledge-based businesses and to offer educational learning opportunities.

Jolene MacEachern runs Dalhousie University’s agriculture focused sandbox program Cultiv8 out of the university’s Truro Campus.  Cultiv8 is one of 7 sandbox programs in the Province designed to ensure all university students have access to resources necessary to help their ideas become reality.  MacEachern says the key with programs like Cultiv8 is to get kids excited about innovation and entrepreneurship in their chosen field.

“Agriculture is a global innovation driver in many other regions of the world,” says MacEachern. “We need to expose our students to these ideas.  They need to know robots are farming in Japan.  By getting people excited we will change the way we look at agriculture’s role in our emerging new economy.”

The sandbox program also offers an Innovation Summer Bootcamp which includes 16 weeks of entrepreneurship programming.

 “Once they’re engaged we see tremendous excitement,” says MacEachern.  “It’s because they’re learning that they can carve their own destiny and isn’t that what we want most for our students?”

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The Atlantic Canada Startup Ecosystem

“There’s never been a better time to be a start-up in Atlantic Canada”.  That according to Doug Robertson CEO of Venn Innovation in Moncton, New Brunswick.  Venn -  a globally recognized accelerator is a part of a growing group of Atlantic-based organizations committed to creating successful entrepreneurs and companies in the region.

Robertson’s position is not a unique one.  In fact it’s the current sentiment from many in the start-up ecosystem across Atlantic Canada

As Canada celebrates its 150th we tend to reflect on the past to determine its impact on the future.  Without a doubt, Atlantic Canada boasts a long and storied history of innovation.  The key opening can, the hot and cold water faucet, the thermal window pane, the pipeless furnace, and of course the snowblower.  Perhaps that’s where the start-up ecosystem started.  Innovation driven by necessity and the determination of a region to help itself forward. 

The modern-day start-up ecosystem, however, was a little later starting.  In fact, just  20 years ago there were only 2 centres focused on entrepreneurial start-ups emerging from research within the university (the TME program at UNB and Genesis at Memorial).  In the last 10 years however, the ecosystem has flourished.  Today the start-up network across Atlantic Canada boasts over 30 organizations in the sandbox, garage, incubator and accelerator space.

There is a network of support that has been strategically created by government, academia and industry that is allowing entrepreneurship and the commercialization of ideas across our region.

There’s also some unique characteristics that position Atlantic Canada differently than other start up regions across North America.

Atlantic Canada boasts a collaborative model that has been truly embraced by the start-up ecosystem.  This model not only celebrates working together but also failing together in terms of the learnings generated.  It then takes those learnings to help propel the next start-up idea.

Energia Ventures is the newest accelerator in Atlantic Canada.  Executive Director Edwin Rodriguez says the difference between the start-up ecosystem in Atlantic Canada and in other places he’s done business is the lack of Darwinian culture.  “While there are many other successful start-up environments across North America, for every success there are numerous roadkill.  In Atlantic Canada we are not driven by survival of the fittest but rather a culture of hands on, higher quality support that has created a higher success ratio for our start-ups in Atlantic Canada.”

As well, while Atlantic Canada may be short on seed investment it makes up for it with other types of programs and support networks (like Springboard Atlantic) that have been driven by industry in partnership with government and post-secondary institutions.  These allow the start-ups in this region the ability to compete on a global level. 

Springboard Atlantic CEO Chris Mathis says that “in some respect, Springboard’s greatest success is the planting of the seed that has changed the culture and sparked a belief that entrepreneurship, stemming from the commercialization of research and ideas, is the basis for a sustainable region moving forward.”

Finally, other trends are playing in Atlantic Canada’s favour.  Global connectivity means you can successfully run a business from really any corner of the world – especially a place as beautiful as Atlantic Canada. And the housing boom in major urban centres has ensured our younger entrepreneurs won’t be able to afford suitable housing any time soon – so again why not consider Atlantic Canada where your housing dollar gets you more.

In the end, Atlantic Canada’s emergence onto the global start-up scene may be later coming, but it’s an innovation renaissance that is as unique as the region itself and one that promises to continue moving the region and its players forward one success story at a time.

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Making Frozen Lobster Taste Great

A few years back Dr. Shah Razul (StFX, Dept of Chemistry) was cooking frozen lobster for relatives in Singapore and was very disappointed when he took his first bite. The difference in taste from the fresh product was so great that he decided to find a way to break with the age old lobster preserving tradition and to improve the culinary experience of eating frozen lobster.

Preserving lobster year-round 

Fast forward to today and Dr. Razul is now working with a team of students to boil, de-shell and freeze 90 kilograms of lobster as part of a yearlong research project to study his innovation to see whether it's possible to make lobster taste fresher longer. If proven that it works the goal is to provide a solution to the industry that has great commercial potential worldwide.

To ensure that the ultimate judge, the consumer, is satisfied with the end product, StFX has partnered with researchers at Acadia University to conduct sensory testing with the public at six and 12 month time. The sensory testing will take place in Acadia's Centre for the Sensory Research of Food.

The funding for this project comes from Springboard's Innovation Mobilization Program, Proof of Concept Fund and we are delighted to see our members collaborate on important research that will be #springboarding forward their innovations into the industry.

To read the full article on Yahoo News, click here.

To read the full CBC.ca article, click here.

11 Teams graduate from Dal’s LaunchPad

LaunchDal is helping students to start their own business and on Wednesday night, 11 teams completed the summer program by pitching their companies and ideas as part of their graduation from the program. Almost all the teams are working with or have lined up early adopters, and some have already raised capital from sources other than the university.

Three of the eleven teams are in the ocean tech space and several companies are producing hardware. Given that the Atlantic Provinces are applying for federal funding for the ocean super-cluster, it is significant to have more start-up companies in this sector that can be involved. Hardware producers face a different challenge than software producers and LaunchDal has been enhancing its program for hardware-makers over the last couple years. 

The companies that pitched the night of July 19, 2017:

Axem

FrontLineVR 

Graphite Innovation & Technologies 

Trip Ninja 

ROVault 

UpFront 

ADDText 

PLANifax 

Mowbot 

NovaResp 

Vioa 

To read the full article on Entrevestor, click here.

Holland College’s Canada’s Smartest Kitchen helps Cedar’s Eatery #springboarding forward

After owner Ryan Abdallah discovered that his father Maroun's original garlic spread recipe was so popular with customers in their restaurant and they learned all the way people use it, they decided to take it to the next level and work towards the goal to offer their well love product for sale at a major retailer. Reaching out to Holland College and with the help of an IRAP CTO the idea was further developed.

In order to ensure that the taste from the restaurant experience translates into the bought product, Mr. Abdallah spent countless hours perfecting the recipe for large scale production and enlisted the help from product development experts at both Bio Food Tech and Canada's Smartest Kitchen in Charlottetown.

The final push to establish a relationship with Sobeys came when Mr. Abdallah won the top prize of $30,000 in a contest by the Food Island Partnership designed to help P.E.I. food entrepreneurs develop new products. Supported by Springboard's Innovation Mobilization Industry Engagement Fund, organized and executed by Holland College's Canada's Smartest Kitchen and partners, the Food Xel Workshop Series goal was to introduce companies looking to innovate with research institutions, funders and food product development experts. It included working individually with each company to help them understand the food product development cycle including packaging, branding and market research.

The Original Maroun's is now available for sale on Sobeys selves.

Project partners in the Food Xel Workshop Series included Bio Food Tech, Maritimes Bioenterprise, Emergence, the Startup Zone, and Food Island Partnership

To read the full CBC article, click here.

Upstreet Craft Brewing rolls out its new Craft Sodas

After working with Holland College via IRAP funding Upstreets latest product line, Day Drift Craft Soda is launched.  

From the company's website: A conversation about the adventures that everyone has in themselves, Day Drift Craft Soda began as a vision and is intended to be a testament to the fun day at the beach, the camaraderie of a late night campfire, the epic end of summer road trip, or the place where the red dirt road ends and the sand dunes begin. 

The ingridients are sourced locally as much as possible from the Island and Day Drift Craft Soda's are modern and distinct.

To read more about Upstreet Craft Brewing, click here.


 

Helping seniors to live on their own

Peachy was started by Chrissy Rossiter, a Memorial University Business Commerce student, with the help of a paid work term by the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) and the Office of the Vice-President (Research). The company provides software solutions to enable seniors to better manage their health and be less reliant on outside support and the company won $10,000 already in Startup Cup, a business idea competition. 

“The Genesis Centre has also been a huge help through the Evolution program,” said Ms. Rossiter, who took part in the program previously with a different business idea.

Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) is campus-wide and promotes entrepreneurship by supporting students, faculty, and staff in the development of their startup idea.

Any student doing a co-op term or Memorial-recognized internship can apply for an entrepreneurial work term with the MCE. The MCE supports students, faculty and staff in the development f their startup business idea, promoting entrepreneurship. The students own the IP they develop and to date, the MCE has had 11 work-term students from the faculties of engineering and applied science and business administration and the departments of computer science and folklore.

To read the full story in The Gazette, click here.

Selling Solutions

At MUN students have the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a viable career path, via the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneuship (MCE). At MCE students have the opportunity to sign up for a paid work term, that allows them to take their idea, start a company and not have to worry about the money to do it. What started out as a supported pilot project by Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE) and the Office of the Vice-President (Research) has been now officially launched in March 2017 and is a campus-wide partnership between Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

“Through this unique partnership, Memorial is aiming to establish a university where entrepreneurship is seen as a viable career path,” said Tim Avis, director, Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, at Memorial.

“As a champion of entrepreneurship, and a strategic unit within the Office of the Vice-President (Research), we are proud to partner with the MCE for this work-term pilot project.”

The purpose is to promote entrepreneurship and to support students, faculty and staff who are developing startup business ideas, and to contribute to developing an attractive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Newfoundland and Labrador. Through this support 3 engineering students were able to take 3 ideas and form them into one company - BlueBrick, an umbrella group for the 3 separate business ideas: Fitsu, Watermark and Grassroots Supply.

For this fall the MCE will take up to 10 students for paid placements.

To read the full story in The Gazette, click here.

10 Teams emerge from UNB’s Technology Management & Entrepreneurship program

On July 6th the Technology Management & Entrepreneurship program held its final pitching session and 10 teams (put together of 13 students) presented their businesses to mentors, local business leaders, and their peers. 

Throughout the program, the participating students have presented their ventures to a panel of entrepreneurs and coaches, every Thursday morning at the J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship. Dhirendra Shukla, director of the J. Herbert Smith Centre says that these are not student projects, but that all of these 10 teams have what it takes to be a significant business.

The 10 companies are:

Hinge Paintball 

Blütek 

ServeUs App 

Pfera Inc. 

Sm-Heart 

Stash Energy 

Rabbit Town Whisky Co. 

PHYS Technologies 

Mbissa Energy Systems                                                    

Terra Toran 

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here

To read the full story on Huddle, click here.

Preserving lobster year-round

Knowing what freshly cooked lobster tastes like, the disappointment was big for Dr. Razul when he cooked up some frozen lobster for relatives he visited in Singapour a few years ago. Experiencing first hand how the time old tradition of preserving the frozen lobster is diminishing the taste of this typical Atlantic Canadian food he set out to find a better way and use his expertise as a chemist to search for a solution for the industry.

To quantify the effectiveness of his formulation Dr. Razul is undertaking a yearlong study and has also received Springboard Innovation Mobilization Funding. The goal is to provide a solution to the industry that has great commercial potential worldwide, and it is his hope that his results can also be applied to other seafood species besides lobster.

Students and colleagues alike are very excited about this opportunity and enjoying their collaborative work with his lab.

To read "The News" article, click here.

Start-Up Zone in PEI is adding 3 new Teams

With the latest addition of Shoplaw, Local Legends Apparel, and Cradle Technology Design Inc., Start-Up Zone has now 18 resident companies and 12 alumni. The 3 newste addition have joined its business incubation residency program.

Doug Keefe, Interim CEO of Start-Up Zone says:“The value of the program is in our deep focus on customer needs and creating a network of entrepreneurs for support and collaboration. Our network only gets stronger the more it grows. We are incredibly excited to welcome these new founders.”

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here.

Acadia University receives ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund for green insect pest management solutions

After completing the first successful AIF for green insect pest management solutions last December, Kings Hants MP Scott Brison and Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment announced on Friday, that Acadia University will receive almost $3 million from the ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund to continue this important work for the forestry and agriculture sectors and the environment overall.

“It is important that we invest in research that's going to shape the future of our planet, and also the jobs of tomorrow,” Kings Hants MP Scott Brison said at the announcement Friday morning on the university campus. 

Lead by Dr. Kirk Hillier, a professor of biology at Acadia, the project partners in this 2nd AIF are Dalhousie University, University of New Brunswick, the Natural Resources Canada’s Atlantic Forestry Centres in Fredericton, NB and Corner Brook, NL, Forest Protection Limited, Sylvar Technologies and Agrifor Biotechnical Services, making it again a Pan-Atlantic project.

“The research being done here at Acadia has the potential to create effective and environmentally-responsible pheromone-based products that will be marketed in Canada and internationally,” said Catherine McKenna, federal minister of environment and climate change. 

The pest management tools are developed using the insects' pheromones and other naturally-derived products, which ensures that sustainable solutions for the future of Canada's agriculture and forest industries are used. The products will be commercialized by Sylvar Technologies, adding to their line of pheromone products for forestry and agriculture.

Springboard Atlantic came behind a number of the technologies developed and commercialized during the first AIF project with Innovation Mobilization Marketing Support funding and is looking forward to helping #springboarding the new technologies developed during this 2nd AIF.

To read the full story in Local Express.ca, click here.

To read the full story in The Chronicle Herald, click here.

To read the full story in The Kings County Advertiser, click here.

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Made in Nova Scotia good news

Cape Breton entrepreneurs have a new hub to turn to. With $1.9 million of combined provincial and federal investment to suport Cape Breton startups, Momentum is offering that space to companies. This high-tech facility offeres shared office space, state of the art computer technology, a mill, welding equipment and other tools for ddriving innovation forward. Momentum will be located at the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation and therefore enabling CBU and NSCC to offer information, learning, research and other services to the companies at Momentum.

Acadia University Laboratory for Agri-food and Beverages (ALAB) celenrated its grand opening on June 24, with a $1 million annpuncement in provincial funding. The investment will support for example the purchase of the lab’s information management software and testing equipment. This lab and its services (beverage testing for ethanol, sugar, total and free sulphuric acid, volatile acid, and sorbic acid, as well as trace analyses can be done) is of special interest to Nova Scotia's wine industry. Up until now the region’s winemakers had to send samples for analysis out of province to places such as Ontario, B.C. or California. It is anticipated that innovations in the lab and its services will have a positive ripple effect on the provincial economy. 

To read the full story in the Chronicle Herald, click here.

$1.3 million of venture capital for Envenio

Celtic House Venture Partners, Green Century Investments and New Brunswick Investment Foundation are providing the venture capital investment to the Fredericton-based software company.

The initial intellectual property was developed by UNB and licensed by 3 mechanical engineering graduates that created Envenio six years ago. The companies software lets engineers analyze and solve problems involving the flow of liquids and gases (computational fluid dynamics - CFD), its algorithms allowing general computers to simulate the flow of these substances. Originally created as a service company, Envenio expanded with the launch of products that would allow their clients to conduct their own studies at a fraction of the price offered by competitors. To continue the companies growth, Envenio will keep to its plans to increase the use of its cloud-hosted, on-demand CFD platform, EXN/Aero.

To read the full Huddle article, click here.

To read the full Entrevestor article, click here.

Springboard Atlantic program turns academics into entrepreneurs

Not seeking to take credit but wanting to achieve results, Springboard Atlantic, a not-for profit is finding commercialization success by helping turn college and university research into thriving businesses. Springboard's secret is, that it serves as a catalyst for the intellectual property (IP) coming out of the 19 Atlantic-region postsecondary institutions by combining them with commercial expertise and business resources. 

“These universities create IP [intellectual property] on a daily basis,” says Mathis, himself a mechanical engineer turned entrepreneur. “We help these educational institutions decide which ideas can best be commercialized, and then help them connect with the people and partnerships that can bring them to fruition.” - Chris Mathis, Springboard Atlantic CEO & President.

Starting a business out of university research requires specialized support since the researchers are initially driven by their curiosity and don't consider the commercial potential or the market need. Therefore most colleges and universities have technology-transfer offices, which specialize on commercializing postsecondary IP. Fortunately, in Atlantic Canada, these offices do not operate in isolation. 12 years ago with the financial support from the universities, colleges and the federal government’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Springboard Atlantic was created. 

With a staff of five, Springboard serves clients directly and through the network of the institutional industry liaison and technology transfer officers. Its role is to help on-campus commercialization and develop solid relationships with faculty and to hone the technology-transfer officer's abilities to analyze IP and evaluate market potential. Springboard further helps the network explore the process of commercialization with their academic colleagues, to determine their interest in partnering with industry, licensing or venturing into business themselves.

Springboard's support spreads across Atlantic Canada, developing numerous Atlantic companies with global growth potential and impacts, from helping a Halifax firm that creates screens to protect pilots from exposure to lasers, to research in St. John’s that drew on Newfoundland’s population data to develop a technique for evaluating who should be screened for hereditary genetic heart issues.

To read the full Globe and Mail article, click here.

Holland College receives infrastructure investment from PEI and federal government

Holland College received $741,000 in funding for the enhancement and expansion of the trades training facilities at it Centre in Georgetown. This will include new electrical, mechanical and building envelope systems, which will enhance the student experience and improve environmental sustainability. $370,384 came from the Government of Canada and $370,384 from the Province of Prince Edward Island. The Centre in Georgetown provides programs for 250 full- and part-time students. 

Throughout Prince Edward Island universities and colleges will receive close to $23.3 million from the Government of Canada, the provincial government, the institutions themselves and private donors. Federal funding will be allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, for the modernization of research facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

To read the full Newswire article, click here.

Dalhousie University developed cancer treatment technology receives ACOA Atlantic Innovation Fund

Developed by James Robar, Faculty of Medicine, chief of Medical Physics at the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and director of Dal’s Medical Physics program and his team, Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, visited Dal's campus on June 23, 2017 to announce the new $2.1-million funding through the government’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF). 

This investment marks the beginning of a new partnership between the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), where the Dal researchers are based, and Germany’s Brainlab AG — a medical technology giant that will commercialize the radiation treatment technologies in countries around the globe.

The goal of this AIF project over the next four years is to expand the work on developing and improving technologies that allow doctors to deploy cancer radiation treatment in more precise, less-invasive ways, improving patient outcomes. The technologies range from a capacitive patient-monitoring system that provides sensitive readouts many times a second about where a patient is during treatment to an algorithm that can enable more precisely target radiation treatments that result in less damage to surrounding healthy organs and tissue. The project will hire eight new employees, including a project manager, two medical physicists, an engineer and several PhD students. 

“Although there is currently no definitive cure for cancer, it is through the work of researchers like Drs. Robar, [Christopher] Thomas, [Mike] Sattivariand and [Alasdair] Syme that we can improve the quality of treatment for people coping with cancer,” - Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax.  

To read the full story on Dal News, click here.

To read the full story on Entrevestor, click here.

New hub, Momentum to support startups in Cape Breton

Funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s business development program ($1.395 million over three years) and an additional $500,000 from the province through Innovacorp, the hub will be based at the New Dawm Centre for Social Innovation and if will have an an entrepreneur-in-residence, shared office space, a computer numerical control machine, a mill, welding equipment, a 3D printer, an electronics lab, a computer station for computer-aided design and other technology.

Momentum will be managed by Innovacorp and will receive support from the Cape Breton Partnership, Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia Community College and National Research Council of Canada.

To read the full Cape Breton article, click here.

Solace Power to expand its lab into a leading facility of its kind in the country

Solace Power has recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and is continuing going forward with big announcements. The company, that specializes in wireless power (delivering electrical energy to batteries or devices without any wires attached to them) has 30 employees and is set to expand to 35, outgrowing its current facilities in Mount Pearl, NL.

With the $2.55 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Atlantic Innovation Fund (repayable) and $245,000 from the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s Research & Development Corp, Solace Power is now developing a larger $4.2 million lab to continue its research and development in wireless technologies.

This announcement comes on the heels of last month US$ 2.3 million research contract from Lockheed Martin.

To read the full Entrevestor article, click here.

To read the full NATI article, click here.

Research Drives Growth - Atlantic Canada Startup Community looks at Dal

In 2014/2015 Entrevestor showed that startups from Atlantic Canada's universities and colleges gain revenue twice as fast as the rest of the startup community and all eyes will now look to Dalhousie University to see how they integrate their new partnership in the Creative Destruction Lab’s new CDL-Atlantic node in Halifax and the commercialization work that is already happening through Springboard Atlantic to commercialize more scientific research.

As Atlantic Canada's leading research university, followed by Memorial University and the University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie is now also in talks to be the first Canadian node of Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, the U.S. National Science Foundation’s program for commercializing scientific research. I-Corps specializes in teaching scientists how to commercialize their research, and in the past few years has worked with 1,500 of the leading scientists in the U.S.

Given that the region’s startup community is maturing and includes more companies than ever, the challenge is to keep those companies and new ones growing into mature companies that offer unique and impactful products which often requiring extensive scientific research. However, given Dal's research capacity and together with Springboard Atlantic, CDL-Atlantic, Launch Dal, ShiftKey Labs and the IDEA Project and hopefully I-Corps, Dalhousie is set to influence the startup community in a fundamental and far-reaching way.

To read the full Entrevestor article click here.

To read the Chronicle Heralds article on Entrevestor's article click here.

For the raw data from the Entrevestor chart in the picture, including the percentage changes, please visit their Facebook page. Just click here

A new diverse cohort of Entrepreneurs at UNB’s Summer Institute this year

The 8 businesses and 10 participants are now midway through the program at the J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship’s (TME) Summer Institute program at University of New Brunswick. This years particiants were chosen out of 113 businesses from 14 different countries that applied, with 60% of the applicants being female. 

The program includes a wide variety of businesses from different background, providing a very creative environment where each young entrepreneur learns to turn their passion into a living at a pace and scale that works for them.

The program is set to wrap up on July 21 with the final demo day and an evening celebration. 

“It’s been incredible to watch how quickly these businesses have developed in a few short weeks,” Program Manager Melissa Erin O’Rourke said. “This cohort has been super diligent about reaching and surpassing their major milestones. I’m excited to see how far they can stretch their limits and what they can accomplish before our final celebration.”

To read the full Huddle article click here.

Creative Destruction Labs Atlantic is open for the 2017/2018 cohort applications

Launched 5 years ago at the University of Toronto, the CDL is now offering three simultaneous programs in Toronto, and offering two programs in Montreal and one each in Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax. The program in Halifax will have 25 spots available, which will be held in collaboration with Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business, with a special strength in ocean and clean technology.

The application deadline is September 30, 2017, and the program will begin in November. 

To read the full Entrevestor article, click here.

Students at Cape Breton University to help companies to export to Europe

With the Canada European Union trade deal to come into effect on July 1st, Cape Breton Universities' (CBU) MBA program is offering free help to six local companies, who have identified an opportunity for them in the European market.

Currently, all EU countries viewed together, represent Canada's second largest trade partner. Through the reseources available at CBU, the MBA students will put together a report for each chosen company by mid-September, that shows their unique opportunities, their competition and where the quickest take up of their products/services are likely to occurr. 

Read the full CBC article here.