Six Atlantic Canadian changemakers were recognized at the second annual Ecosystem Impact Awards, in partnership with RBC, during an event hosted virtually on September 16. The Ecosystem Impact Awards were launched in 2019 to celebrate the efforts of community leaders and supporters who are helping nurture and grow the startup ecosystem in Atlantic Canada.

The award categories include Catalyst, Positive Impact – one for an individual and another recognizing an organization –, Community Leader, Corporate Supporter, and Disruptor.

The awards were distributed as follows:

  • Saint Mary’s University Entrepreneurship Centre received the Catalyst Award, which recognizes an organization that has helped create cohesion and growth in the Atlantic Canadian startup ecosystem. This can be exhibited through inter-organizational relationship building, helping with the growth of the startup community, reducing or removing barriers for startups to succeed, and more.

  • Jim Hanlon, former CEO of COVE received the Positive Impact Award- Individual, which recognizes an individual that has developed and implemented solutions for social, cultural and/or environmental issues, to the benefit of the community at-large.

  • Peer Ledger received the Positive Impact Award-Organization, which recognizes an organization that has developed and implemented solutions for social, cultural and/or environmental issues, to the benefit of the community at-large.

  • Black Business Initiative received the Community Leader Award, which recognizes a company that has directly impacted the growth and development of the entrepreneurial landscape in Atlantic Canada. This organization is dedicated to the startup community, and gives back through the donation of time, mentorship and serving as a resource in a peer to peer environment.

  • Halifax Partnership Innovation District received the Corporate Supporter Award recognizes a corporate partner who has been a gracious supporter of the tech startup community in Atlantic Canada. This dedicated partner actively boosts the development of our rapidly-growing technology sector by donating their time and resources, while providing mentorship, training and more.

  • Appili Therapeutics Inc. received the Disruptor Award, which recognizes a business in Atlantic Canada that has experienced significant entrepreneurial success over the past year. Success can be measured in a number of ways, including; innovative technology, solving a technological need, capturing a new sector or market, disruption of a service or market segment, applications of product or service and traction in, or ability to obtain traction in the international marketplace.

There were more than 30 nominations, and the recipients were selected by a panel of judges, comprised of regional business leaders.

“We’re thrilled that Atlantic Canadian companies continue to see success and make a name for themselves nationally and internationally. This has been a challenging year for businesses of all sizes, so we are pleased to come together to celebrate the collaborative efforts that all organizations are taking to enhance the startup community,” said Volta CEO, Martha Casey. “These organizations continue to put Atlantic Canada on the map, and prove that we are a destination for innovation, prosperity and continued development.”


RBC’s John Stackhouse and Wattpad’s Allen Lau provided opening remarks to kick off the event. During their remarks, they mentioned a recently-released episode of the RBC Disruptors podcast that they co-host. You can listen to that episode here. 

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