News release

Spark Halifax Winners Named in Startup Challenge

A new wearable technology company in Halifax is receiving $50,000 in funding and business guidance through Innovacorp’s Spark Innovation Challenge. The business, Axem Neurotechnology, is one of four winners selected in the Spark Halifax region of the province.

Axem co-founders, Tony Ingram and Chris Friesen, are developing wearable devices that help professional athletes track and monitor performance. Their product is a brain-sensing headset that measures the quality of mental practice and connects to a smart phone application.

“Participating in the Spark Innovation Challenge will help us further develop our business,” said Mr. Ingram. “Now we’re closer to finishing our prototype and testing our devices with local athletes.”

The challenge expanded across the province this year, with winners in each of the four competition regions receiving up to $50,000 in funding and mentorship from seasoned business professionals. The four regions were Spark West, Spark North, Spark Halifax and Spark Cape Breton.

The first provincewide Spark Innovation Challenge attracted 136 submissions. Ten finalists in the Spark Halifax region pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Finalists also participated in several business workshops and were mentored by seasoned business professionals.

The other winners in the Spark Halifax region are:

  • HomeExcept, a home-care technology company founded by John Robertson of Halifax, $50,000
  • Trip Ninja, a travel navigation company founded by Andres Collart, Rob Dumont, Julieta Collart and Brett Ziegler of Halifax, $50,000
  • UpFront, a ticketing and event management company founded by Conor Daly and Kyle Gardiner of Halifax, $50,000

Winners must use the prize money to build prototypes or take new products and services to market.

Innovacorp and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency each contributed $400,000 towards this year’s Spark Challenge.

“Spark is a great program that’s helping new technology companies across Nova Scotia get started,” said Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Business and Minister responsible for Innovacorp. “The winners of this year’s challenge will build stronger products and create jobs for other Nova Scotians, particularly young Nova Scotians.”

“Congratulations to all of the finalists in the first ever provincewide Spark competition,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA. “This competition has been an excellent showcase of talented entrepreneurs from across Nova Scotia whose spark of innovative ideas have real potential to be commercialized and grown into thriving businesses. I look forward to seeing how the winners advance their ventures and bring their ideas to fruition.”

For the full list of winners, visit <a HREF="HTTP://www.innovacorp.ca/news/spark-winners-2017"> www.innovacorp.ca/news/spark-winners-2017</A>.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

A new wearable technology company in Halifax is receiving 50-thousand dollars in funding and business guidance through Innovacorp’s Spark Innovation Challenge.

The business, called Axem, is one of four winners selected in the Spark Halifax region of the province. Axem is developing wearable devices that help professional athletes track and monitor performance.

Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says Spark is a great program that’s helping new technology companies get started.

The first provincewide Spark competition attracted 136 submissions. Innovacorp and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency each contributed 400-thousand dollars.

For the full list of Spark winners go to the Innovacorp website.

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Media Contacts:

Michaela Meltzer Gardner
Innovacorp 902-499-2308 Email:
Marla MacInnis
Department of Business 902-499-6428 Email:
Alex Smith
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency 902-426-9417 Cell: 902-830-3839 Email: