News Releases

January 13, 2022

Start-ups pitch innovative solutions in Spark NB competition

Four New Brunswick start-ups pitched their way to success in Spark NB’s province-wide competition for early-stage innovation companies.

The competition, coordinated by New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) and supported by the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Miramichi Technology Fund and the City of Miramichi, provided funding opportunities for start-ups with high potential knowledge-based products or services. After 13 weeks of training including opportunity discovery, idea validation, business planning, and finance, participants pitched their ideas to a panel of judges recently in the hopes of securing funding to get their ideas off the ground.

“NBCC’s proven track record in fostering entrepreneurial innovation helped facilitate the competition, but the participants were the ones who discovered, developed, and planned their winning pitches,” said Ann Drennan, Vice President Academic and Research at NBCC. “Spark NB has allowed us to expand our mentoring reach to a new group of tomorrow’s tech leaders.”

Successful pitchers were:

  • Xavier Hébert-Couturier of Picketa Systems Inc, an agriculture tech company based in Fredericton that is helping growers and agri-businesses optimize fertilizer usage for better yield, quality, and sustainability with a real-time soil and plant nutrient analysis tool and data analytics platform;
  • Mike Rushton of Air Clarity Solutions, a Geary firm introducing an innovative air filtration technology designed to significantly reduce industrial workplace air pollution for improved health, safety, and productivity;
  • Mackenzie Terjesen of Flo Nation Farms, an urban farming venture in Saint John using aquaponics, vertical farming, and automation to supply New Brunswick with fresh produce and fish 365 days a year; and
  • John Richards of Miramichi Enviro Lab, a water-testing company that performs potability testing on well water.

Hébert-Couturier, Rushton, and Richards were awarded $20,000 each in prize funding, while Flo Nation Farms receives $10,000.

The Spark NB training program and competition were made possible with $96,950 in financial support from ACOA, $20,000 in prize funding from the Miramichi Technology Fund, and $7,500 in project support from the City of Miramichi.

About NBCC:

With six campuses across New Brunswick, NBCC contributes to New Brunswick’s social and economic prosperity by supporting the aspirations of individual learners, seizing the opportunities of the labour market, and collaboratively solving the challenges of communities and industry.  In addition to more than 90 certificate and diploma programs, NBCC also provides specialized and customized training to meet the needs of specific sectors and communities.  Find out more information on NBCC programs by visiting:

MEDIA CONTACT: Tanya Greer, Lead, Strategic Communications, 506-440-9105,