Digital Nova Scotia – Ocean playground and technology supercluster

The purpose of Digital Canada is to showcase the nation’s digital pioneers, experts and hot startups, which will include breaking this down to regional reviews at a provincial level.

With a history of being Canada’s ocean playground, Nova Scotia is also a province positioned for the 21st century future through it’s high growth tech sector.

Nova Scotia’s ICT sector

As NSBI reports the Nova Scotia $2.5 billion ICT industry is 1,000 establishments strong, accounting for 8.2% of Nova Scotia’s business sector output and more than 38% of all private sector R&D spending in the province.

With a mission of fostering the province’s digital economy, Digital Nova Scotia headlines the industry development for the province, providing membership services including events, training and jobs news, and recently partnered with Bluedrop to roll out a $2.5m funded online skills program to build career pathways into the local tech sector.

In her Tedx presentation President and CEO Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia inspires and challenges the audience to redefine their perception and understanding of leadership using two key qualities – disruption and humanity.

Just a handful of the exciting local tech sector companies includes Solution Inc, Nicom IT, ABM, Digital nGenuity, IMP and Velsoft.

Based in downtown Halifax VERB Interactive is conquering the travel industry from Nova Scotia. Starting off as co-op students at Dalhousie University they have grown into a digital agency of over 160 staff specializing in providing marketing and technology solutions to travel and hospitality brands on a global scale, with plans to recruit another 150 over the next five years.

Founded in 2014 another hot tech venture is LifeRaft. Their Navigator product intelligently mines online information to detect and alert you to any potential threats to your organization’s people, property, or operations.

IBM

Major employers include IBM, who opened a Client Innovation Centre in the province to tap into the highly skilled local workforce, and have been very proactive in seeking to contribute to it.

The province, IBM, and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) are partnering to offer the Technology Advantage Program inspired by IBM’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School, known as the P-TECH model and that guarantees graduates interviews with IBM. The Provincial Government has contributed $2.5m.

They have also partnered with IBM to launch public sector innovation garages.

Ocean Supercluster

IBM is a tenant in ‘COVE’, where in collaboration with Dalhousie University, the Ocean Frontier Institute, the Government of Canada, local industry and the Province of Nova Scotia, they are rolling out DeepSense  – a world class big ocean data innovation environment.

This highlights the major R&D innovation program, the Ocean Supercluster. As part of the Federal Government’s Supercluster initiative, a program to invest up to $950 million to create more than 50,000 jobs over ten years and grow Canada’s GDP by more than $50 billion.

Where BC has a Digital Technology Supercluster and Quebec an AI accelerator, Nova Scotia is logically building around their ocean history and industry, an industry consortium that spans the ocean economy, including fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, marine bio products, transportation, defence, marine renewables, and ocean technology.

Startup Hub

The province is a thriving hub of startup activity, well served by a number of VC and accelerator initiatives such as Build Ventures, Propel ICT and in particular Volta Labs. This tells the story of one of the keynote startup success stories of the province, founded and funded following the sale of local startup GoInstant to Salesforce.com for $70m by serial tech entrepreneur Jevon MacDonald.

New startups looking to swell this success and position Nova Scotia at the leading edge of tech innovations like the Blockchain include Groundhog and the Atlantic Blockchain Company.

Groundhog is an especially exciting venture – Identifying a niche segment within the crypto space, enabling recurring subscription payments. (EIP 1337 – Subscriptions on the Blockchain). E-Commerce merchants can switch this on simply through adding a few lines of code or installing a plugin.

This quick and simple overview just scratches the surface, but it demonstrates what a hotspot Nova Scotia is and offers to aspiring tech entrepreneurs, a wealth of opportunity combined with a unique quality of life.

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