As the Director of Strategic Partnerships at COVE, James Kesten is always looking for new ways to remove barriers for the commercialization of ocean technology.
And now, a new partnership between COVE and the UK’s national innovation agency is helping him do just that.
“For COVE, it’s really about growing our capability,” said Kesten.
COVE has partnered with Innovate UK for the delivery of their Global Incubator Program, which will provide the opportunity for eight innovative, high-growth and scaling businesses to build long-term relationships with a world-leading incubator, right here in Canada.
The five-month program includes participation at the H20 Conference – Canada’s premier event for the ocean technology sector – along with the opportunity for companies to demonstrate their technology offering to industry experts and prospective customers at COVE Demo Day.
The program will provide UK businesses with the chance to scale in Canada, secure opportunities, while also providing assistance with finding and recruiting local skilled workers.
Kesten says the program will be tailored to the businesses that are selected.
“We want to introduce them to the business ecosystem here, help companies build their local network, and find potential partnerships within our ecosystem,” said Kesten.
“We put together a framework for the program based on what we expect them to need, but we’re going to be building a very customized program.”
The programme is particularly relevant for businesses in the areas of aquaculture, fisheries, marine energy, marine environmental monitoring, marine net zero, marine observations, marine robotics, marine transportation and ocean plastics.
When all is complete, desks will be made available at COVE for half the companies for four months.
“We’re hoping they stay after that as well,” said Kesten. “For companies that are looking to set up shop here, they can get access to government programs that help them get established.”
Partnerships between COVE and Innovate UK, Kesten says, will go a long way with COVE’s longstanding efforts to grow Halifax’s ocean economy.
“By bringing these companies here, we’re hoping to have complimentary businesses that are helping to solve a problem, but can also fit into this cluster well and offer partnerships for companies that are here,” he said.
With that in mind, COVE is hoping run these types of programmes more often, with more places around the world, to create new partnerships with local tenants.
“It’s kind of an ideal place,” said Kesten. “With COVE’s access to talent, our in-water labs, machine shops, innovative tech like the Stella Maris, this program is an opportunity for companies looking to grow to get integrated into the ecosystem and to thrive.”