University and community college researchers who want to turn their ideas into successful products and services could get a boost from a provincial early stage funding program.

The Early Stage Commercialization Fund will help move the selected projects towards commercialization. Nova Scotia researchers are encouraged to submit project proposals to the Innovacorp-managed program.

"There's commercially promising research happening at post-secondary institutions across Nova Scotia," said Stephen Hartlen, Innovacorp's vice-president of mentoring. "This initiative encourages researchers to pursue entrepreneurial and market opportunities from their research."

The Office of Economic Development is contributing $150,000 to this year's fund, which helps fill the gap at the beginning of commercialization, when researchers need to prove their concepts to attract funding. The money is typically used for prototype development, market assessments, strategy development, business plans, and forging ties to the private sector.

Last year, 16 projects were funded from seven post-secondary institutions. They included a unit for neonatal procedures outside a standard incubator; soil-gas measurement equipment; and emergency response simulation.

The money from the fund is combined with funds from the participating school. Winning projects are awarded an average of $10,000. While researchers' needs vary, many need minimal funding to get a project with commercial potential off the ground.

Innovacorp reviews the competing applications, conducts due diligence, and chooses the winners. In addition to funding, Innovacorp gives the researchers business guidance customized to address their challenges.

"Being awarded an Early Stage Commercialization Fund last year was a big boost for my research," said David Risk of the St. Francis Xavier Environmental Sciences Research Centre. "The funding itself was helpful in advancing our work towards commercialization, and the business advice we received from Innovacorp was extremely valuable."

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Innovacorp helps promising early stage Nova Scotia companies commercialize their technologies and succeed in the global marketplace. The organization's High Performance Incubation (HPi)™ business model is recognized locally, and internationally, as a best practice technology commercialization approach. The model uses three interwoven resources - incubation infrastructure, business mentoring and seed/venture capital investment - to help entrepreneurs overcome traditional hurdles to business growth.

For more information, please contact:
Dawn House
902.424.8670 ext. 1189
Cell: 902.456.9705

Halifax, Nova Scotia, December 13, 2006