Ocean Entrepreneurship Centre launches on Dartmouth Waterfront

Official Launch Ceremony of Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship. Jeremy Keefe / Global News

The Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) has been officially unveiled just weeks before its first tenants are scheduled to move into the state-of-the-art facility.

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COVE is a joint federal and provincial investment project. $7.2 million from the Canadian government and $15 million from Nova Scotia have been pumped into the site for renovations to buildings and wharves.

The money is in addition to the $6.5 million paid by the province in 2015 to purchase the property, formerly a Canadian Coast Guard site, and the $300,000 that will be spent annually in supporting its operation.

Boasting 2,850 feet of wharf face and two piers, the eight-acre site is expected to attract ocean research sector companies from all over, eager for the massive amount of testing “grounds.”

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“Ontario’s not on the coastline, so this is sort of a logical place for us to be expanding our business,” explained Niru Somayajula, president & CEO of Sensor Technology Ltd.

“It’s the hub of the new ocean tech, so we wont be quite so isolated by being in Ontario by being here at COVE.”

“We’re on the ocean and this is our core competency,” explained Labi Kousoulis, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. “This is an area where we compete against very few in the world because nobody really has this large ice free harbour like we do. Nobody has the cluster of innovation and ocean research like we do.”

COVE has 28 confirmed tenants including six start-up companies. Collectively, they cover a number of ocean sectors.

The potential for collaboration is something COVE officials consider a big selling point for developers.

“The intangible is the synergy effect,” explained Jim Hanlon, CEO of the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise. “The fact that companies will co-habitate is in fact the value proposition, so as more companies come there’s a snowball effect that says, ‘There’s some really exciting things going on there among those companies, I need to join in.'”

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The first tenants to move in and begin work at COVE, Kraken Robotic Systems Inc., are expected to set up at the beginning of July.

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