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Innovation at Work

Conversation with JP Deveau, President -  Acadian Seaplants Ltd. (2 minutes, 17 seconds)

Click here for a full transcript
A high definition version of this video is available on YouTube

Transcript: Acadian Seaplants Ltd.

At Acadian Seaplants, we’ve been able to create an industry where one did not exist before.

My name is JP Deveau and I’m President of Acadian Seaplants Ltd.

Our company processes seaweed, so everything we do is derived from marine plants.  We take these marine plants and we make value-added products and we export those to over 70 countries around the world.

Throughout the years we’ve received assistance from ACOA for marketing, capital investment and for innovation.  It’s extremely important to be innovative for companies that are based here in Atlantic Canada.  We are not going to be the world’s low-cost producer so therefore we have to differentiate ourselves through the use of technology. What we’re able to do is to create these value-added products, market them around the world and stay ahead of our competition.

When you look at commercializing technology, you start with benchtop chemistry where it’s been invented in the lab and then you have to scale it up to full scale production and that is really a significant challenge.  In my mind, it always takes three times as long and three times as much money.

Government, what it can do, is to provide funding programs such as what ACOA has for innovation so that we, industry, can leverage our investment with government funding and really accelerate the development of technology in Atlantic Canada.  That’s how we’re going to be competitive on a worldwide basis.

One of the things that the AIF program has done is that’s it’s allowed some companies such as Acadian Seaplants to partner with research institutions such as the National Research Council, Dalhousie University and Acadia University.  We’ve been able to sponsor a research chair at Nova Scotia Agricultural College and in addition, nine new research positions have come underneath that research chair, creating research capacity right here in Atlantic Canada on a permanent basis.

Through ACOA’s innovation funding, Acadian Seaplants are the world leaders in marine plant technology.  We compete with anybody on this planet.

Note: JP Deveau was also interviewed in French. Click here for a translated transcript of the interview. 

To learn more about Acadian Seaplants Ltd., read: Tapping into seaweed.

Additional videos of innovative Atlantic companies are available on the Innovation at Work page