The federal and Nova Scotia governments on Wednesday announced more than $1.4 million in funding for two ocean-related companies and a support organization.
Halifax-based life sciences company DeNova, which is developing a sustainable source of protein for fish feed and animal food, received the lion’s share of the funding with more than $900,000. Sedna Technologies, based in Dartmouth, received a $111,000 loan to help develop a water quality sensor.
And the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship, or COVE, the Dartmouth-based ocean technology centre, received about $420,000 in funding.
“The ocean is a new economic frontier,” said federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan, who announced the funding at a reception at COVE. “In a little more than a decade, the global ocean economy is forecast to double in size and create tremendous new employment opportunities, innovations and economic growth.”
The funding announcements come as oceantech is growing in Atlantic Canada in general and the Halifax area in particular. The number of oceans-related startups has been increasing in the past three years, and groups like COVE, the Start-up Yard and the Creative Destruction Lab-Atlantic are increasing the support programs for young companies.
DeNova, which operates out of the National Research Council in Halifax, has developed a new source of protein made from micro-organisms fed by harmful unused carbon deposits. The protein will help support sustainable aquaculture practices.
“We believe that DeNova’s sustainable protein can become a significant global player in the expanding alternative proteins market and will contribute to the sustainability of our oceans and more environmentally sound aquaculture practices,” said DeNova CEO Brianna Stratton in a statement.
The federal government’s Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is lending DeNova $500,000 through its Regional Economic Development through Innovation program. The company will also receive a grant of up to $307,660 from the National Research Council Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, or IRAP. The Nova Scotia Innovation Hub is contributing $100,000.
DeNova will use the funding for research and development and for such scale-up activities as a production pilot and performance feed trials. This project will create two full-time positions.
Dartmouth-based Sedna has a suite of tools to help the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries streamline quality control of products. The company now plans to develop a proprietary micro water quality sensor to better monitor and manage commercial seafood and aquaculture chains. Its $111,000 loan from ACOA will create two full-time positions.
“Having support from ACOA allows us to invest the time and resources we need in order to bring our innovations to market as well as further advance our R&D and identify ways in which we can improve our ocean economy locally and globally,” said Sedna CEO Sheamus MacDonald in the statement.
COVE is a hub of ocean innovation where a range of companies, from startups to mature ocean entrepreneurs, develop products to help maritime industries. ACOA is now providing a grant of $356,842 to help COVE develop programs that develop the skills and talents of ocean sector professionals. The Nova Scotia government, through the Department of Labour and Advanced Education, is supporting a related internship program with a $63,000 contribution.
“The ocean technology sector in Nova Scotia is thriving,” said the centre’s CEO Jim Hanlon. “New companies like DeNova and SEDNA are launching and scaling quickly, and long-standing ocean technology companies are growing new export markets and hiring talented Nova Scotians.”