Halifax-based innovation hub Volta has unveiled the five winners of this year’s Ecosystem Impact Awards.
Announced during the fourth installment of the event, the 2022 Ecosystem Impact Awards recipients were the Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub, Milk Moovement, Impactful Health Research and Development, entrepreneur and investor Dhirendra Shukla, as well as SVX catalyst project director and Dalhousie University tech lecturer Akram Al-Otumi.
The Ecosystem Impact Awards were launched in 2019 as a partnership between the Royal Bank of Canada and Volta to give recognition to notable people and groups that are “rapidly transforming the startup ecosystem in Atlantic Canada.”
The award categories are: Catalyst, Community Leader, Disruptor, and Positive Impact, which is given to one company and an individual.
Recipients were selected by a panel of judges comprising regional business and educational leaders.
The Catalyst award recognizes an organization that has helped create cohesion and growth in the Atlantic Canadian startup space. This can include building relationships between organizations, supporting growth in the community, and reducing or removing barriers to startups’ success.
The Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub received the Catalyst award this year for the role it plays in creating opportunities for researchers, partners, and investors to develop and commercialize new solutions that improve healthcare.
Shukla received the Community Leader award, which celebrates a company or founder directly impacting the growth of Atlantic Canada’s tech and innovation sector. Candidates nominated for this category demonstrate dedication to the startup community, and give back through the donation of time and mentorship.
With almost three decades of experience in technology, Shukla’s career has taken him from being an engineer, a professor at the University of New Brunswick, an entrepreneur, investor, and most recently, an advisory board member at Harvard University’s Lemann Program on Creativity and Entrepreneurship.
For experiencing significant success over the past year, Milk Moovement was crowned with the Disruptor Award. Volta said “success” can be measured in a number of ways, such as innovative technology, disruption of a service or market, ability to obtain traction in the international marketplace, and others.
Founded in 2018, Milk Moovement offers a software-based monitoring system for dairy products. Since its inception, Milk Moovement said it has grown its network of dairy farms to 2,500. This consists of over 5,000 users, including global Fortune 100 consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.
In recent months, Milk Moovement announced the closing of an all-equity $26 million CAD Series A round, which was led by VMG Catalyst.
The Positive Impact Award highlights one person and one company that has developed and implemented solutions for social, cultural, and environmental issues that benefit the community at large. This year, the awarded company was Impact Health Research and Development for its compostable active packaging to prolong the shelf life of fresh foods, starting with fish.
Volta named Al-Otumi as the winner of the Positive Impact Award for individuals. Prior to joining impact investing platform Social Venture Connexion, he was the director for Shiftkey Labs, a joint project managed by Nova Scotia universities and community colleges to support post-secondary students in developing innovative solutions.
Last year’s edition of the Ecosystem Impact Awards distributed six prizes, including the original five, as well as the addition of the Corporate Supporter Award that was given to Microsoft Canada. The other 2021 winners were Joint Economic Development Initiative, Digital Nova Scotia, Outcast Foods, Food for Thought Software Solutions, and Tribe Network.
According to Volta, the recipients were selected by a panel of judges comprising regional business and educational leaders. This year, the organization said there were more than 20 nominations received.
Featured image courtesy Volta.