Dr. Paula Mendonça Takes the Helm as Executive Director of Ocean Startup Project

April 25, 2024  |  ,
The Ocean Startup Project is delighted to announce Dr. Paula Mendonça as its new Executive Director. Dr. Mendonça’s appointment marks a significant stride towards fostering innovative, sustainable solutions and building a robust ocean startup ecosystem in Canada, while advancing the country’s role in the global Blue Economy.

Dr. Mendonça is currently on secondment from her role as the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Memorial University, in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her deep-rooted expertise and visionary leadership in marine biology, intellectual property, and research commercialization are set to propel the Ocean Startup Project towards new horizons of growth and innovation.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Dr. Paula Mendonça as the new Executive Director at the Ocean Startup Project,” said Jeff White, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Project and CEO at New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF). 

“Paula’s unparalleled expertise and her exceptional track record in innovation make her the perfect leader to steer our ambitious Project. Her passion for ocean technology and commitment to fostering a dynamic and collaborative ecosystem resonate deeply with our goals. We are confident that Paula’s leadership will be instrumental in launching us into a new era of ocean innovation and success,” White said. 

Dr. Mendonça expressed her enthusiasm for her new role: “I am thrilled to step into my new role as Executive Director at the Ocean Startup Project. It’s a privilege to lead such an exciting venture, where we are redefining the future of Canada’s ocean economy by nurturing the growth and development of early stage startups. As our team, partnerships and ecosystem continue to expand, we are launching groundbreaking initiatives and cultivating a dynamic community that thrives on creativity, innovation and collective impact,” Mendonça said. “The ocean’s potential is limitless, and as leaders in the global Blue Economy, it’s vital that we ensure our entrepreneurs are at the cutting edge, shaping tomorrow’s opportunities.”

Under Dr. Mendonça’s leadership, the Ocean Startup Project will be hosting its inaugural Lab2Market Oceans / Discover cohort, launching a series of Ocean Challenges aimed at uncovering groundbreaking technologies and nurturing the talents that will steer the future of ocean technology, among other exciting initiatives that will fill in ecosystem gaps and better support early stage founders. 

Dr. Mendonça’s strategic approach to innovation, developed through her years of experience within ocean communities in Portugal and Newfoundland and Labrador, promises to lead the way in connecting and expanding the ocean startup ecosystem. 

Having led the creation of the Lab2Market Oceans / Validate program and continuing to oversee it since 2020, Dr. Mendonça has already played a pivotal role in the success of the Ocean Startup Project. This flagship initiative has equipped numerous graduate students and researchers across Canadian universities with the necessary skills to transform ocean-related research into viable market innovations. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Dr. Mendonça is a respected member of the community and was honoured as one of the Most Inspiring Immigrants in Atlantic Canada in 2022. Her leadership exemplifies the strength and impact of diverse and inclusive leadership at the helm of technology and innovation.

Learn more about the Ocean Startup Project and its initiatives, by exploring our website

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