The annual Spark Nova Scotia startup competition, which offers winners up to $50,000 of non-dilutive funding, will hold three pitching events in different regions of Nova Scotia this fall.

Now in its ninth year, the Spark program aims to nurture Nova Scotian startups based outside of metro Halifax. After hosting the pitching events in three regions, the winners will be announced in an event in late October. 

Cape Breton companies will pitch Oct. 12. Startups from the South of Nova Scotia will pitch Oct. 18, and northern mainland entrepreneurs will pitch on the 19th.

Entrepreneurs will have access to online training seminars before the Sept. 19 deadline to apply for the actual competition.

The training will cover topics such as finance, risk management and pitching skills.

Then, after the pitch competitions, judges will announce the winners on Oct. 24 and a special workshop will be held for the victorious entrepreneurs.

 The Nova Scotia Accociation of  Community Business Development Corporations (local groups that distribute funding to found or grow small businesses) is responsible for the program, which is funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

“Nova Scotians really identify with the stories that lead entrepreneurs to innovative solutions,” said CBDC Executive Director Erinn Smith in a press release. “Business success stories are the engines behind so many of our growing communities, and that’s why Spark wants to activate more of them.” 

Entrepreneurs can apply here, but their companies must be headquartered in Nova Scotia and have little or no revenue, other than from pre-commercialization or customer validation efforts.