The region of Atlantic Canada came into being hundreds of years ago because of the access to the North American content and its riches, along with the bounty of the sea. For hundreds of years, fisheries were a vital part of the regional economy. Later came oil and gas. But a once thriving region, an economic powerhouse on the global stage, faltered and fizzled somewhat and languished for decades as trade routes changed, oil was easier elsewhere to extract and the fish stocks declined. This is about to change. A new age of prosperity is at hand once again for Atlantic Canada thanks to the ocean. Spearheading this economic revival is the COVE along with new approaches to our ocean resources.
This year, The COVE is opening it’s doors. And docks. And labs. It will be a first of its kind in Atlantic Canada and is a model that sets it apart on the global stage for the ocean technologies sector. COVE stands for Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship. It is a connection point for entrepreneurs creating ocean technologies and related services and investors.
COVE is a Platform and a Network
In today’s global economy where competition is fiercer than ever and standing out is harder, regions and industries in all sectors need to develop platforms and network. The COVE is a platform in that it becomes an industry enabler and a point of focus from which to support the sectors growth. Platforms then enable networks. Networks of people and companies, academia and opportunities. As an industry comes to life, it gains greater power when its ecosystem is networked and has a platform on which to grow. A foundation if you will.
Industries that build strong networks that support each other and foster connections are proven to be more successful in today’s global economy. One example is from the news media sector via The Washington Post. When Jeff Bezos bought them, they created a digital publishing platform called ARC Publishing. As more newspapers jump on the platform, they get network effects by contributing into the platform. Another example is iTunes. It is a platform for software developers and entertainment.
The New Digital Ocean Frontier
Across Atlantic Canada, each province is fostering the development of ocean technologies. These are also possible in large part due to the global communications infrastructure in place today. One of the largest data pipes from Europe connects into Halifax, there’s the Big Data Institute at Dalhousie University. UNB in New Brunswick has a heavy emphasis on analytics along with MUN in Newfoundland and Acadia in Nova Scotia.
Advances in sensor technologies and the satellite networks above are enabling entirely new ways to manage and foster our ocean resources. Yes, the COVE isn’t just an incubator, it is the focal point that underpins and the return of Atlantic Canada as a global centre for economic and scientific influence.