A tag-team effort to support local entrepreneurs

Jennifer Moore - August 28, 2014

Emerson Hawkins, engineer in training and part of the NSPDDC, speaks with Minister Samson. (Nick Pearce photo)

Last week, the Honourable Michel Samson, Nova Scotia Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, came to Dal’s Sexton Campus to mark the official opening of the Faculty of Engineering’s new centre: The Nova Scotia Product Design and Development Centre (NSPDDC).

The formulation of the NSPDDC is a result of merging two existing groups known as the Innovation in Design Lab (iDLab) and the Product Research and Design Group (PRDG). The groups serve a similar archetype but with slightly different skill sets and resources.

The Faculty of Engineering, with $85,000 in support from the province, has combined the two groups to maximize the efforts of each while continuing to support research and development in Nova Scotia and an innovation based economy.

"Finding ways to connect the private sector with the expertise and creativity of our universities will help make our businesses more competitive and profitable," said Michel Samson, minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. "This centre can help our young, ambitious engineers gain valuable connections to local businesses and our small businesses reach their highest potential."

The NSPDDC will provide entrepreneurs with innovative new technologies and will support local business. This partnership will bring expertise, experience and resources to small and medium sized Nova Scotia businesses, and will serve the product research, development and prototyping needs of Nova Scotia entrepreneurs.

Two such entrepreneurs were on-hand at the event. Colin Deacon, chief executive officer of BlueLight Analytics talked about the engineering design team’s work on checkMARC, a resin curing tool for dental practitioners invented by Dal Dentistry Professor Dr. Richard Price. As well, Steve Benison of Rubber Trails and Surfaces Canada Ltd in Upper Musquodoboit spoke to the several projects he’s worked on with Dal engineers, including a curb for running tracks that’s been accepted by the International Association of Athletics Federation for use in the Olympics.

"Manufacturing businesses in the Maritimes need to innovate to be far more efficient than our competitors who are closer to the larger, more affluent markets," said Steve Benison, Rubber Trails and Surfaces Canada Ltd.

The Nova Scotia Product Design and Development Centre is located on Sexton Campus at 1340 Barrington Street.


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