Ottawa invested $200 million into helping small- and mid-sized enterprises turn technology into money yesterday.

Science and Technology Minister Gary Goodyear made the announcement at Acadian Seaplants in Dartmouth, a company that flourished with similar funding.

The federal government also handed $7.9 million to Atlantic Canada universities, including Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s.


“Canadians have always been innovators,” Goodyear said. “Our track record on getting those great ideas out of our minds and into our living rooms … could use improvement.”

The money will be funnelled through the National Research Institute’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to help 1,400 companies. Thirty-million dollars of the enterprise funding will go to helping businesses hire 1,000 post-secondary graduates.

The money is part of the Conservative government’s economic stimulus plan, and Goodyear said it was a nice change to bring good economic news.

“We need to encourage the growth of jobs just as Acadian Seaplants has grown jobs in Atlantic Canada and elsewhere,” he said.

Goodyear marked the “remarkable accomplishments” of the company with an Innovative Leader certificate.

Acadian Seaplant president Jean-Paul Deveau said IRAP support played a key role in turning the company into a global player. The Burnside firm developed a technique for cultivating seaweed in land-based tanks.

“We continue to grow because of the innovation that we have been able to move from the lab to the marketplace,” he said. “This is an example of how industry and government can work together to enhance Canada’s economy.”

Goodyear earlier announced $1.4 million to establish a new research chair at Saint Mary’s. Dalhousie will get $5.2 million for five renewed research chairs.

“These are in a variety of research areas. These are tier-one scientists,” Goodyear said.

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