HALIFAX, November 5, 2020 – Seventeen teams from three universities have graduated from the first-ever Lab2Market Oceans cohort. Beginning mid-September, the teams spent seven weeks taking virtual training to learn techniques to assess their research and ways to move it out of university laboratories.
“We knew Canadian researchers were pursuing innovative research that, if commercialized, could tackle some of the world’s most pressing ocean-related issues. This Lab2Market Oceans cohort proved that it is true,” said Donald Grant, Executive Director at the Ocean Startup Project. “Based on what we saw and what they learned, we expect many of these teams to go on to commercialize their research and we look forward to welcoming more teams to benefit from Lab2Market in 2021.”
The spring 2020 national call for applications led the Ocean Startup Project to select 17 teams with research that spanned ocean sciences, engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, electrical engineering and computer sciences, and oceanography. The successful teams chosen to participate in the inaugural Lab2Market Oceans cohort included one team from the University of Prince Edward Island, three teams from Dalhousie University and 13 teams from Memorial University.
All 17 teams were three-person teams involving: a research applicant from a Canadian university; the applicant’s university supervisor or principal investigator; and an industry mentor from a related business sector. The industry mentors connected the researchers to the market and could help advance ideas to further boost Canada’s growing ocean economy.
The Ocean Startup Project’s pan-Atlantic collaborators had the vision to establish Lab2Market Oceans. Those founding collaborators—Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) – Atlantic, Genesis, Innovacorp, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, PEI BioAlliance, and Springboard Atlantic—aim for Lab2Market Oceans to become a world-class ocean research commercialization program. The Oceans cohort, delivered by Memorial University and the Ocean Startup Project, was the second Lab2Market cohort offered in Canada. The first cohort, delivered by Dalhousie University, focused on health technologies and innovations.
“Memorial plays a critical role in fostering and supporting innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Paula Mendonça, Director of innovation and entrepreneurship with Memorial University. “The Lab2Market Oceans program will help ensure emerging innovators and entrepreneurs receive essential support as they address challenges and take advantage of opportunities related to the ocean sector.”
Lab2Market began as a four-month pilot program to offer researchers access to world-class mentors, a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, and $15,000 in funding. To address the lack of deeptech entrepreneurship programs and support researchers at Canadian universities, the Innovate-Incubate Network of Canada (I-INC) developed the Lab2Market program and partnered with VentureWell, an organization delivering a similar program in the United States.
Supporters of the original Halifax cohort include the Government of Canada—
through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and FedDev Ontario—and Mitacs. The seven-week, ocean-focused version of Lab2Market involves original supporters like ACOA and Mitacs, with additional funding or support from Canada’s Ocean Supercluster, the Ocean Startup Project, and Springboard Atlantic.
About the Ocean Startup Project
The Ocean Startup Project was the first Innovation Ecosystem Project announced by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster. The Ocean Startup Project is a pan-Atlantic collaboration to create and grow high-quality ocean technology companies and attract more ventures to the region’s ecosystem.
Donald Grant, Executive Director, Ocean Startup Project