NOTE: A brief description of each sandbox can be found at the end of this release.
Innovative and entrepreneurial Nova Scotians will soon have places where they can experiment with new ideas and access business mentors, investors and other support.
Universities, the Nova Scotia Community College, and the province have come together to create four sandboxes where students, innovators and industry can develop new ideas that could become businesses.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced the sandboxes details today, March 19.
“Nova Scotians have what it takes to come together, be more creative, and take more chances, and sandboxes will help with all of those things,” said Premier McNeil. “Encouraging innovation is fundamental to the change our province needs, and Nova Scotia’s first sandboxes will be a great addition to innovation and entrepreneurship in our province and beyond.”
Sandboxes are based on successful approaches used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Waterloo. Guitar Hero and the E-ink used for Kindle and Kobo e-readers were conceived in the MIT Media Lab.
The sandboxes are:
— the Island Sandbox: Cape Breton University and NSCC Marconi Campus
— the Community Sandbox: Saint Mary’s University, NSCAD University, and Mount Saint Vincent University
— the Nova Scotia Agriculture Sandbox: Dalhousie University and Acadia University
— the ICT Sandbox: Dalhousie University, Saint Mary’s University, NSCAD University and Volta Labs
Each sandbox will offer a combination of academic programming and entrepreneurial, professional and management resources.
“Today’s researchers, students and big thinkers are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs,” said Jevon MacDonald, co-founder of Volta Labs and GoInstant. “Sandboxes are a welcome addition to how we can help create more startup founders here in Nova Scotia.
“It’s really encouraging to see that the entrepreneurs of today, and tomorrow, have more support in place to help them take their ideas to the next level.”
Group ATN Consultants has been hired as project managers and will oversee the sandboxes’ development and management. They will also help design competitions to recognize the most promising sandbox ideas.
The province will provide each sandbox with $150,000 per year for up to three years. Sandboxes are then expected to sustain themselves.