The Spark Nova Scotia startup competition, which last fall held three pitching events on the province’s mainland, is coming to Cape Breton as it looks to revive last fall’s competition with new entries.

Companies that entered last fall when Spark first opened applications in Cape Breton are still in the running. Newcomers to the competition can also join as long as they apply by April 17 at 11:50 p.m.

Now in its 10th year, the Spark program aims to nurture Nova Scotian startups based outside of metro Halifax, including by offering winners up to $50,000 of non-dilutive funding, as well as mentorship.

Entrepreneurs, whose companies can be as early in their development as the idea stage, will have access to a pitch training session hosted by Navigate Startup House in Sydney on April 4, with an online option for anyone unable to attend in person.

The Nova Scotia Association 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.

“We want to ensure Spark funding makes a meaningful difference to Cape Breton entrepreneurs,” Erinn Smith, the association's executive director, said in a statement.

“This is about writing the next chapter of your great business idea, thinking about how you would ensure success.” 

Entrepreneurs can find an application form here and register for the training session here. Their companies must be headquartered in Nova Scotia and have little or no revenue, other than from pre-commercialization or customer validation efforts.