Entrepreneurship Centre helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into job-creating businesses

News release

Acadia University-based centre nurtures rural Nova Scotia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

August 26, 2019 – Wolfville, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Giving entrepreneurs access to reliable resources and the expertise they need to develop their skills enables them to create new small businesses and jobs for Atlantic Canadians. That is why the Government of Canada is supporting the Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre (AEC) to continue its work delivering essential advisory, training, innovation and incubation programming to hundreds of seasoned and first-time entrepreneurs.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced new Government of Canada support for the AEC.

AEC is undertaking two new pilot projects this upcoming academic year, including a formalized partnership to attract youth and entrepreneurs into the fields of computer science, digital creativity and technology. AEC will also pilot two five-day intensive and immersive workshops for 10 entrepreneurial teams to test prototype designs and find market solutions to grow their business ideas. These projects will help small and medium sized enterprises to thrive, stimulating the regional economy and contributing to a vibrant Nova Scotia business community.

The Government of Canada is making smart investments that will help develop and harness the talents of Atlantic Canadians in both rural and urban areas to create good, middle class jobs in our country. The Government of Canada is putting the Atlantic Growth Strategy into action by investing in innovation and the development of a skilled workforce to achieve its goal of long-term economic prosperity. The Province of Nova Scotia also contributed to this project.


“Ensuring Canadians have the chance to explore their ideas, build career skills, gain invaluable experience and forge the connections that help them create great jobs is so important. By working with top academic institutions across Canada, our government is not just investing in Canadian innovation and business development, we are investing in our future.”

-     The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are what’s needed to move our province forward. Creating the conditions for opportunity, growth and social well-being will give youth the tools to succeed and grow here at home. Investing in programs like sandboxes help young people find courage and confidence in themselves and in the future of this province.

-        The Honourable Leo Glavine, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, on behalf of Premier Stephen McNeil

“Over the last 30 years, we’ve helped support and counsel entrepreneurs and business people to launch ideas and businesses in the Annapolis Valley and in South West Nova. With this increase in our core funding, we’re able to increase our support, broaden our reach into the community and connect people with the tools, skills and support they need to help strengthen the innovation ecosystem in rural Nova Scotia.”

-        Craig Collins, Chair, Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada invested $373,470 in this project through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program. The Province of Nova Scotia also provided $100,000 towards the LaunchBox at Acadia University.

  • The AEC plays a key role in managing and implementing activities of Acadia University’s sandbox, the LaunchBox. The LaunchBox supports students in their entrepreneurial pursuits by providing free programming, networking, access to mentors and other entrepreneurs, working space, competitions and this year’s latest addition, the Business Innovation Lab.

  • The AEC also manages the Rural Innovation Centre (RIC) in Patterson Hall at Acadia University, which acts as an incubator for new start-ups and hosts sector development organizations including the Acadia Tidal Energy Institute, the Atlantic Wine Institute, and the Acadia Institute for Data Analytics. 

  • Through its formal partnership with Refresh Annapolis Valley, AEC will provide workshop space, program development and delivery assistance, promotion and educational resources as well as supplies.

  • AEC will also introduce new Business Innovation Labs, which will support budding entrepreneurs to test prototypes or solve business challenges in an intensive five-day workshop.

  • This project will help AEC to engage 150 new and 150 existing entrepreneurial clients, supporting the generation of 40 new start-ups, creating 44 new jobs and sustaining 80 positions.

  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystems stream of the REGI program supports the creation and growth of inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs and fosters an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness.


Dani Keenan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Chris Brooks
Director, Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)

Shannon Kerr
Province of Nova Scotia
Department of Labour and Advanced Education
902-717-6061 (cell)

Leanne Strathdee
Manager, Innovation and Incubation
Acadia Entrepreneurship Centre
Acadia University
902-585-1743 / 902-471-4549 (cell)

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