Small Businesses Work with Universities, Colleges to Lead Growth

Economic and Rural Development and Tourism (to April 2015)

February 2, 2015 1:21 PM

Fifty-two small businesses are teaming up with some of the province's top academics to develop leading-edge technologies, new medical tools, and have innovative products and services available sooner.

The businesses received funding to work with experts at universities and colleges through the government's Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program.

Soluna Energy in Bridgetown is developing a unique tidal turbine that can be placed at the low tide mark, instead of deeper water. That makes it easier and less expensive to operate.

"It's exposed twice a day, so you wouldn't need divers, vessels or underwater equipment to maintain it," said Soluna Energy president Bill Crossman. "Soon we'll know if it has the potential to produce enough energy to make it commercially viable."

Soluna Energy has been working with Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Community College Waterfront Campus to produce a second prototype that will be tested next month.

"We have so many smart and creative people at our universities and colleges. Pairing them with entrepreneurs that have great ideas will help bring new products and services to market sooner," said Michel Samson, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. "Supporting this kind of collaboration sets the conditions for small businesses to be successful, and positions the private sector to lead growth in our economy."

Thirty-six businesses are first-time recipients of a voucher worth up to $15,000. The voucher can be used for advice and services from academic experts in areas such as applied research, engineering services, field testing, prototyping, product design and feasibility studies.

Sixteen businesses received up to $25,000 in support to help build on work from their first voucher. Soluna Energy used its first voucher to build a 3D plastic model. This time their prototype will have more options, and be made of stainless steel.

"The voucher is ideal for startups," said Mr. Crossman. "In the beginning you don't have a lot of expenses, just a few important costs like feasibility studies, fabricating and prototyping. Getting this kind of support lets you know you’re on the right track, and gives you the confidence to take your product to the next level."

About 300 businesses have received vouchers since the program started in 2008. The total value of this year's support is $940,000.

Participating universities and colleges are:
-- Acadia University
-- Dalhousie University
-- Nova Scotia Community College
-- Saint Mary's University
-- St. Francis Xavier University
-- Cape Breton University
-- Mount Saint Vincent University
-- Université Sainte-Anne
-- Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

To be eligible, businesses must be registered to operate in Nova Scotia and have less than 100 employees when they apply. For more information on the voucher program, visit www.gov.ns.ca/econ/pnivouchers .


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Fifty-two small businesses have teamed up with some of

the province's top academics to bring innovative products and

services to market faster.

     The businesses received up to $25,000 in support to work

with experts at the universities and colleges through

government's Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program.

     Soluna Energy in Bridgetown used its voucher to develop a

prototype for a tidal turbine that is easier and less

expensive to operate.

     Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister

Michel Samson says supporting this kind of collaboration sets

the conditions for small businesses to be successful.

     About 300 businesses have received vouchers since the

program started in 2008. The total value of this year's

support is $940,000.

-30-

Media Contact: Sarah Levy MacLeod
              Cell: 902-478-4904
              E-mail: sarah.levy@novascotia.ca

              Bill Crossman
              Soluna Energy
              902-665-2969
              E-mail: bcrossman42@gmail.com

Following is a list of the small businesses that have been awarded vouchers:

Tier 1 Voucher Recipients

CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY
Band Administration Management System Inc., Sydney
Northsyde Processing Ltd., North Sydney
The Instant Chaga Tea Company, Barrochois,

EASTERN NOVA SCOTIA
Dulse Nova Scotia, Sherbrooke, Guysborough Co.
Chedabucto Bay Sustainable Fisheries Inc., Canso, Guysborough Co.

NORTHERN NOVA SCOTIA
3277014 Nova Scotia Limited, Antigonish
RFO Research and Development Inc., North River, Colchester Co.
North River Fish Farms, North River, Colchester Co.

HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY
Tekmap Consulting, Fall River
Kinduct Technologies Inc., Halifax
Clinical Logistics Inc., Dartmouth
LED SGS Solutions Inc., Dartmouth
Halifax Glassworks Limited, Dartmouth
Maplestone Enhanced Care Limited, Halifax
SabrTech Inc., Herring Cove
SolutionInc Limited, Halifax
Eyeread Inc., Halifax
Internetworking Atlantic Incorporated, Halifax
Dartmouth Medical Research Limited, Halifax
Health QR Inc., Halifax
Enginuity Inc., Halifax
The Efficiency Store: Energy Savings Inc., Halifax
Welaptega Marine Limited, Halifax
SHM Canada Consulting Ltd., Halifax
Fun Intended Inc., Halifax

ANNAPOLIS VALLEY
Aerhyve Aerial Technologies, Wolfville
Randsland Farms Inc., Canning, Kings Co.
Springvale Nurseries 1995 Ltd., Berwick
Scotian Bee Honey, Windsor Forks, Hants Co.
Pauline Scott Bruce Ewert (L'Acadie Vinyards), Wolfville
West Nova Agro Commodities Ltd., Annapolis Royal

SOUTHWESTERN NOVA SCOTIA AND SOUTH SHORE
Tri-County Diesel and Marine Inc., Digby
Sea Crest Fisheries Ltd., Saulnierville, Digby Co.
Scotian Halibut Limited, Clarks Harbour, Shelburne Co.
Saulnierville Trawlers Ltd., Saulnierville, Digby Co.
Novagreen East, New Minas

Tier 2 Voucher Recipients

CAPE BRETON
Darby Renewable Energy Design Systems, Marion Bridge, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Maritime Hemp Manufacturing, South Bar, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Premium Choice Shrimp Ltd., Arichat, Richmond Co.
Health Outcomes Worldwide, New Waterford, Cape Breton Regional Municipality

HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY
SkySquirrel Technologies Inc., Hammonds Plains
Turbulent Research Inc., Halifax
2273295 Nova Scotia Ltd., dba Algaculture International, Dartmouth
GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc., Dartmouth
JCN Performance Consulting Ltd., Halifax

ANNAPOLIS VALLEY
Soluna Energy, Bridgetown
Colibri Software, Inc., Wolfville
IEP - Integrated Energy Products, Annapolis Royal

SOUTHWESTERN NOVA SCOTIA
Nova West Laboratory Ltd., Saulnierville, Digby Co.
LaHave Forests Inc., Blockhouse, Lunenburg Co.

NORTHERN NOVA SCOTIA
TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture Ltd., Bible Hill
Cornect Familty Farm, New Glasgow