Province invests in innovative companies

Acadia partners with Valley businesses

Ivany, Paris, Herman, and Deslauriers

The province announced 35 additional Nova Scotia businesses that are working with universities and colleges to increase their productivity and become more innovative through the province's Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program. The announcement was made at Acadia University, which will work with seven new partners this year.

"Innovative businesses are critical to Nova Scotia's economic prosperity and we are committed to supporting their growth," said Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. "Through jobsHere, the plan to grow our economy, this program helps local companies become more productive, innovative, and competitive."

The small businesses were each awarded $15,000 to access expertise at Nova Scotia's post-secondary institutions and help grow their companies. The vouchers will be used to explore new business opportunities, improve existing products, and refine operations. Six past recipients will receive an additional $25,000 pilot voucher to build on their demonstrated success. Applications are currently under review and recipients will be announced by the end of December.

Acadia University has been an active participant in the program since its inception in 2008. In close partnership with the Acadia Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ACSBE), the Acadia Industry and Community Engagement Office (ICE) has promoted the program to local companies – helping them define their project needs and build successful applications.

A sampling of this year’s recipients working with Acadia researchers include: Benjamin Bridge Winery (consumer study for new sparkling rose wine); Hutchinson Maple (consumer study to determine market appeal for new maple products); and Harvest Landscape Design (expertise on mathematical and statistical models to enable development of specialized software). These companies will be working with researchers from the School of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Jodrey School of Computer Science. ACSBE is also leading projects in partnership with faculty from the F.C. Manning School of Business Administration.

"Through the Productivity and Innovation Voucher program, we will partner with Acadia University to determine the market potential for a new sparkling wine, said Jean Benoit Deslauriers, winemaker, Benjamin Bridge Vineyard. "This is an important program for small businesses in Nova Scotia, and we hope all businesses invest in research to create innovative, value-added products."

He said the voucher program allows funders to get the best of both worlds by building a bridge between industry and academic researchers.

“During its 173 years of history, Acadia University has long lived outside its walls,” said Ray Ivany, Acadia’s president and vice-chancellor. “This program draws on our ability to take our research capacity and have impact with the community as we work with industry partners.”

A core objective of the program is to help build and strengthen links between small business and universities and colleges. Ten post-secondary institutions are participating in the program this year.

For a full list of this year's recipients and more information on the program visit 


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