News Release Article from  Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Nova Scotia Entrepreneurs Embrace Innovation to Grow

Projects support activity in ICT, cleantech and fisheries sectors

Halifax, N.S. - Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister Responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), along with the Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants announced investments totalling $2,709,280 to seven companies and organizations representing the ICT, cleantech and fisheries sectors.

Each recipient is involved in the development of innovative practices or products to expand their market share or to develop their early stage technology. The announcement was made at Volta Labs Inc., a startup house that is directing its $499,500 ACOA contribution to deliver mentorship, collaborative learning and community networking to the ICT ecosystem, while playing a direct role in fostering the growth of tech companies.

The Government of Canada contribution for these projects is provided through ACOA’s Business Development Program (BDP).

Quick Facts:

  • Volta Labs Inc. is a not-for-profit entity that opened its doors on May 1, 2013. To date, 39 companies have been accepted into the Volta program of which 87% are still in business. There have been 28 graduates and there are 11 Volta companies currently on site.
  • Nova Scotia is home to some of the most advanced land-based aquaculture techniques in the world. Sustainable Fish Farming’s facility works on a closed-containment system that recycles all saltwater in the salmon tanks, while waste is drawn out and used as fertilizer.


“One of the most effective ways to help Canadian businesses grow, innovate and succeed is to make strategic investments that build on competitive advantages. The businesses and organizations we are investing in today illustrate a commitment to excellence and to innovative practices that help set them apart in the marketplace.”

     -       The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister Responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

“Nova Scotia companies continue to develop new global markets in a variety of sectors including ICT, fisheries and cleantech, emphasizing innovative service and product offerings. Strengthening companies’ engagement in market growth is an important investment in the local ecosystem.”

    -       The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants


Alex Smith
Director of Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Phone: 902-426-9417
Phone: 902-830-3839

Project Facts:

The Government of Canada is investing $2,709,280 in seven Nova Scotia companies representing the ICT, cleantech and fisheries sectors. The contribution is made through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)’s Business Development Program (BDP). The investments focus on advancing innovative products and practices.

Volta Labs Incorporated
Project: Startup programs/mentorship and operational support Investment:
Investment: $499,500 BDP non-repayable
Location: Halifax, N.S.

Since its inception in 2013, Volta has played an integral role in fostering the growth and development of the ICT ecosystem in Atlantic Canada. Volta encourages entrepreneurship within the Atlantic Canadian ICT sector via collaborative learning, structured mentorship, community networking, strategic partnerships and investment attraction. The investment will allow Volta to continue to deliver relevant programming to startup and early-stage technology companies.


Melody Pardoe, Executive Director
Phone: 902-880-8341 | Email: | Website:

Hire technical expertise for expansion Investment:
Investment: $244,146 BDP repayable
Location: Halifax, N.S
b4checkin’s reservation software and service platform allows on-line customers to book accommodations and other services at hotels. As a result of an increased demand on its services, the company is in a growth phase. The investment will support the hiring of a number of highly-skilled technical staff in areas including development, programming and quality assurance.


Martin MacKinnon, Chief Financial Officer
Phone: 902-499-7183 | Email:   

Pantel International
Development and redesign of the graphic user interface 
Investment: $242,625 BDP repayable
Location: Dartmouth, N.S.

This project will assist Pantel International in developing and redesigning its InterTalk console system. For over 25 years, the company’s InterTalk radio communications and dispatch system has been relied on by clients in the public safety, railway, utilities, transit, and government sectors. The redesign will allow Pantel International to ensure its users can benefit from the latest advancements in technology. 


Christopher Oldham, Vice-President
Phone: 902-468-5998 | Email: | Website:

Nautical Seafoods Limited
Project: An innovative system for storage and distribution of lobster
Investment: $500,000 BDP repayable
Location: Parker’s Cove, N.S.

Nautical Seafoods Limited (NSL), is the major buyer and processor of live lobster in Nova Scotia's southwest (Districts 34 and 35), as well as a major buyer and processor of Digby scallops. The company employs 17 full-time staff. This project will assist with the acquisition of state-of-the-art technology to enable the development of an innovative, long-term storage system with a 500,000 pound capacity. The new technology will improve operational efficiency, add value and maximize marketing opportunities. 


Shawn Everett, President and Board Member
Phone: 902-532-2212

Gidney Fisheries Limited
Project: Acquisition of high-pressure processing equipment
Investment: $500,000 BDP repayable
Location: Digby Neck, N.S.

Gidney Fisheries Limited purchases fresh-caught live lobsters directly from local fishermen and stores them in the two state-of-the-art holding facilities, allowing Gidney to offer an uninterrupted, 12-month supply for export via air freight to Asia, Europe, and other areas of North America. Currently, live lobster is hand-graded, with the strong and healthy lobster prepared for export while those that are soft-shelled or too weak for the long journey are classed as "process grade," which is still an excellent product but one that sells for below-market prices. This project will assist with the purchase of a High Pressure Processing (HPP) machine that results in lobster meat that is tenderized naturally with no additives. The meat is then flash frozen for optimum "sushi" grade quality, and commands a premium price. 


Robert MacDonald, President and General Manager
Phone: 902-834-2775 | Email:

Sustainable Fish Farming (Canada) Limited
Project: 65-tonne Atlantic salmon grow-out facility
Investment: $500,000 BDP repayable
Location: Centre Burlington, N.S

Sustainable Fish Farming (Canada) Limited (SFF), is a land-based fish farming operation that has designed, built and is currently operating proprietary marine water treatment technology for use in commercial aquaculture. The company began with warm-water European marine sea bass and sea bream, and has now ventured into Atlantic salmon. This project will assist the client to further expand by constructing a grow-out facility capable of producing an additional 65 tonnes of Atlantic salmon per year.


Kirk Havercroft, CEO
Phone: 902-691-0475 | Email:   

Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia
Project: Hatchery support for the oyster aquaculture sector
Investment: $223,009 BDP non-repayable
Location: Halifax, N.S.

The Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia (AANS) is an industry association representing the mutual interests of approximately 200 Nova Scotia aquaculture businesses. This project will assist AANS to establish hatchery support for the oyster aquaculture sector to help mitigate the impacts of the MSX parasite on Nova Scotia oyster populations. Using industry-led research, this project will work towards mitigating the effect of the MSX parasite by developing a breeding program using local oysters and is expected to provide seed stock that is either triploid (sterile) in nature or MSX resistant. AANS is confident this approach will assist in re-establishing the oyster industry in Cape Breton and protecting the industry in other regions of Nova Scotia.


Tom Smith, Executive Director
Phone: 902-422-6234 | Email: 

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Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Science and Technology

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