Sheryl MacAulay, the freshly minted CEO of Charlottetown innovation hub Startup Zone, is readying a host of new partnerships and program offerings as the organization looks to expand its client base.
MacAulay was elevated to CEO while she was on maternity leave and began work Nov. 1. She was previously the Director of Policy and Communications for the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, and before that, she worked in business development for management consultancy AOR Solutions.
She said in an interview that with her arrival, Startup Zone has codified a trio of new operational goals: increasing the number of entrepreneurs it services, community-building and helping its member companies grow faster.
“We have a brand new team,” she said. “We just finished setting a new direction. You have a new board of directors, new partnerships and new resident companies coming in.
“So it's a fresh start for the organization. And I'm really excited to be a part of it.”
Several of the board’s previous members will also stay on, but Startup Zone will announce the new directors in the coming weeks. Several new partnerships and program offerings are also coming soon, MacAulay added.
She said Prince Edward Island’s startup economy has weathered the pandemic, thanks in part to the province’s low case counts and the rise of remote work.
“Our economy fared relatively well,” she said. “During what otherwise would be considered a challenging time, there was a lot of innovation that came out of the pandemic.
“Every business is unique, but every business is also doing what they need to do to adapt and and persevere. And you can see as a province as a whole, that it's worked.”
An early example of MacAulay’s expansion push is a cohort of seven companies joining Startup Zone as part of Innovation PEI’s Ignition Fund, which offers seed capital that early-stage companies can leverage for additional investment.
Here’s a look at the most recent crop of Ignition Fund startups:
Irrigation Management Pro
Stephanie Arnold and Andrew Clark
Irrigation Management Pro is developing software to let farmers input video and temperature data gathered by drones to predict which areas of their fields need watering, when and how much.
Beth Wigmore and Tian Wigmore
LĒNA is developing software to streamline the real estate appraisal process.
Kirk Arsenault and Ken Driscoll
Sofistofish is building Lobtrak, a cloud-based records and efficiency management suite for the commercial lobster fishing industry that can be accessed from a water-resistent tablet.
Ian Morse, Cleve Myers, Gordie Noye and Terry Smith
Three Hippies is building an online platform to validate the authenticity of events tickets.
Tidal Event Management Systems
Matthew Jelley and Adam Hickey
Tidal is building software and hardware for the management of festivals and events including online ticketing and onsite revenue management systems.
Jordan Rose, Jarred Kenny and Shawn Bowman
Tracktile is developing software for manufacturers to design and operate their production process while ensuring verifiable traceability and gaining visibility and insights into their business.
Weebee Condiment Company
Dean Constable, Jennifer Cullen, Laura Weatherbie and Rod Weatherbie
Weebee makes Soybru brand soy sauce using traditional fermentation and local ingredients.