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Ignition Fund helps fuel 10 P.E.I. businesses

Business news. – 123RF Stock Photo

The province has helped fuel entrepreneur Chelsey Lake’s business as a digital marketing strategist, designer and developer.

Lake is one of 10 recipients who received a $25,000 grant through P.E.I.’s Ignition Fund.

The money will enable the owner of Lake Designs and Strategies to offer small businesses scheduling and ticketing services for their websites.

“Successfully securing an Ignition Fund grant has been pivotal in propelling our business forward,” said Lake.

“Our booking software will enable small businesses to have an affordable, modern solution to appointment booking that will improve sales and decrease no shows. With the financial support from the Ignition Fund, we are better situated for success when we enter the market in the coming months.”

The other Ignition Fund recipients are Chow Time Pet Foods Inc., Innovation for Lawyers Inc., TopFeed Industries, Common Man Seafood & Microcannery, Van Kampen’s Greenhouses, Au Naturel Solutions, Scout, Camp Awesome and an animal health company for the enhanced management of livestock.

“The key to entrepreneurial success is the drive of the individual and the strength of their idea,” said Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture Matthew MacKay. “As a former entrepreneur myself, I recognize the importance of government supporting small businesses because that drive and those ideas represent the future of our provincial economy.”

This is the sixth year for the Ignition Fund, which supports entrepreneurs across the Island with start-up and expansion funding. To qualify, applicants must be start-up businesses and entrepreneurs who are committed to establishing and operating a new business in this province. The products or services must be innovative and have the potential to be sold outside of Prince Edward Island.

Since the Ignition Fund launched in 2014, the program has funded 58 companies.

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A Quest for a lighter bike turned into a business for P.E.I. man

Moun­tain biker Pa­trick Chev­erie, left, dis­cusses his ride with me­chanic Ge­off Mur­ray at the Mark Arendz pro­vin­cial park re­cently. – Alison Jenkins

Is­land busi­ness­man Chris LeClair adds to grow­ing fat bike mar­ket with car­bon frame of­fer­ing

BROOKVALE, P.E.I. — 

When Chris LeClair got into cycling in 2016, he was hooked. After spending the summer in the saddle, he tried the new winter trend – fat biking.

With extra-wide tires and metal frames, fat bikes roll easily over groomed trails all winter.

LeClair gave it a try and, like most who hop onto one, he enjoyed the fat bike experience. But he wished the bike was lighter.

“Let’s see if we can do a custom carbon,” he said. “It began as a hobby and a passion and it sort of turned into a business.”

And Quest Carbon Bikes was begun.

 

One year in, LeClair and mechanic Geoff Murray are under a tent at the Mark Arendz provincial park in Brookvale on Sunday. Several examples of LeClair’s dream come true are on display, on repair stands or out in the woods.

Even though the October day was overcast with a north wind to keep the air chilly, there was a line-up to try P.E.I.’s newest bike brand at the Quest demo day.

Patrick Cheverie usually rides a full-suspension 29er mountain bike but was pleasantly surprised with his first fat bike ride.

“Surprisingly competent for a rigid bike. Heaps of grip,” said Cheverie, after he hopped off a red Quest Tikaani.

Ian McGrath and Tammy Banfield were on the Island from Halifax for a day of mountain biking on Brookvale’s extensive trail system. McGrath was already a fan of his own fat bike, so Banfield took advantage of the demo to try a blue QUEST Saghari.

Ian McGrath lets the air out of and Tammy Banfield’s test ride – a Quest Saghari. The two were on the Island from Halifax for a day of mountain biking on Brookvale’s extensive trail system.

“It feels a lot like my bike. I’m surprised how maneuverable it was,” said Banfield.

“Everyone expects them to be like a monster truck,” said McGrath.

“It’s impressive how light they are considering how big they seem,” said Banfield.

Bikes range from $2,200 to $4,000, which is 35 to 40 per cent less than comparable bikes from larger brands.

But riders aren’t sacrificing quality.

One red Tikaani fat bike on demo had carbon wheels, disc brakes, studded tires and a Shimano Deore 1×10 drive train. Weighing in at 23 pounds, it sells for $2,999.

To date, LeClair has sold 10 bikes.

“We’re really just getting going,” said LeClair.

First, LeClair and business partner, Peter Wen, traveled to 10 factories in China to suss out the best supplier.

LeClair built up several prototypes and got feedback from local riders before settling on the best one.

Now, while frames are shipped from China, most of the components are purchased within Canada from Shimano, RaceFace and HLC.

Several Island workers and entrepreneurs are involved in the company so far. Two bike builders, a social media and marketing person, a designer and photographer have contributed to the Quest quest.

“Biking generally is referred to as soft adventure tourism and it’s growing,” said LeClair.

“The number of people who are coming off the road to try mountain biking and, increasingly, to try fat biking, it’s remarkable. P.E.I. is getting a reputation as a really, really popular destination. So, it kind of combines to make this a good launching pad.”

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Summerside’s StandardAero signs 15-year deal with Florida-based company

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — 

StandardAero has signed a new contract to maintain aircraft engines for Silver Airways and some of that work will be done in the Summerside. 

The exclusive contract will result in Standard Aero servicing Silver Airways fleet of new ATR-600 regional turboprop engines. The Summerside facility will provide overhaul-level support. 

The deal also means Silver Airways will benefit from access to Standard Aero’s North American network of services centre and mobile repair teams. 

Steve Rossum, Chief Executive Officer of Silver Airways, welcomed the deal. 

“We are most pleased to enter into a long-term cooperative engine maintenance partnership with StandardAero, a global world-class repair and overhaul provider that will ensure best-in-class operational performance.”

The service agreement will provide 15 years of work for the StandardAero team, added Roger Ross, president, airlines and fleets for StandardAero. 

“We are excited to be part of Silver’s success story and look forward to meeting and exceeding the airline’s expectations for on-time support.”

Silver Airways’ main route hubs are centred in Florida’s Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa. The company services regional routes mostly in the southeastern U.S. and the Caribbean. 

StandardAero employs almost 6,000 people around the world, a little more than 500 of whom work out of the company’s hub in Summerside’s Slemon Park.

 

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Business connects P.E.I. residents with energy efficiency

Matt Eye of M.B. Eye Electrical enjoys connecting with people to come up with innovative energy solutions. – Contributed

For businessman Matt Eye, it’s about connecting with people. 

His company, M.B. Eye Electrical of Charlottetown, operates under the slogan: “Innovative Electrical Solutions”.

Thanks to Island programs to help lower-income residents save money on their energy bills, Eye has lots of chances to connect with customers. 

“If I were just a regular electrician wiring houses, putting in lights, plugs and oil furnace thermostats, I don’t feel like I would be where I am today,” he said. “I like a challenge. I get bored pretty easily.” 

The P.E.I. government set up a new Winter Warming program in its 2017 energy plan to cover the costs of modest energy efficiency upgrades to homes or apartments owned or rented by qualifying islanders. 

Under this program, certified tradespersons like Eye seal up homes with caulking and install energy-efficient products such as programmable thermostats and LED bulbs.

“I think the rebate and incentive programs for low-income households are huge. Here in P.E.I. there are a lot of people unemployed, there are a lot of people struggling. I have three kids myself, so I know what it takes to run a household,” said Eye, whose firm has used EfficiencyPEI rebates on heat pump installations for low-income households, in addition to providing solar energy and energy efficiency consulting.

“For the government to step up and help out in these situations is fantastic, because if someone is struggling to pay an oil bill, they can’t afford a ten thousand dollar retrofit to upgrade their system one hundred percent, but something like a heat pump gives them a great opportunity to save substantially with what they have,” he added.

Climate is a top-of-mind issue for many Canadians and energy efficiency is estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to be 40 per cent of the solution to meeting the global Paris targets.

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Summerside wind turbine damaged by Dorian back online this week

Summerside Electric hopes to have the second of two wind turbines damaged by post-tropical storm Dorian back online later this week. It suffered a crack in one of its blades and had to be removed so repairs could be made. – Colin MacLean
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — 

Summerside Electric expects its wind farm to be fully operational again sometime this week.

The City of Summerside-owned utility suffered damage to two of its four wind turbines when post-tropical storm Dorian swept through the province on Sept. 7 and 8.

One turbine suffered a broken transformer. A special crane had to be brought in to help replace the equipment. It was brought back online around Oct. 14.

A second turbine required more extensive repairs as one of its three massive blades cracked.

Greg Gaudet, director of municipal services for the city, said it was determined that the blade did not have to be replaced, so it was removed, repaired over several days and reinstalled this past weekend. It is expected to be back online this week.

Gaudet said he’d hoped to have the second turbine back online sooner, but the special crane needed to do the work is in high-demand and was unavailable until now. There was also more bad weather in the interim that delayed repairs.

The cost to repair the damage is in excess of $150,000. The city is working with its insurer to determine whether the repairs and any potential lost revenue for the utility will be covered.

Original Story: Click Here

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Charlottetown’s own ScreenScape Number 2 On Atlantic Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Charlottetown’s own ScreenScape Number 2

On Atlantic Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

 

Canada’s eastern seaboard is home to some of the country’s most dynamic and successful firms, and the Atlantic Canadian companies

on the 2017 PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies are proof.

The five Atlantic Canadian firms on this year’s ranking grew their revenues an average of 376% between 2011 and 2016.

Collectively they employed 236 full time-equivalent employees in 2016.

Here is the complete list of Atlantic Canada’s fastest-growing companies for 2017.

1. Supplement King Canada
PROFIT 500: No. 85
Growth (2011–2016): 856%
Revenue (2016): $5–10 million
Headquarters: Dartmouth, N.S.
What it does: Franchises a chain of stores selling health and fitness supplements

2. ScreenScape
PROFIT 500: No. 118
Growth (2011–2016): 591%
Revenue (2016): $2–5 million
Headquarters: Charlottetown, P.E.I.
What it does: Develops web-based software that controls digital displays

3. World Link Food Distributors
PROFIT 500: No. 272
Growth (2011–2016): 220%
Revenue (2016): $50–100 million
Headquarters: Goffs, N.S.
What it does: Sells seafood products from Atlantic Canada to wholesalers and retailers

4. Premiere Mortgage Centre
PROFIT 500: No. 382
Growth (2011–2016): 131%
Revenue (2016): $10–20 million
Headquarters: Halifax, N.S.
What it does: Brokers mortgages for home buyers and commercial clients

5. PQA (Professional Quality Assurance)
PROFIT 500: No. 481
Growth (2011–2016): 83%
Revenue (2016): $10–20 million
Headquarters: Fredericton, N.B.
What it does: Provides software testing and quality assurance consulting

Original Article http://www.canadianbusiness.com/lists-and-rankings/profit-500/2017-atlantic-canada-fastest-growing-companies/?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BkA%2BSsdKjS8KAMPt1EvbajA%3D%3D

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SpryPoint, featured in high profile, US based utilities publication

Homegrown software company SpryPoint, featured

in high profile, US based utilities publication

Keir Pollard. President of Charlottetown based SpryPoint recently spoke with UMC (Utility Market Connections)

a well-known US based utilities publication.

Here is an excerpt from that interview, check out the entire interview by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

 

UMC: Give me a little background history on SpryPoint. How was the company founded and what are the origins of its name?

Keir Pollard: I had been working in the utility industry with mainframe and client-server software for over a decade both in

home-grown systems and packaged ERP platforms. I saw a lot of unproductive work and stagnation in developing and delivering

software and a lot more frustration from users that work with applications on a daily basis. By 2011, one could see the revolutionary

successes of the first generations of true cloud-based software, and it was clear that this was the path to frictionless application

delivery. This was also six months after the release of the iPad. When I got my hands on a first-generation iPad, I said

“This is how I want to work!” A few months later, I founded SpryPoint and immersed myself in the craft of enterprise web

development. Since then, we have built up a talented and productive development shop and support organization.

Our senior management team has over 40 years of experience in development, sales and implementation of enterprise utility solutions.

There is an interesting backstory to how we came up with the SpryPoint name.  We are headquartered in Prince Edward Island,

which on the east coast of Canada and is known for its 800 miles of coastline, beautiful beaches and brutal winters. We wanted

our brand to have a connection to our home province and also reflect our agile approach to solution delivery and customer service.

There is a small community on the coast of PEI by the name of Spry Point which is well known for the “PEI Ark” which was a

research facility for sustainable energy that was built in the wake of the 1970s-energy crisis. The name felt like it fit with the

energy, agility, and purpose that we bring to work each day.  

UMC: What is the company culture like at Sprypoint?

Keir Pollard: I’m a firm believer that if you are not enjoying what you are doing, you should be doing something else.

I truly enjoy the craft of software development, and know from experience some of the things that make for productive and

enjoyable development environment. A peaceful office, a supportive team, great equipment and productive development

toolsets are the first part. The second part is a well-rested mind. Although we are a small company and we know that the work

we are doing really matters to people in the real world, we encourage our team to work regular work hours, then go home.

In order to build great software, you really need to take time to recharge and spend time with family, play sports, or do

whatever drives you. We work hard the whole time we are in the office, then leave it alone and attack it again the next day.

While we are a group of passionate web and mobile developers, you will find no Nerf cannons or video game consoles in our office.  

Full Story Here

 

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IT conference gets $8K boost from P.E.I. government

Conference is a ‘tremendous learning and networking opportunity

for industry professionals’

Northeast PHP 2017 conference chair Peter MacIntyre (left) and conference participant Lincoln Maskey discuss plans for this year's event.

Northeast PHP 2017 conference chair Peter MacIntyre (left) and conference participant Lincoln Maskey discuss plans for this year’s event. (CBC)

The government of P.E.I. has given a $8,000 grant to Northeast PHP 2017 — a major IT conference being hosted

in Charlottetown from Aug. 9 to 11.

The Rodd Charlottetown will host the IT conference, marking the second consecutive year that Northeast PHP has

been hosted on the province. 

“Northeast PHP 2017 gives increased profile to the industry here and that may attract new start ups or business

expansions to our province,” said Lincoln Maskey, a senior software engineer with iWave Information Systems an a

conference participant in a government news release.

“Beyond that, this is a tremendous learning and networking opportunity for industry professionals on the Island and

one that will pay dividends for the IT sector.” 

Building on last year’s success

The government of P.E.I said the IT sector contributes roughly $200 million annually to to the provincial economy

and employs over 1,800 people.

“We had an amazing response from the many presenters and delegates who came to Charlottetown last year for the

2016 edition of the conference,” said conference organized Peter MacIntyre.

“This year we are trying to build on that success.”

Original Source http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-it-conference-grant-1.4229135?lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BuCNylggvRDe%2BIdWzfWWDEg%3D%3D