The Chronicle Herald: Valley startups grab federal funding

November 16, 2016 – 8:03pm

 Stephen Duff, president and CEO on Innovacorp. (Contributed)

Stephen Duff, president and CEO on Innovacorp. (Contributed)

Some savvy new startups in Western Nova Scotia have just won parts of a business funding pot.

Six businesses from Mahone Bay to Annapolis Royal are splitting $200,000 in cash, as well as receiving business advice from experts on how to grow their operations and how to support the completion of prototypes, or prepare for taking the product or service to market.

The non-repayable contributions came from Innovacorp and ACOA, with each putting in $100,000. Stephen Duff, president and CEO of Innovacorp, says they received 32 submissions from Western Nova Scotia.

“We introduced Spark West after four rounds of a similar competition in Cape Breton. We wanted to energize innovative entrepreneurs in western Nova Scotia,” says Duff.

“We were absolutely thrilled with the overall buzz in the community about the opportunity and the submissions we received.”

Joy Hillier of Midgard Insect Farm Inc. in Windsor, won $45,000 to turn crickets into a high-protein powder for a variety of industrial uses.

Craig Nichols and Alan Fisher of Annapolis Orchards in Lawrencetown, won $45,000 for applications for proprietary techniques to Honey Crisp apple nursery trees, significantly reducing the time required for the trees to mature and yield fruit.

Douglas Armour, Mitchell Kane and Matthew Winchester of Integrated HACCP Solutions Inc. in Wolfville, won $45,000 for software developments which help food processors meet changing regulatory requirements more efficiently and affordably.

Bill Smith and Peter Haase of Neck Tronics Inc. in Conquerall Mills, Lunenburg County, won for developing medical device technology that measures neck range and strength, improving assessment, diagnosis and treatment of neck injuries.

Dave Thomson of Tenderithm, Mahone Bay, won $25,000 for software that helps companies win new business more efficiently and affordably through a tender alert service.

Ken Buchholz and Jennifer Murdoch of Medivirtual Telepresence Platform in Annapolis Royal, won $15,000 for a suite of tools for healthcare providers and virtual teams to build capacity, and improve accessibility of healthcare services.

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, said in a press release that the federal government is committed to supporting startup success in Canada through targeted investments.

Competition entrants were required to be a startup based in Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby, Annapolis, Kings or Hants counties. Their platform was required to be a new knowledge-based product or service, with no sales revenue since inception.

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