Innovacorp last week named its new boss and unveiled the makeup of its new-and-improved Spark competition. And the Nova Scotia innovation agency is expected to have a third announcement later this month – the winner of the competition to set up a new venture capital fund in Halifax.

Malcom Fraser has been selected as the President and CEO of the Crown corporation. He will take over from Stephen Duff on Oct. 2.

Fraser started ISL Internet Solutions Ltd., later rebranded as MODE, in 1995, and grew the company to be Atlantic Canada’s top digital agency, said Innovacorp in a statement. ISL coached many businesses through digital transformation including Stanfield’s, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Tourism Nova Scotia. In 2016, ISL was acquired by Vancouver-based digital marketing agency FCV Interactive and Fraser joined the firm’s executive team.

"After an extensive search which generated interest from across Canada, we’ve landed a fantastic new leader for Innovacorp," Innovacorp Board Chair Rodney Burgar said in the statement. "Malcolm is an entrepreneur, through and through. He’s built and led a technology company and he’s hustled to acquire clients and raise capital. Recently he led his company through a successful acquisition by a national company.”

Fraser has a bachelor of commerce in marketing and economics from Mount Allison University. He is board chair at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, research committee chair at Destination Canada, a board member with the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and Sobey Art Foundation, and past chair of ITANS, now Digital Nova Scotia.

"I am very excited about this role," said Fraser. “I’m eager to dive in, get to better know all the players in our start-up ecosystem and strengthen Innovacorp’s contribution to the community.”

Innovacorp Invested $5.6M in 2016-17

Innovacorp last week also unveiled its plan for the new Spark competition, which will be held in four regions simultaneously this fall. Details of the competition, which will award a total of $800,000 in non-dilutive funding, can be found here.

The Spark competition started in Cape Breton in 2014, awarding seeding funding between $10,000 and $50,000 to a handful of startups. The idea was to give entrepreneurs a bit of support, and then see who grows. Innovacorp also held a Spark West in Western Nova Scotia last year.

The agency said earlier this year it would no longer hold its biennial I-3 competition, but would expand Spark. The competition will award $200,000 in each of four regions, and each applicant is eligible for as much as $50,000 in funding. Applications close Sept. 21.

Another major initiative that Innovacorp is due to complete soon is the creation of a new venture capital fund in Halifax.

The provincial government will put up $25 million for the fund and has received proposals from seven private-sector players interested in bringing in additional money and managing the fund.

The announcement of the winner had been expected earlier this year but was delayed because of the provincial election. Spokeswoman Dawn House said the announcement is expected by the end of September.

Disclaimer: Innovacorp is a client of Entrevestor.