The Spark Innovation Challenge, a popular startup competition, is expanding across the province with significantly more funding available to support innovation. New technology companies across Nova Scotia will have the chance to compete for up to $50,000 in funding, as well as mentorship from seasoned business professionals. MLA Brendan Maguire, on behalf of Minister of Business Geoff MacLellan, announced a contribution of $400,000 to the Spark Innovation Challenge in Stellarton today, Aug. 28. “Our long-term economic success depends on creating a culture of innovation and collaboration,” said Mr. Maguire. “The entrepreneurs that participate in the Spark Innovation Challenge will gain valuable business skills and create jobs for other Nova Scotians.” Innovacorp will manage the competitions. Judging committees will consider the quality of each business idea, its economic potential and the company’s plan to get it to market.Four Spark competitions will be held this fall, covering every region of the province. Competitions have been held in Cape Breton since 2014. A competition also took place in western Nova Scotia in 2016. “It will be great to see more entrepreneurs participating in Spark,” said Matt Stewart, co-founder and CEO of Click2Order, a winner of the 2014 Spark Cape Breton competition. “The money and advice we received from Spark was the boost we needed to build a company and launch a product.””Spark has already helped 33 companies in Cape Breton and western Nova Scotia get started, so we’re excited to be expanding the competition to other parts of the province,” said Stephen Duff, president and CEO of Innovacorp. The Government of Canada is also contributing $400,000 to Spark through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Business Development Program. “Research, talent, imagination and determination are some of the essential ingredients required to spark innovation and economic growth,” said Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science. “Today’s investment reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to supporting promising entrepreneurs who are eager to bring their vision to market. I encourage aspiring business leaders to apply for the Spark Innovation Challenge as it ignites across Nova Scotia.” Innovacorp is accepting applications for the Spark Innovation Challenge until Sept. 21. For more information, visit www.innovacorp.ca/spark .