DAL’S Collider Opens Its Doors
October 09th, 2015
Dalhousie University’s Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship on Thursday launched the Collider, a space on the second floor of the Killam Library to promote entrepreneurship within the university and the entrepreneur community.
The Collider is branded as a “space for the serendipitous collision of ideas.” Though not officially called the Collider until Thursday, the room has been used since 2012 for Mary Kilfoil’s Starting Lean class, where students learn about and develop startups. The Collider has already been booked for events, such as a marine hack-a-thon and Startup Weekend, to promote its mission for idea dispersion.
Kilfoil and Norman Newman Centre Entrepreneurship Director Ed Leach were the ones who pushed to officially make the space the Collider.
Several teams from the Starting Lean class spoke about the importance of the Collider to them. Some teams’ businesses are already making progress after completing Starting Lean this past April. Site2020, which makes automated construction flaggers, is one of these teams. The startup recently won the Pitch 101 contest at Invest Atlantic and plans to release its product next spring.
“The amount of innovation that goes into this class is obscene,” Site2020 Co-Founder Cole Campbell said.
Some of this semester’s Staring Lean teams were also there. A student in that cohort presented his team’s idea for a device to make scuba diving safer.
The three teams that were there from the 2012 Starting Lean cohort have all transformed into growth-stage companies. Sage Mixology provided the Collider launch with its new ginger and apple flavoured beers for its alcohol line, Crazy Beard. Analyze Re, which helps insurance and reinsurance companies analyze big data, is making great headway in the industry. Spring Loaded Technologies, which creates bionic knee braces, is going to soon start manufacturing 8000 knee braces a year, potentially bringing in $12 million in revenue.
“We need programs like this to build new companies, small business with technology that is built and has the potential to be global,” said Chris Cowper-Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Spring Loaded. ”And that’s exactly what this program is doing.”
Dalhousie President Richard Florizone and University Librarian Donna Bourne-Tyson also spoke at the launch. Kilfoil said that Bourne-Tyson was very instrumental in locking down the Collider.
“This is a bit of a skunkwork project, to make things go Dal, to make things go across the Nova Scotia universities, to go across the province,” Florizone said. “I’m so excited, I’m incoherent.”
There were also presentations about student entrepreneurship outside the Starting Lean class from organizations such as Enactus, a social entrepreneurship network, and the Entrepreneurship Society.
“Welcome home, welcome to the Collider,” Leach said. “And welcome to where much of it has started and where much of it’s going to grow.”