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Intersect Challenge to tackle dive industry solutions

Matt Swann, director of the Nova Scotia Power MakerSpace, demonstrates the SoldWorks design software found in the MakerSpace on Nepean Street, Sydney. Designs are created with the software and then the files transferred to other equipment on site. GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRETON POST
Matt Swann, director of the Nova Scotia Power MakerSpace, demonstrates the SoldWorks design software found in the MakerSpace on Nepean Street, Sydney. Designs are created with the software and then the files transferred to other equipment on site. GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRETON POST
SYDNEY, N.S. —

As one of the first dive shops to ever to open in Cape Breton continues its penchant for innovation, its transitioning to inshore diving and marine services has developed a need for equipment to match the growing and ever-changing nature of its work.

This is one of the reasons why Commercial Diving and Marine Services Atlantic, formerly known as Scuba Tech, partnered with Innovacorp and the Nova Scotia Power MakerSpace for the fourth edition of the Intersect Challenge.

“It’s not a registered trade, but when it comes to commercial diving as an industry, it is relatively new as compared to welding or electrical so the equipment is still evolving,” said Kensen Jardine, owner and operator of CDMS.

“Our understanding of commercial diving is still evolving so the equipment is still evolving. That’s basically where this challenge came from.”

Bob Pelley, Innovacorp's regional manager for Cape Breton, said each edition of Intersect sees them partner with an organization that had a challenge that needed to be solved.

Teams from the public are provided details on an issue and asked to create a product and a company that offers a solution that can be used by the partner company in the challenge and, potentially, others around the world.

New companies are created through the process and the partner organization agrees to become their first client.

The winning pitch this time gets $10,000 and business support and access to the Nova Scotia Power Makerspace.


Intersect Challenge

  • Promotes the intersection of established businesses and entrepreneurship.
  • The business provides a problem they need solved.
  • Pitch your solution to solve it. 
  • Launch Thursday, Feb. 13, 6-8 p.m. at MakerSpace on Nepean Street, Sydney.
  • Application deadline is Feb. 26.
  • Live judging on March 30.
  • Winner gets $10,000 and business support and access to the Nova Scotia Power Makerspace.
  • RSVP to Holly Chisholm at hchisholm@innovacorp.ca to attend.

Past winners have included Tracker Inventory, which is now providing services to laundry facilities and hotels in New Brunswick and investigating opportunities in the fishing industry. It also won the recent Spark Nova Scotia Challenge.

Check-in Analytics was also a winner in a challenge that partnered with Destination Cape Breton with a goal of realtime measurement of room nights. That company is doing well in the market and testing a new product to assist other challenges faced by hotel operators and tourism associations.

While previous Intersect Challenges resulted in the launch of companies with IT-related interests, this one will look to create a physical product or products.

“We have been wanting to do a design challenge in the MakerSpace so we decided to merge the two concepts,” Pelley said.

“It’s targeted at commercial divers but we know there will be other opportunities for recreational divers and other water enthusiasts — whether it is snorkelling or a wide variety of applications in other areas.”

Most aspects of MakerSpace from software to hardware, are expected to be showcased during the challenge, a prospect that pleases Matt Swann, director of the Nova Scotia Power MakerSpace.

“What we want to get people sort of aware of is the fact that the MakerSpace is not just a place to play, it’s not just a place to learn, but it is actually a place to launch businesses,” Swann said.

“You can really make use of this place to get new things started.”

Jardine said the diving industry is one with room to grow, so he’s keen on seeing potential products that come from the challenge.

“That’d be the ultimate goal, to try and do something for divers everywhere,” he said.

Details on the challenge will be provided during its launch party Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the MakerSpace on Nepean Street, Sydney. The launch will be recorded for later playback for those who cannot attend.

Application deadline is Feb. 26, while live judging and the winner will be announced on March 30.

To attend, RSVP to Holly Chisholm at hchisholm@innovacorp.ca.

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