SYDNEY, NS — Cape Breton’s start-up sector received a healthy injection of cash on Friday.
The federal funding announcement of $1.869 million will support existing and new projects as well as create 12 new jobs and maintain 59 others.
Navigate Startup House was the biggest winner receiving a non-refundable grant of $999,900.
Todd Graham, company director, said part of the funding will help the company offset expenses related to the takeover of Makerspace located at 37 Nepean St. in Sydney, inside the New Dawn Center for Social Innovation.
The facility is the largest of its kind in the province and offers a host of services to local entrepreneurs, from 3D printing and laser cutting to software development and prototype development. While Nova Scotia Power will continue to be a sponsor of the facility, Navigate will manage operations.
The funding, which will help maintain nine jobs, comes from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Talem Health Analytics will receive a repayable loan of $327,000 from ACOA and draw up to $393,000 in non-repayable funding from the National Research Council.
The company will now move forward with plans to commercialize and implement its artificial intelligence and data analytics platform that serves the North American auto insurance industry.
Funding from the Research Council will help provide advisory services to support the project.
The new money is expected to provide the company with an opportunity to increase its workforce to 23, including 11 new employees.
A North Sydney-based company, Copol International, will receive a repayable loan of $100,000 to modernize a production line and maintain around 50 jobs.
The company produces plastic film for the flexible packaging industry.
Rounding out the list of funding recipients, Cape Breton Capital Group will receive a $50,000 non-repayable grant to hire an investment coordinator to help build relationships with companies, start-ups, investors, incubators and accelerators .
The funding announcement was made by Liberal MP Jamie Battiste.
Todd Graham, director of Navigate, said it’s an exciting time in the start-up sector and he and Bob Pelley, director of Innovacorp for Cape Breton and member of Navigate’s board of directors, said that the announcement was an indication of the level of confidence shown in the island entrepreneurs.
There are now some 69 companies and projects supported by Navigate and the new funding will provide continued support to the hundreds of employees in the sector producing an estimated economic value in the tens of millions.
Graham urged any island developer looking for support to bring their ideas to fruition to join and become a member of Navigate and take advantage of the assistance it has to offer.