The startup ecosystem in Cape Breton is changing, with the creation of a new program called the Momentum Initiative and the end of the ground-breaking UIT program at Cape Breton University.

The changes are taking place at a seminal moment in the growth of the Cape Breton tech community. Last week, three of the 11 companies presenting at the Propel ICT Demo Day in Halifax hailed from the Sydney area, and the regional tech accelerator just completed its first cohort in the city. There are new IT companies like Click2Order and Securicy that are gaining traction and some funding.

Last month, the federal and provincial governments announced almost $2 million in funding for the Momentum Initiative, which is a new hub for entrepreneurs, innovators and the many organizations supporting them.

The move comes as the news has spread that UIT — which stood for the Uhma Institute of Technology — will not be re-offered by CBU in the coming academic year.

“It’s too bad about UIT,” said Bob Pelley, Innovacorp’s investment manager in Sydney, who will head up Momentum. “But like with any startup, when these things happen you get over it and you move on.”

The Momentum program will receive $1.4 million from the federal government and $500,000 from the province, and will be based in the New Dawn Enterprises Centre. That will put the innovation hub in the downtown core and ensure accessibility to other Sydney businesses and organizations.

It will feature shared office space for a range of young ventures, said a press release. And for those working in hardware or physical products, it will feature a computer station for computer-aided design, a high-end 3D printer, an electronics lab, welding equipment and other tools for inventing and prototyping.

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Momentum will partner with such organizations as New Dawn, Cape Breton University and the Nova Scotia Community College, and will have an entrepreneur-in residence to help mentor founders.

“I’m delighted to see these organizations come together in a more collaborative and co-ordinated way,” said Kimberly Desveaux, co-program director for Brilliant Labs. “I know first-hand how important it is for entrepreneurs to access the supports they need, when they need them.”

The sad news for the community is that UIT is no more. It was created three years ago by Gavin Uhma, the Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of GoInstant, which sold out to in 2012 reportedly for more than $70 million.

Uhma wanted to create a program that would encourage other Cape Bretoners to develop technological talents and convert them into companies. UIT did not grant degrees, but it worked with scores of young people who are now working in the Sydney tech community. One laudable aspect of a program was that it strove to have a student body that was 50 percent female each year.

The Momentum Initiative funding will be rolled out over the next three years.

“This initiative will help Cape Breton’s startup community grow faster and stronger,” said Stephen Duff, president and CEO of Innovacorp. “We’re excited to get going.”