News release

Small Businesses Work with Universities, Colleges to Lead Growth

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.

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Media Contact:

Sarah Levy MacLeod
Cell: 902-478-4904 E-mail:
Bill Crossman
Soluna Energy 902-665-2969 E-mail:

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