Design Engineering

Nova Scotia’s bionic builders claims $100K BDC contest


General DPN

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has announced that the turning point project Bionic Boost, submitted by co‑founders Chris Cowper-Smith and Bob Garrish of Spring Loaded Technology in Halifax, NS, is the winner of the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.

Cowper-Smith and Garrish can literally put the spring back in anyone’s step. Their turning point project will accelerate Spring Loaded Technology’s capacity to bring to market the world’s first bionic knee‑brace technology.

This compact and lightweight product stores the users’ own kinetic energy and releases it when it’s most needed to enhance strength, reduce fatigue, and increase stability. The brace has wide market appeal as it can be used by everyone from athletes looking to enhance performance, labourers and military personnel, to people with various forms of movement disability.

“It feels great to win the $100,000 grand prize and it will certainly help us execute on our launch plan,” says Cowper-Smith. “As a pre‑revenue company about to come to market, the publicity we received just from taking part in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest has been amazing.

“Over a thousand people from across Canada and beyond reached out to us. We doubled the size of our lead list during the contest—this is a fantastic validation of what we’re doing.”


“We believe that participating in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest is an invaluable experience for any entrepreneur and I congratulate Chris and Bob on their win,” says Michel Bergeron, senior vice president, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC.

“Their company is a compelling example of how Canadian entrepreneurs can create world‑class and exportable products in the healthcare space and improve quality of life for an ageing population.”

“We’ll use the $100,000 grand prize for new rapid carbon‑fibre and composites manufacturing equipment to boost production and cut our costs so we can bring an affordable and accessible bionic knee brace to market this fall,” says Cowper-Smith. “Thanks to the support of Canadians from across the country, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of people around the world.”

The contest runner‑up, who will receive $25,000 in consulting services from BDC, is the project Farm to Table, submitted by Melissa Butler, owner of the Real Food Market in St.John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

About the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award finalists

Ten projects competed for Canada’s votes in the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest. Between June 3 and June 17, Canadians were invited to visit the contest website and vote for their favourite finalists. Each finalist described, via a video submission, a turning point their company had reached as well as their solution to achieve future growth and success:

• Advanced Manufacturing, Matt Rendall, 31, Clearpath Robotics Inc., Kitchener, Ontario
• Freshly Baked, Silvia Martinelli Waqued, 31, S&B Gluten Free Inc. (Otimo Brazilian Cheese Puffs), Maple Ridge, BC
• Market Fresh, Vanessa Salopek, 28, Market Restaurant (Market Eatery Inc.), Calgary
• Eco Thrills, Jori Kirk, 33, Cypress Hills Eco‑Adventures Ltd., Maple Creek, Saskatchewan
• Top Dog, Laurel Skuba, 31, The Pawsh Dog Inc., Winnipeg
• To the Test, Olivier Marcotte, 33, Nucleom, Quebec City
• Curb Appeal, Phillip Curley, 23, HotSpot Parking, Fredericton
• Bionic Boost, Chris Cowper‑Smith and Bob Garrish, 30, Spring Loaded Technology, Halifax
• Farm to Table, Melissa Butler, 34, Real Food Market, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
• Oyster Rush, Martin O’Brien, 29, Cascumpec Bay Oyster Company Ltd., O’Leary, Prince Edward Island

About the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest

Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to remarkable Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years of age. Ten finalists were selected to compete for a $100,000 grand prize. A second prize of $25,000 in consulting services is awarded to the contest runner‑up. A national committee evaluated the quality of the finalist projects and gave each finalist a ranking that was combined with the public vote. In 2015, the national committee evaluation was weighted to account for 50% of each project’s final ranking, and the public vote accounted for the remaining 50% of the ranking.


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