Innovacorp and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency have announced 18 winners in the first province-wide Spark Innovation Challenge.

The winners will split $800,000, divided evenly between four regions in Nova Scotia. One of the hallmarks of the competition this year is that no winner has received less than $25,000. That means the competition and it organizers have strived to concentrate the capital in the companies they perceive have the best chance of getting to the market. Winners must use the prize money to build prototypes or take new products and services to market.

Innovacorp first launched the Spark competition in Cape Breton a few years ago to provide a bit of capital to a range of startups. And gradually it grew into a provincial competition, replacing the biennial I-3 Startup Technology Competition.

“Participating in the Spark Innovation Challenge will help us further develop our business,” said Tony Ingram, Co-Founder of Halifax-based Axem Neurotechnology, one of the winners. “Now we’re closer to finishing our prototype and testing our devices with local athletes.”

Axem co-founders Ingram and Chris Friesen are developing wearable devices that help professional athletes track and monitor performance. Their product is a brain-sensing headset that measures the quality of mental practice and connects to a smart phone application.

The Spark competition attracted 136 submissions. Thirty-eight finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Finalists also participated in several business workshops and received one-on-one financial advice.

The winners are listed below, and we have included links to the companies we have reported on:  

Spark Cape Breton

Campaign EA – Todd Graham – Sydney ($50,000)

Municipal election campaign management software provided through mobile and desktop applications – Todd Chant, Kevin Chant – Sydney ($50,000)

Golf tournament management platform

GoGo Groceries (now Full Plate) – Jay McNeil – Glace Bay ($25,000)

Personalized grocery shopping and delivery service

Hydrotroniks – Scott Aucoin, Stephane Sogne, Joel Lefort – Cheticamp ($25,000)

Carbon neutral alternative to fossil fuel boat engines through electric energy storage and propulsion options

Talem Health Analytics – Paul Travis, Matthew Kay – Sydney ($50,000)

Software for physiotherapists and orthopedic specialists to track, analyze and predict treatment regimens

Spark Halifax

Axem – Tony Ingram, Christopher Friesen – Halifax  ($50,000)

Wearable technology with built-in sensors to track brain activity and improve athletes’ mental training

Axem Logs Triple-Gain in One Weekend. 

HomeExcept – John Robertson – Halifax ($50,000)

Technology that provides non-intrusive monitoring of seniors for families and caregivers

HomeExcept Bags US Award

TripNinja – Andres Collart, Brett Ziegler, Rob Dumont and Julieta Collart – Halifax – ($50,000)

Navigation tool for flexible, multi-destination travelers to find the most cost-effective route

TripNinja Eyes Big Deal in August

UpFront – Conor Daly, Kyle Gardiner – Halifax ($50,000)

Ticketing and event management platform that uses blockchain technology to eliminate scalping and fraud

Spark North

BidSquid Online Marketplace – David Hachey – Scotsburn ($25,000)

Online marketplace for local food where farmers can reach new buyers

BidSquid's Hachey Traded Wall Street for Agtech

BioPolyOil – Mostafa Aghaei, Alma Zangeneh, Arian Shahnazari – Bible Hill ($50,000)

Agri-based technology for applications in the oil and gas industry

iCrowdX – Sean Sears – Antigonish ($50,000)

Natural, fruit-based drinks with health benefits

Oceland Biologicals – Balakrishnan Prithiviraj – Bible Hill ($50,000)

Plant biostimulants that improve the growth, yield and resilience of crops to increase farmers’ incomes

Spark West

Alias Earth – Jim Dorey – Morden ($50,000)

Database of virtual sets for the entertainment industry

Electric Puppets – Ryan Cameron – Chester ($50,000)

Virtual reality-based solution for the IWK Eye Care Clinic to improve diagnostic and therapeutic tools

Finleaf Technologies – Myrna Gillis – Brooklyn ($25,000)

Aquaponics system that enables the delivery of supplemental nutrients to flowering plants

Nexus Robotics – Teric Greenan, Jad Tawil, Thomas Trappenberg – Barss Corner (25,000)

Autonomous farming robot that navigates its environment and performs agricultural tasks

SURU – Michael Uhlarik – Hubbards ($50,000)

Zero-emission, electric-powered bicycles that let users travel 50 km without fuel or pedaling

Electric Bike Suru Launches in NS.


Disclosure: Innovacorp and ACOA are clients of Entrevestor.