Winners Named in First Spark West Competition

NOTE: A brief description of all the winners is available here.

Six startup businesses from western Nova Scotia are splitting $200,000 in cash and getting business advice to further grow their ventures.

The winners announced by Innovacorp and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) today, Nov. 16, are developing innovations to:
— turn crickets into a high-quality protein powder, $45,000 to Joy Hillier of Midgard Insect Farm Inc., Windsor
–- help grow a superior apple tree, $45,000 to Craig Nichols and Alan Fisher of Annapolis Orchards, Lawrencetown, Annapolis Co.
–- enable food processors to meet regulatory requirements,
$45,000 to Douglas Armour, Mitchell Kane and Matthew Winchester of Integrated HACCP Solutions Inc., Wolfville
–- improve diagnosis and treatment of neck injuries, $25,000 to Bill Smith and Peter Haase of Neck Tronics Inc., Conquerall Mills, Lunenburg Co.
–- assist companies looking for new business opportunities through tenders, $25,000 to Dave Thomson of Tenderithm, Mahone Bay
–- better connect patients and health-care providers
$15,000 to Ken Buchholz and Jennifer Murdoch of Medivirtual Telepresence Platform, Annapolis Royal

“The Government of Canada is pleased to support innovation-focused business startups in western Nova Scotia as they develop new, impactful ideas through Spark West,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA. “Canadians have what it takes to succeed and the government is committed to supporting their success through smart, targeted investments.

“I’d like to extend my congratulations to the Spark West winners and wish them further success as they continue to innovate and grow.”

Innovacorp and ACOA are each contributing $100,000 towards the awards. The Government of Canada is providing the non-repayable contribution through ACOA’s Business Development Program.
The funds are to be used to support the completion of prototypes or preparation for taking the product or service to market.

In addition to the funding, winners will receive guidance from seasoned business people.

“We introduced Spark West after four rounds of a similar competition in Cape Breton. We wanted to energize innovative entrepreneurs in western Nova Scotia,” said Stephen Duff, president and CEO of Innovacorp. “We were absolutely thrilled with the overall buzz in the community about the opportunity and the submissions we received.”

The first edition of Spark West attracted 32 submissions. Ten companies were invited to pitch their ventures to judges on Nov. 9. The shortlisted companies also participated in several business acceleration workshops.

Entrants were required to be a startup based in western Nova Scotia, including Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby, Annapolis, Kings and Hants counties, with a new knowledge-based product or service and no sales revenue since inception.

Details about Spark West can be found at

Source: Release

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