New IDEA sandbox launched
November 19, 2014

By Ainslie Ross

NSCAD University, Dalhousie University and the Government of Nova Scotia are partnering to create the Innovative Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA) Sandbox.

“Universities are a key piece in growing our economy and through collaboration we are passing through the next generation of innovators and successful entrepreneurs,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in making the announcement November 18th.  “It all starts with an idea and we all have ideas.”

Not your traditional sandbox project, IDEA will give students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship a space to learn, experiment and connect with industry professionals in the hopes of creating programs, products or businesses. It will be located at Dalhousie’s Sexton campus.

“The program will help leverage and increase product design capacity at NSCAD by integrating engineering and business,” said Glen Hougan, IDEA collaborator and NSCAD associate professor of design.

The IDEA Sandbox will grant students access to design, marketing, business, finance, law, and engineering experts from NSCAD and Dal.  Approximately 20 industry leaders will provide mentorships and seminars to students, giving them insight into what it takes to start a successful business.

"We have a rich history of innovation here in Nova Scotia," said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. "Some would say Alexander Graham Bell's sandbox was the Bras d'Or Lakes. Nova Scotians have always had great ideas, and today we are helping bring them to life."

The Government of Nova Scotia has committed $250,000 towards the sandbox and Dal’s Faculty of Engineering has committed $50,000.

NSCAD is also a partner in previously announced sandboxes, including the Community Sandbox with Saint Mary's University and Mount Saint Vincent University, and the ICT (Information and Communication) Sandbox with Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University and Volta Labs.

Premier Stephen McNeil at the announcement last March to announce "sandboxes" to foster collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship.(Danny Abriel photo)      
New IDEA Partnership Launched