Young people discussing agricultural technology

Winners Announced in Cape Breton

May 10, 2023

SYDNEY, NS: Spark Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton startup competition—picking up from last fall— has awarded funding to some promising early-stage companies in Cape Breton. Of the 6 shortlisted companies Bank Scan Pro and Apollo will take home $50,000 and $40,000 respectively. This funding is intended to support key growth areas within these businesses including customer discovery, market research and product development.

“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).

This year’s competition was highly competitive, with many entrepreneurs presenting brave new business ideas that showcased the ingenuity and resilience of Nova Scotians. Spark Nova Scotia works to activate early-stage innovation in rural parts of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton came through with high-quality applications.

The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), is contributing $590,000 to help the Nova Scotia Association of Community Business Development Corporations deliver the Spark Nova Scotia program across rural Nova Scotia over two years. The project provides funding and support to innovation-focused start-ups and includes idea development, training, workshops, networking opportunities, as well as pitch competitions.

“Helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses is crucial to cultivating long-term economic success here in Atlantic Canada,” said Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney—Victoria. “Spark Nova Scotia encourages entrepreneurial thinking in rural communities and helps founders plug into the innovation ecosystem so they can bring their ideas to life.”

Bank Scan Pro founded by Alison Gionvinetti is an advanced AI-powered SaaS platform that extracts transaction details from financial documents and automates bookkeeping processes.

Apollo Festival founded by Darcy Campbell is a cloud-based application designed to help festivals and organizations manage all the logistics of running an event. The software allows users to efficiently schedule staff, volunteers, performers, and presenters, provides detailed reporting and contracting, and offers seamless website integration for marketing and promotion.

ABOUT: Spark Nova Scotia is an initiative of Nova Scotia’s CBDCs, funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), emphasizing community-based business learning. The competition focuses on rural Nova Scotia communities to ensure support and programming for start-ups outside the metropolitan Halifax area. Sponsors are Cox & Palmer, Grant Thornton, Invest Nova Scotia and OKR Financial.