The Origin of the Nova Scotia Sandbox Project
The One NS Report underscored the importance of entrepreneurship and changing the way the Province does business.
An important outcome of Nova Scotia’s 2013 Innovation Summit was the identification of the need for very early stage supports to grow good ideas into potential business opportunities. This led to the creation of the pilot sandbox initiative. This was established as a three year pilot program. As part of the funding commitment, sandbox proponents will seek ways to ensure the sustainability of the initiative after the pilot is completed.
Sandboxes are collaborative collision spaces hosted by universities and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) that bring together students, mentors and external advisors to take business and social enterprise concepts from ideation to execution. They act as hubs and are designed to help leverage the human resource and research capacity in the province’s universities and colleges to create changes in knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA), and knowledge-based businesses or social enterprises, while also providing new educational opportunities for students.
Modelled after successful analogues at MIT, the University of Toronto (the Creative Destruction Lab), the University of Waterloo (Communitech) and Ryerson (Digital Media Zone), the focus of this initiative is to enable Nova Scotia to leverage and grow the province’s innovation ecosystem and help support entrepreneurs in understanding business and potentially create both start-ups and social enterprises. Nova Scotia’s sandboxes are at the pre-incubation level.
A central feature of these pilots has been their focus on encouraging and fueling the innovation ecosystem through efforts to boost entrepreneurship within universities and among a broad range of key stakeholders including students, young professionals, business and industry, among others.
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