Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Innovation at Work

Conversation with John Rowe, President - Island Abbey Foods (2 minutes, 9 seconds)

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

To learn more about Island Abbey Foods, read: A honey of an idea!


Transcript: Island Abbey Foods

Innovation and Research and Development is the most important challenge facing Atlantic Canadians today.  We are literally competing with the best and brightest minds around the world and innovation, true innovation, is the only means for us to maintain, to build a competitive advantage.

My name is John Rowe and I’m the President of Island Abbey Foods.

I had a Eureka moment many years ago when I was living on the West Coast. I had a honey accident and quite literally a jar, a glass jar of honey, shattered in my backpack while I was camping and I started researching... no one had figured out how to put honey in a pure form into a solid state.

We are the first to discover how to dehydrate honey in a pure form. We are a small company building a new business.

ACOA funding has helped us immensely advance our innovation agenda.  Island Abby Foods has received assistance during our research and development phase as well as after our company’s launch of our unique honey products.

It has allowed us to diversify our product lines and, in the food sector, it is extremely expensive to launch new products, especially into retail.  The role that the government has to play in building an innovative economy in Atlantic Canada is to continue to support three key areas:

- providing access to capital, whether it is seed capital or research and development funding; 
- once the products are ready, supporting the marketing of those to ensure that they do get out there to market;
- and most importantly, in my mind, encouraging entrepreneurship from a very early age. 

We have to be innovative because competition is coming to us from all corners of the globe today.  As we’ve begun to market internationally, it has opened up many new doors, many new markets. Very exciting opportunities for us as we grow.

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