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Our Story

The ONE Nova Scotia Coalition came together in 2014, at the request of the Government of Nova Scotia with a mandate to develop a 10-year plan to help achieve the ambitious goals set out in the report of the Commission on Building Our New Economy – commonly known as the Ivany Report.

  • The ONE Nova Scotia Coalition Collaborative Action Plan presents Action Points, including recommending “Nova Scotia Universities as Innovation Hubs”. The idea is to place universities at the centre of innovation “ecosystems”: a network of individuals and groups — post secondary institutions, entrepreneurs, incubators, governments, labs — that conduct and support innovative activity through research, product development, and more. As the only Atlantic Canadian member of the U15 - Canada’s group of leading research universities - Dalhousie University has a particularly crucial role to play as an Innovation Hub for our region.

  • The IDEA (Innovation in Design Engineering & Architecture) Project was conceptualized in 2008, arising from the need for a revitalization of Dalhousie’s downtown campus. The IDEA Project evolved under the lens of the ONE Nova Scotia Coalition, Nova Scotia’s participation in the MIT REAP program, and Dalhousie’s Strategic Priorities. The IDEA Project leverages the unique capabilities of Dalhousie and unites universities, the corporate sector, entrepreneurs, venture capital, and government into a coordinated network to advance Atlantic Canada’s innovation ecosystem. The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) from the Government of Canada further leveraged partner funding and the IDEA Project resulted in a $64-million revitalization of the downtown Sexton Campus putting research and innovation front and center.

  • Taking the IDEA Project a step further - and with a shared vision and commitment to create a Hub in response to the ONE NS Action Plan - Dalhousie is proud to have partnered with Emera, Micco Companies, and Clearwater to fill a critical gap supporting product based startups in Nova Scotia’s innovation ecosystem. The Emera ideaHUB is a strong response to the report, which included a call to action to increase new startups in the province; improve the youth unemployment rate; double business enterprise and university research and development partnerships; and improve venture capital investment. Dalhousie’s Emera ideaHUB will play an important role in meeting these key ONE NS Goals.


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Our Focus

The Emera ideaHUB focuses on supporting new products emerging from engineering and applied science research in areas such as ocean technology, clean energy and technology, advanced materials, food science, water resources, biomedical engineering, bio-products, deep software, artificial intelligence, the internet-of-things, cyber-security, as well as various other physical and cyber-physical products.

  • These startups are historically under-served and underfunded, leaving many breakthrough inventions stuck inside the lab. In the physical technology space, the path to commercialization is relatively long with many steps needed to take a scientific discovery through to market readiness. There are unique challenges in developing prototypes and minimum viable products (MVP) which benefit from a design and agile engineering approach to product development – in addition to access to specialized equipment, facilities, and expertise.

  • Capitalizing on the resources and strengths of Dalhousie University and Dal’s Faculty of Engineering, the objective of the Emera ideaHUB is to create and develop product-based startups and support small-and-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporate innovation teams, by providing support, guidance, access to space and equipment, as well as resources through an innovation community they might otherwise struggle to find on their own.

  • Know-how from engineering faculty and mentorship from successful entrepreneurs helps bridge the gap from lab to market and accelerates the growth of physical product based companies. At any given time, Dal’s Engineering students and faculty are helping more than 100 companies to solve operational problems - the Emera ideaHUB has expanded the capacity to do more. The Emera ideaHUB includes top-of-the-line shop, tools and workspaces to help students and faculty apply design and agile engineering skills and work in partnership with startups, SMEs, and industry to design and build prototypes.


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Our Vision

Emera ideaHUB infrastructure and programs are designed to support students, early stage startups, SMEs and industry, with a focus on the commercialization of physical products and innovative technologies. The Emera ideaHUB, located in the new Emera IDEA (Innovation in Design Engineering & Architecture) Building on Dalhousie’s downtown Sexton Campus, is designed to impact the long-term economic success of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic region.

  • Founded on a shared commitment between the private sector, post-secondary education and government to grow the NS economy.

  • Support of innovators will stimulate business startups and growth-orientated enterprises.  

  • Focus on innovative technology-based products will interest international markets and help to improve global competitiveness.

  • Forward thinking approach to community and industry partnerships will foster excellence in education and training, and promote entrepreneurship and skills development.

  • The Emera ideaHUB contributes to the economic impact of the region by developing the pipeline of physical product startups, providing opportunities for business development, population retention and growth. The Emera ideaHUB is a focal point for connecting entrepreneurs with the rich resources of the university and with other key actors in the Atlantic innovation ecosystem.