Lab2Market Oceans

Lab2Market (L2M) is a national program that encourages researchers to take their findings beyond the typical academic path and into the world of innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization. Throughout the program, they’ll discover their passion for entrepreneurship, build an entrepreneurial skillset, and connect with the network they need to turn their ideas into successful businesses.

Lab2Market’s three program streams, including Discover, Validate, and Launch exist to guide you through every step of the entrepreneurial journey.

The Ocean Startup Project funds the industry-specific Oceans cohort of Lab2Market Validate (L2M Oceans / Validate), hosted by Memorial University of Newfoundland.

L2M Oceans / Validate is a national program for university research teams across Canada to explore their ocean research idea in a new way and identify commercial opportunities.

Based on the US I-Corps program, Lab2Market Validate fosters an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset in postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and faculty. The program teaches entrepreneurial methodologies and business best practices, with topics such as market sizing, stakeholder engagement, intellectual property, regulatory processes, revenue stream, cost structure, and more.

A significant part of the program focuses on customer discovery. Teams will interview 15 potential customers each week to systematically understand customer’s challenges, validate or invalidate business hypotheses, and systematically understand while building meaningful relationships with prospective clients or partners.

The process determines whether there is product-market fit and allows participants to translate their findings to product design building or further research and development.

The 4th Lab2Market Oceans Cohort kicks off in January 2024, with the key dates below for prospective participants to keep in mind:

  • Orientation starts: Jan 8, 2024
  • Core Program starts: Jan 22, 2024
  • Winter Break: Feb 19 – 23, 2024
  • Program Ends: Mar 15, 2024

The application window for the following Lab2Market Oceans cohort (cohort 5) begins in June 2024.

Download the 2023-2024 L2M Oceans Validate program information package. Memorial University’s Research Innovation Office is the L2M Oceans delivery partner and all partners and supporters are listed in the program info package:

Memorial University logo

Lab2Market Oceans logo across the top of a photo of a Black woman in a lab coat using a pipette

The program launched in 2020 and has had three cohorts

57 teams have participated in the program

2,553 Customer Interviews

$850,000+ Funds Raised

24 teams commercialized/pursuing entrepreneurship

*this number currently reflects the 2020 and 2021 cohort and will be updated after the six-month follow-up survey of 2022 participants 

Meet our teaching team

Carol Bartlett is a geophysicist and a sales expert. She worked in the oil and gas industry for many years and leveraged her skills in sales to climb the corporate ladder. Now as an independent consultant and entrepreneur, Carol teaches other entrepreneurs sales skills, and she helps organizations bring in a constant and steady pipeline of revenue.

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Randy Gillespie has 30+ years of experience working with entrepreneurs in ocean technology and geomatics to help them access technology, markets and investment to support the development and growth of their startups. Over the years, he has worked with Provincial Aerospace, Rutter Technologies, C-Core, Compusult, AXYS Technologies, Quester Tangent, AMEC (now Wood), RPM Aerial, and others.

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Leah Sanford is the “business hug every entrepreneur needs” who has been in marketing for over 15 years. Every day, Leah applies her expertise in marketing and public relations to help entrepreneurs define strategy, craft stories, and reach customers more effectively.

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Over the past 17 years, Joanna’s passion and experience have closely danced at the intersection of social purpose, sustainability, and growth through business. Through her work with leaders, businesses, institutions, and changemakers, she has helped create massive waves through their startups, projects, programs, and products for impact. From building acceleration programs to support the growth of emerging impact startups to working with leading founders to support their growth strategies to engaging diverse communities to build ecosystems that work to create impact – her purpose is to work with others to help them grow their change-making ideas.

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Marie’s expertise is project/program management in higher education and research, with over five years of clinical research experience at the MUN Faculty of Medicine. She is a certified Medical Laboratory Assistant with basic science experience in blood biomarker research and COVID-19 testing. She also coordinated the MUN Self-Isolation Project, helping students, faculty, and staff understand and follow the previous federal and provincial COVID-19 restrictions. More recently, she has been a project coordinator for the MUN Internationalization Office, helping new international students navigate their arrival to Canada and Newfoundland & Labrador.

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Shubhra Singh, the tech luminary, is driving innovation, mentorship, and diversity to make tech more accessible and inclusive for everyone. Meet Shubhra Singh, a serial entrepreneur and tech visionary with a remarkable 17-year journey in technology. She’s a pioneer known for her innovation, mentorship, and commitment to making tech more inclusive. Journey: Tech Luminary: With 17 years of diverse tech roles, Shubhra brings a wealth of experience across the tech landscape. Innovation Trailblazer: Winner of prestigious pitch competitions like Aquahackathon and Onside, Shubhra transforms visionary ideas into tech solutions. Mentor Extraordinaire: She actively mentors in programs like the Stay and Study initiative and the Ignite Program at the Arthur Entrepreneurship Center, shaping the next generation of tech leaders. Vision: Diversity and Inclusion Advocate: As a woman in tech for 17 years, Shubhra envisions a future where all, especially women and the LGBTQ2+ community, can realize their tech dreams through an empowering product she aims to develop.

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Application Process

Submit an application

The Entrepreneurial Lead (graduate student/postdoctoral fellow) should be the main applicant. The Technical Lead (faculty member) must be included as a co-applicant. Only non-confidential information should be provided. The application must include how the research outcomes will contribute to the problem’s solution and assumptions on its potential customer or commercial market. The application should NOT reveal any proprietary information that is not yet publicly disclosed or covered by a patent/provisional patent. Consider any information disclosed in the application non-confidential information. Please contact the technology transfer office at your institution if you have any questions regarding intellectual property.

Review and Interview

The application will be reviewed, and short-listed teams will be interviewed. Teams will be short-listed based on: – the size of the problem – novelty and quality of the research – market potential – commitment to the program

Mitacs e-Accelerate

Each short-listed team will be contacted by their local Mitacs representative and will have at least two weeks to complete a Mitacs e-Accelerate funding proposal. Your application will not be considered if you do not complete the Mitacs funding application on time. The partner organization for the Mitacs application is Springboard Atlantic Inc. Once teams submit the Mitacs application, it will take eight to 10 weeks for review.

Program Acceptance

Acceptance to the program depends on the success of the Lab2Market Oceans application and the Mitacs funding application. If you are accepted, the Lab2Market Oceans Program Manager will reach out with the next steps for enrolment. Each accepted team will receive an acceptance letter that confirms the funding and the program objectives. Teams also need to follow their university’s policies concerning intellectual property and research commercialization. Teams need to contact their Technology Transfer Office once accepted into Lab2Market.


  • Applicant must be a graduate student (Master’s or Ph.D. level) or postdoctoral fellow (graduated within four years) or a recent graduate of a Master’s or Ph.D. program
  • Project must be realistic and technically feasible
  • We recommend that the project focus on the applicant’s research area
  • Graduate student/postdoctoral fellow must receive permission from their research supervisor to take eight weeks to work on Lab2Market Oceans full-time (minimum 35 hours/week)
  • While L2M Oceans is open to participation nationally, it is delivered in English. A French version, L2M Validation (QC) without the ocean lens, is available through V1 Studio for participants who are affiliated with QC universities.

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