'Sandboxes' bring students, innovators and industry together
BIBLE HILL – A new partnership between Dalhousie's Agricultural Campus and Acadia University will offer support to innovative Nova Scotian entrepreneurs.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced the creation of four “sandboxes” across the province, including one in the local area, to create places where people can experiment with new ideas and access business mentors, investors and other support. The province will provide each sandbox with $150,000 per year for up to three years. Sandboxes are then expected to sustain themselves.
“Nova Scotians have what it takes to come together, be more creative, and take more chances, and sandboxes will help with all of those things,” said McNeil, in a news release. “Encouraging innovation is fundamental to the change our province needs, and Nova Scotia’s first sandboxes will be a great addition to innovation and entrepreneurship in our province and beyond.”
The “sandboxes” are based on successful approaches used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Waterloo. Guitar Hero and the E-ink used for Kindle and Kobo e-readers were conceived in the MIT Media Lab.
Universities, the Nova Scotia Community College and the province have come together to create four sandboxes here where students, innovators and industry can develop new ideas that could become businesses.
The Nova Scotia Agriculture Sandbox will connect with local chambers of commerce and the Perennia Innovation Centre in Bible Hill. It will support innovation in modern agriculture, a high-technology industry that requires expertise in areas from bio-technology to precision engineering to computer and environmental sciences.
Other sandboxes announced are:
- Island Sandbox: Cape Breton University and NSCC Marconi Campus
- Community Sandbox: Saint Mary's University, NSCAD University, and Mount Saint Vincent University
- ICT Sandbox: Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University, NSCAD University and Volta Labs
Each sandbox will offer a combination of academic programming and entrepreneurial, professional and management resources.
Group ATN consultants have been hired as project managers and will oversee the sandboxes’ development and management. They will also help design competitions to recognize the most promising sandbox ideas.