Funding Innovation in Cape Breton

Friday was the end of RRSP season, and the last day to invest in New Dawn’s CEDIF offering for 2013.

CEDIF stands for Community Economic Development Investment Fund. It’s a way for people to invest their RRSP savings in local economic development projects, rather than stocks and bonds elsewhere.

After all, what happens to the average RRSP dollar after it gets sent to a bank on Toronto’s Bay Street? It travels around the world — from Texas oil to Alberta tar sands, from pharmaceuticals to tobacco to weapons manufacturers — more or less leaving a path of environmental, social and world economic destruction.

Anyway, where was I.

This year New Dawn launched the New Dawn Innovation Fund. It gives RRSP-investors in Nova Scotia the opportunity to invest in local, export-oriented, innovation companies. The goal is $1.6 million. The money raised is being invested in three companies:

  • MediaSparkaward-winning educational software development and publishing company. Their soon-to-be-released “GoVenture World” educational global business game was recently selected as one of the 50 brightest new startups in the world.
  • Advanced Glazings: designer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art daylighting glass, including a product line which offers R18 insulation value — the best insulating commercially-available glass product in the world.
  • Marcato Digital: developer of web-based planning and logistics software for music festivals. Their products are currently in use by world-renowned events such as the Celtic Colours International Festival locally, JunoFest in Canada, Berlin Music Week in Germany, and the Life is Good Festival in the United States.

(In 2012, $1.5 million was raised through the New Dawn Community Investment Fund CEDIF. Those monies were invested in Protocase, a manufacturer of custom enclosures for electronic prototypes.)

All four tech companies are Cape Breton success stories. Their founders and CEO’s — Mathew Georghiou of MediaSpark, Doug Milburn of Advanced Glazings, Darren Gallop and Morgan Currie of Marcato, Steve Lilley of Protocase — choose to live and work in Cape Breton because of the quality of life. And while starting a business here is hard, they’ve managed, at times against all odds, to create stable incomes for themselves, and pay good wages to staffs of highly skilled workers. And now they’re growing.

Cheers and congrats to all!