Three innovation economy players took home silverware Thursday night at the Halifax Business Awards, hosted by the city’s chamber of commerce.

ESG Partners, an environmental, social and corporate governance consulting firm, won New Business of the Year. Impactful Health R&D, which is developing antimicrobial packaging for fish, won Innovative Business of the Year. And Nautel, one of the world's largest manufacturers of radio broadcast transmitters, won Export Business of the Year.

A few years ago, high tech companies were usually featured only in the categories dedicated to innovation. But this year’s nominees also included supply chain software startup Milk Moovement, which recently raised US$20 million, and high-tech engineering firm Enginuity.

ESG Partners was founded by Nancy Foran, a former vice president for industry group Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

“Our goal is to enable clients to become more resilient and competitive, attract talent and capital, create long-term value, and maximize impact across the value chain through purposeful alignment with ESG strategies,” says the company on its website.

Impactful, meanwhile, was founded by biomaterials researcher Mina Mekhail in 2017. Its packaging film is meant to both be more sustainable than conventional films and also prolong the shelf life of its contents.

“All of our intellectual property is [related to our] coatings,” Mekhail said of his company previously. 

“The formulation that we put on the surface of any (packaging) film is in order to give it the antimicrobial effects that extend the shelf life by targeting spoilage bacteria and inhibiting growth.”

And Hacket's Cove-based Nautel, which was founded more than 50 years ago in 1969, now owns an impressive range of radio and telecommunications intellectual property, including innovative offerings.