Halifax entrepreneurs win $100,000 prize for knee brace technology

HALIFAX – A Halifax-based startup company has won $100,000 in a nation-wide contest and plans to use that money to bring its innovative knee brace to market.

Spring Loaded Technology is developing what they believe is the world’s first bionic knee bracing technology that will help athletes heighten performance, as well as help individuals with knee injuries and disability increase their mobility.

The company, which was co-founded by Chris Cowper-Smith and Bob Garrish, was named the winner of the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award on Monday morning.

“It’s a big boost for us and it certainly means a lot to win,” said Cowper-Smith on Monday.

“We plan to invest the $100,000 into our manufacturing facility to take us from a prototyping, research and development shop to a production-ready manufacturing facility based in Nova Scotia.”

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Rebecca Lau/Global News

Cowper-Smith and Garrish spoke to Global News last week during the final push for online votes from the public. They described their light-weight bracing technology as both exciting and a project of love.

“[Our potential customers are] people that have bad knees and movement disability. If you lose the ability to crouch, then your world starts at chest height and that’s your life now,” Garrish said.
“Being able to take care of yourself, being able to go down stairs, being able to pick up your grandkids – for me, those are the exciting [customers].”
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The fledgling company has received national and international attention since becoming finalists in the competition. Potential customers have been calling from as far away as Australia.

“It’s exciting,” said Garrish.

“[The prize] is a little bit of security for us as we go to market and it’s great that people all over the country thought this was something they could really get behind.”

Spring Loaded Technology plans to release their braces for sale this fall.

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Russell Hopson, the manager of the Halifax Business Centre for BDC, says the local winners are a source of pride.

“With Spring Loaded right in our backyard, it certainly speaks to the level and quality of the businesses that we have here in Halifax, in Dartmouth and in Nova Scotia,” he said.

“They’re very bright individuals and they’ve got a great product. It’s never been created before and it’s world class so certainly, I see a lot of future in this company.”

The runner-up of the Canada-wide contest is Melissa Butler of Real Food Market, which is the first organic grocery and delivery service in St. John’s. The company plans to use the $25,000 prize to create year-round greenhouse production as well as build a commercial kitchen for prepared fresh food.

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