Ig­nite Labs co-hosted Launch Oceans startup week­end

Event was held in part­ner­ship with Launch Dal


Ig­nite Labs, in part­ner­ship with Dal­housie Univer­sity’s Nor­man Newman Cen­tre for En­trepreneur­ship, hosted Launch Oceans – an oceans-startup week­end this past week­end.

Teams com­prised of stu­dents, re­searchers and com­mu­nity mem­bers worked on ocean-re­lated ven­ture ideas, in­ter­acted with ocean in­dus­try ex­perts to val­i­date the prob­lems they were ad­dress­ing, (po­ten­tial con­tacts for their ca­reer or a new busi­ness ven­ture) and pitched their star­tups to judges for prize money. En­trepreneurs from the oceans in­dus­try par­tic­i­pated in the week­end event as men­tors.

The top prize was awarded to Scott Dauphi­nee and Alex Steven­son founders of Oys­ter Pyra­mid, de­vel­op­ing a so­lu­tion to help oys­ter farm­ers turn oys­ter bed cages. The sec­ond-place prize went to Carol Har­ri­son, founder of Smart Start, an en­vi­ron­men­tal prod­uct that helps start fires made from re­cy­cled fish boxes di­verted from land­fill sites, while Jonathan Sk­jel­mose, founder of Black Watch Tech, de­vel­op­ing a so­lu­tion to help res­cue fish­er­men (and plea­sure boaters) who fall into the wa­ter placed third.

In ad­di­tion, two Ju­nior Women’s En­trepreneur­ship prizes, do­nated by the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Yar­mouth, the Cen­tre for Ocean Ven­tures & En­trepreneur­ship (COVE), In­no­va­corp and Ig­nite Labs were awarded, with the top prize of $2,000 awarded to Danielle Surette and Kristin Bal­durs­dot­tir, the founders of Cap­tain Buoy, which is de­vel­op­ing a de­vice that saves time and money for lob­ster fish­ers by track­ing lob­sters in traps and send­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tions to fish­ers. The sec­ond-place prize in this cat­e­gory was awarded to Laura Jones, founder of Sea Jewel, cre­at­ing ocean-in­spired jew­elry from re­cy­cled shells.

Doug Jones, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ig­nite Labs, said, “One of the key ar­eas of fo­cus of Ig­nite Labs is to help de­velop new and in­no­va­tive ideas and busi­ness fo­cused on the Ocean Sec­tor. Launch Oceans is the per­fect plat­form for new ideas to be put into ac­tion.

“The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Dal­housie Univer­sity and Ig­nite Labs al­lows us to cre­ate a link be­tween en­trepreneurs and stu­dents from South­west­ern Nova Sco­tia and Hal­i­fax and pro­vide ac­cess to ex­per­tise and men­tor­ship to help these ven­tures grow. We are ex­cited to col­lab­o­rate with Dal­housie Univer­sity for fu­ture events at Ig­nite,” he added.

The Launch Oceans pro­gram was de­vel­oped three years ago by Dr. Mary Kil­foil, Di­rec­tor of Dal­housie’s Nor­man Newman Cen­tre for En­trepreneur­ship, in an ef­fort to iden­tify chal­lenges re­main­ing in the ocean sec­tor and uti­lize the tal­ent and knowl­edge from the prov­ince’s uni­ver­si­ties, col­leges, com­mu­nity mem­bers and oceans sec­tor in­dus­try ex­perts to come up with ideas to solve these prob­lems.

As pointed out by Dr. Kil­foil, “the de­sired re­sult is to de­velop ro­bust star­tups that tackle real prob­lems iden­ti­fied by par­tic­i­pat­ing com­pa­nies in the oceans sec­tor.”

Teams at­tend­ing the Yar­mouth Launch Oceans event will ben­e­fit from a fol­low-on men­tor­ship pro­gram of­fered by In­no­var Inc. which will pro­vide a se­ries of work­shops on val­i­dat­ing prob­lem-so­lu­tion fit, con­nec­tions to ocean in­dus­try ex­perts and men­tor­ing the firms’ on their go-to-mar­ket strate­gies. It is the in­tent of the Launch Oceans pro­gram to pro­vide fur­ther men­tor­ship for these teams from ex­perts in the oceans sec­tor as they build proof of con­cept and en­ter the mar­ket. Pre­vi­ous Launch Oceans teams are now res­i­dent firms at COVE – a part­ner or­ga­ni­za­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tor with Ig­nite Labs.

All teams are also in­vited to at­tend the Launch Oceans startup week­end event to be held in late March at Dal­housie Univer­sity’s Surge sand­box. This Launch Oceans event will sup­port the ef­forts of Dr. Aaron Newman, Di­rec­tor of Surge, the oceans and science-re­lated sand­box at Dal­housie Univer­sity.


It was a very pro­duc­tive week­end for all who where in­volved the Launch Oceans event.

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