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Transforming tech: unconventional startups take center stage: Spark Nova Scotia 2024 winners

June 17, 2024; MIDDLE MUSQUODOBOIT, NS: Spark Nova Scotia’s 2024 competition has awarded funding to six promising early-stage companies across Nova Scotia. From among 70 total applicants and 15 shortlisted companies, three first-place winners will receive $50,000 each, and three second-place winners will receive $40,000 each. This funding will support key growth areas within these businesses, including customer discovery, market research and product development.

“Congratulations to all the winners of the Spark Innovation Challenge,” said the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister Responsible for ACOA. “Nova Scotia’s rural communities are key to Atlantic Canada’s economic success—competitions like this one encourage entrepreneurs from all across the province to pursue their ideas and launch the kinds of great new businesses that make our region the best place to live and work.”

Spark Nova Scotia works to activate early-stage innovation in rural parts of Nova Scotia. This year’s competition was highly competitive—including everything from marine technology and safety engineering to green technology—and was truly representative of the face of innovation in Nova Scotia.

“Spark Nova Scotia gives people in rural communities the chance to show the type of creativity and opportunities that exist in all corners of our province,” said Economic Development Minister Susan Corkum-Greek, “I extend my sincere congratulations to this year’s winners. I am excited to see your businesses grow and evolve right here in Nova Scotia.”

Congratulations to the 2024 Spark Nova Scotia winners.

Cape Breton Winners

  • Net Zero Edge – founded by Kyle Burton – is building underwater data centers using ocean cooling solutions.
  • Defort Bio – founded by Steeve LeFort and Jacob Deveau – are replacing rubber lobster bands with biodegradable alternatives for harvesters.

Nova Scotia North Winners

  • CM Marine Safety Equipment – founded by Ben Collins-MacKay – is developing comfortable, safe lifejackets for commercial fishing and promoting water safety.
  • iNav4U – founded by Brenda Robinson – is automating yacht systems for safety using coordinated hardware and software.


Nova Scotia Southwest Winners

  • Resolve Composites – founded by Leitha Haysom – innovates recycling large-scale composites and reclaiming valuable materials.
  • Handy Rescue Company – founded by Brennan Handy – offers efficient rescue services and high-quality emergency training

“Not only are we providing early-stage companies with financial support, but we are also welcoming them into the ecosystem, which provides access to a network of advisors, mentors and peers,” said Erinn Smith, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Association of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDC).

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ABOUT: Spark Nova Scotia is an initiative of the Nova Scotia Association of CBDCs, funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Province of Nova Scotia. Sponsors are Cox & Palmer, Grant Thornton, and Invest Nova Scotia. Spark focuses on rural Nova Scotian communities to provide funding, support, training and pitch competitions for innovation focused startups in rural Nova Scotia.

CONTACT: Darren MacDonald darren@sparknovascotia.com