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$6.8 million Ocean Supercluster project to boost startups in Atlantic Canada

Ocean Supercluster CEO Kendra MacDonald says the Ocean Startup Project aims to double the amountof ocean technology startups in Atlantic Canada. - Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Ocean Supercluster CEO Kendra MacDonald says the Ocean Startup Project aims to double the amountof ocean technology startups in Atlantic Canada. - Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

The Ocean Supercluster got a boost from federal and provincial governments to encourage new ocean technology businesses to flourish in Atlantic Canada.

The Ocean Start Up Project aims to support ocean technology startups, with a focus on connecting new technology with existing industries throughout Atlantic Canada.

Kendra Macdonald, CEO of the Oceans Supercluster, says the project aims to increase the number of ocean technology startups throughout Atlantic Canada.

“One of those gaps is we don’t have enough ocean tech startups. We brought a group together here and said ‘this is a problem we’re trying to solve, what are some potential solutions?’” said MacDonald.

“One of the things we’re trying to do is encourage a different way of collaborating across Atlantic Canada. Instead of giving us all different solutions, can we work together to find a solution that fits for the whole region. This is what led to the Oceans Startup project.”

Michelle Simms, CEO of Memorial University’s Genesis Centre, says Friday’s announcement is significant for ocean tech companies looking to dive into entrepreneurship.

“The level of collaboration, having six Atlantic Canadian incubator programs all working together throughout Atlantic Canada with a common vision and common cause, is incredibly important,” said Simms.

“The fact that we’re really trying to double the size of the number of ocean technology companies that exist in this region is really significant.”

The initiative will put a focus on women and indigenous people as they work to get technology startups running.

The partnership includes the Genesis Centre in Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia’s Innovacorp, Springboard Atlantic, and Creative Destruction Lab’s Halifax location; The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, and the P.E.I. BioAlliance.

Each group will work together to connect emerging technology startups with industry partners to allow the new businesses to grow faster.

Simms says about 100 people have attended two “engage cafes” launched as part of the initiative will help businesses connect and collaborate.

“These cafes are meant to bring together innovators – people that wouldn’t necessarily think to come together and work together. You’re bringing together students and entrepreneurs, innovators, people who work in the fisheries and aquaculture,” she said.

“(It’s about) bringing them all together, talking about challenges in their industries and solutions they may have.”

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