BioNovations is one of dozens of Nova Scotia businesses that will have help to partner with universities and colleges to develop, design and test new and innovative products. The Université Sainte-Anne’s Marine Research Centre will conduct more research and development on the Antigonish-based company’s live seafood holding and transportation system, with funding from the province. The province awarded vouchers to 46 businesses from across Nova Scotia to help them become more innovative and productive. “Now more than ever, Nova Scotia must embrace innovation and support growth to help get our people and businesses ready to take advantage of future opportunities,” said Maurice Smith, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, on behalf of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris. “That’s why this government is helping small companies in all regions of the province grow their business and improve their products.” The Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program first-tier vouchers provide up to $15,000 for applied research, engineering services, prototyping, product design, field-testing and other help from Nova Scotia’s academic institutions. The province has awarded first tier vouchers to 32 businesses this year. Fourteen previous recipients will receive a second-tier voucher, worth up to $25,000, to build on their progress. This year, the province increased program funding to $900,000 from $650,000, and added the second-tier vouchers after a successful pilot project last year. “With our first voucher, we worked with Université Sainte Anne to develop a prototype and do trials,” said Joe Boudreau, president of BioNovations. “With the second one, we’ll work on improving the design, based on what we learned and do more trials with various species. Ultimately, this will allow the export of live Atlantic Canadian seafood around the world.” During the past five years, nearly 200 businesses, from industrial and commercial manufacturing to information and communications technologies, life sciences and agri-foods, have received vouchers. Participating universities and colleges are Dalhousie, including the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Acadia, Cape Breton, Mount Saint Vincent, Saint Mary’s and St. Francis Xavier universities, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Nova Scotia Community College and Université Sainte-Anne. “Through the province’s Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program, Université Sainte-Anne is very pleased to support innovative private sector initiatives by means of our Marine Research Centre and CDENE’s University Business Development Centre,” said Allister Surette, president and vice-chancellor of Université Sainte-Anne. “Our centres assist local business in moving new, high-value products, processes or services to market, and we greatly value our role in this process.” Applications were submitted and reviewed, based on criteria including potential to develop a new value-added product, service or process, and productivity and innovation gains for the business. For more information on the voucher program, visit www.gov.ns.ca/econ/pnivouchers/.