Post-secondary students across Atlantic Canada will be able to access new funding to help connect their research to the private sector after the federal government announced $9.2 million will be invested in the Springboard Atlantic organization.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains made the announcement at Saint Mary’s University on Thursday.
“Our universities and colleges play a critical role in providing people with the skills and experience to innovate,” Bains said. “It’s not easy to get some of these ideas to market and therefore this particular initiative will help address that issue as well.”
Springboard Atlantic is an organization that helps commercialize student ideas from universities and community colleges in the Atlantic provinces.
CEO Chris Mathis said through commercialization, they can keep students and graduates in the region.
“Institutions working with industry help create new sectors, new opportunities and new growth,” Mathis said in an interview.
The funding will allow 30 “commercialization officers” to be deployed throughout Atlantic Canada to connect entrepreneurs with researchers and bring their ideas to market, according to a release.
Nova Scotia entrepreneur Tony Bowron said he knows first hand how beneficial it is to have access to financial support during the startup stage of business. Bowron is an ecologist who turned his passion for tidal wetland restoration into a business.
“Any support of research work, innovation work and entrepreneurship in this province is a boom,” said Bowron, whose work is done in collaboration with research through Saint Mary’s University.
His company uses drones to examine wetlands throughout the province, allowing them to visualize and document habitat conditions “on a landscape scale” without having to visit the site and walk the entire area.
The funding will be spread out over three years starting immediately and aims at creating new middle-class jobs.