New supercluster project will kick-start marine economy start-ups in Atlantic Canada

News release

Ecosystem development project seeks to establish the Atlantic region as a hotbed for ocean technology companies

February 21, 2020 – St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Government of Canada is committed to growing the economy, creating middle-class jobs and keeping Canada competitive. That is why the Government introduced the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, which brings together small, medium-sized and large companies, academic institutions, and not-for-profit organizations to serve as anchors of innovation, growth and job creation across the country.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced a new project in the Atlantic region to foster the creation and growth of ocean technology companies. The Ocean Supercluster has brought together six partner organizations for this ecosystem development project: Creative Destruction Lab, Genesis, Innovacorp, New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, PEI BioAlliance and Springboard Atlantic.

The Ocean Startup Project is designed to support the development of ocean technology start-ups and increase the industrial use of marine technologies. This innovative project will address talent challenges by growing the ocean workforce and helping new businesses hire employees with the necessary skill sets. In addition, the project will encourage the participation of under-represented groups, such as women and Indigenous people, in this vital economic sector.

This project is expected to help revive rural and small communities in the Atlantic region, bringing entrepreneurial opportunities to regions that have, in many cases, been largely driven by traditional ocean industries in the past. With “engage cafés” planned in Corner Brook, Cape Breton, Shippagan and Yarmouth, the project will lay the foundation for game-changing ocean innovation in the region.


“This new project is a clear sign that the Ocean Supercluster is growing momentum, and establishing itself as a hotbed for innovation and collaboration. With the longest coastline and the fourth largest ocean territory in the world, this project has the potential to increase the number of ocean-focused startups in Canada, helping companies grow and creating new, middle class jobs.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“One of our strongest economic drivers here in St. John’s and in Atlantic Canada is our ocean and marine sector. By supporting accelerator and incubation programs, I see this project helping to bridge the technology gap that has long hampered the ocean economy in areas like offshore oil and gas, shipping and seafood.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources

“More than half of Canada’s $30-billion ocean economy is anchored in Atlantic Canada as the region’s ocean industries account for more than one in every three ocean-related jobs in the country. This project is a great example of how our government has the backs of local incubators and accelerators that are coming together to strengthen the region’s blue economy start-ups and scale-ups. Atlantic Canada’s history grew from the ocean; its future will be built on it.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

“The Ocean Startup Project represents an unprecedented collaboration and investment to grow more ocean companies in Atlantic Canada. This is an incredibly important part of building capacity, expanding our capabilities, and setting ourselves up for success as we embark on what we know will become a $3 trillion global ocean opportunity by 2030.”
– Kendra MacDonald, CEO, Ocean Supercluster

Quick facts

  • This project represents a total investment of up to $6.8 million, including over $4.4 million from the Government of Canada ($3.9 million from the Innovation Superclusters Initiative and $535,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) and $2.4 million in contributions from provincial governments and other partners.

  • The supercluster announced its first project last June, kicking off a technology venture that will bring seafloor mapping to industries and researchers.

  • The Ocean Supercluster is expected to create over 3,000 jobs and contribute more than $14 billion to Canada’s economy over 10 years.

Associated links


Ian Cameron
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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