Spotlight on St. John's emerging MedTech sector

Newfoundland and Labrador is home to an emerging sector of companies, researchers, educational institutions, industry associations and government agencies that are working together to accelerate world-class research and commercial solutions in health and life sciences.

This wave of new companies is developing a range of health-related businesses from medical devices to innovative software, and they are attracting significant global attention. Here are some of the local companies that are leading the way:

St. John’s-based digital health company PragmaClin Research is developing a modern approach to managing neurological disorders by giving patients and clinicians frequent access to key information. Their flagship software PRIMS allows patients with Parkinson's to assess and manage their condition more effectively from home. The company recently won the Idea Stage category at the Entrepreneurship World Cup Global Finals.

Tech startup SiftMed is an Intelligent Document Processing platform that uses Artificial Intelligence to help organize, manage and review medical files. Their platform helps insurance, legal and medical professionals clean-up disorganized records and complete fast and accurate reviews. SiftMed recently attracted a $2.7 million seed round investment led by Sandpiper Ventures.

BreatheSuite has been helping people with chronic respiratory conditions breathe easier and live healthier lives. Focused on helping those with COPD or Asthma, the BreatheSuite Program was designed to provide users with the education and support needed to improve their health outcomes.

St. John's-based Granville Biomedical specializes in the design of anatomical teaching tools and innovative medical devices to enhance healthcare training and advance education.

Health Innovation Hackathon 2023

Bounce Health Innovation is a mini-cluster of entrepreneurs working to support the growth of Newfoundland and Labrador's medical technology innovation sector. The group is composed of the following organizations: Eastern Health, Memorial University (the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship, and the Faculty of Medicine), Genesis, the Provincial Government, techNL and the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information.

Bounce Health Innovation's upcoming Health Innovation Hackathon 2023 is a MedTech and health innovation-themed Hackathon that gets teams to think about an assigned problem within our healthcare system, and over the course of a weekend, to determine possible solutions. The hackathon is a great tool to help create new ideas, make connections, create team-building experiences, and ultimately give enthusiasts a taste of what the MedTech startup experience is all about.

Date: March 24-26

Location: Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, 300 Prince Philip Drive

To register and to view the event details.

City Initiatives

Funding announced to support City’s Corporate Climate Plan

City Council recently approved a major step forward in the City's Corporate Climate Plan that will see infrastructure upgrades to 17 city-owned buildings. By improving energy efficiency and transitioning from oil to electricity, the City of St. John’s is expected to save $517,914 in energy costs annually.

The City’s contribution of $6.6 million will be recovered over a 15-year term, with the energy cost savings that will be achieved with the upgrades. The remainder of the project will be funded by federal, provincial and industry grants.

With this project, other ongoing improvements to the City’s buildings, and the provincial efforts to implement a low-carbon electricity grid, the City is on track to achieve over 70% of its Corporate 2030 target before 2025. Read the media release.

Call for Performers

The City of St. John’s is seeking performers for the 2023 special events season. Our annual Call for Performers helps the City program arts and cultural performances for special events like the Music @ concert series, Dockside Welcomes and other City of St. John’s hosted events and festivals.

We invite solo and group applications in all the performing arts disciplines. To apply, performers are required to complete and submit the online application form during the open call. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 31, 2023. View the full details.

News Briefing

$27 million for training and upskilling in our thriving tech sector

With a wave of tech career opportunities on the horizon for our province, techNL – a not-for-profit industry association that has represented the province’s technology sector for over 30 years – and the Government of Canada are making $27 million in immediate funding available to train and upskill Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and to reinforce our technology ecosystem. 16 programs. 9 partner institutions. Multiple seats available. View the full details.

Atlantic Canadian startup survey

Entrevestor, Atlantic Canada’s startup news site, needs your help in compiling data on the East Coast startup community.

They're calling on all startups to complete their quick-and-confidential Atlantic Canadian startup survey. This data will be aggregated to produce metrics for the ninth Entrevestor Atlantic Canada Startup Data report; a report that provides a benchmark for governments and support organizations for the entire innovation sector in the region.

There are only 12 questions, the survey is 100% confidential, and it should take about three minutes to complete.

Looking to hire a summer student?

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's Student Summer Employment Program – Post‐Secondary provides funding to assist private sector businesses and not‐for‐profit organizations to create summer employment for post‐secondary students. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2023. View the eligibility criteria and full program details.

At a Glance

Our revitalized Ropewalk Lane neighbourhood is quickly becoming a well-known hub of diverse food and culture. Read the full story from CBC.

Check out the official trailer for Disney's Peter Pan & Wendy, with some of the scenes shot right here in beautiful Newfoundland and Labrador.

Horizon Maritime has partnered with Bourbon Offshore to create the new joint venture Bourbon Horizon AS. The new company is strategically positioned in both Fosnavåg (Norway) and the City of St. John’s to provide marine services and operations that focus on the North Sea and Canadian offshore markets. Read the full story.

St. John’s Sports & Entertainment Ltd. has issued a Request for Proposal for the services of an Executive Search Firm to assist in the recruitment of their next Chief Executive Officer. Responses due March 24, 2023, by 3:00 p.m. NST. View the full details.

Lynx Air has added a new non-stop route from St. John’s International Airport (YYT) to Montreal's Trudeau International Airport (YUL), with through-flight service to Calgary's International Airport (YYC). Travel starts June 5, 2023. View the full details.

This past week, Mayor Danny Breen participated in the international energy conference CERAWeek in Houston.

The world's premier energy event brings together top energy leaders, providing an integrated framework for understanding what’s ahead for global energy markets, geopolitics, and technology.

The Government of Canada announces renewed funding of up to $125 million to develop #oceantechnology and accelerate solutions to address global ocean opportunities, building a stronger economy and a healthier planet. Read the full story.

Global marine geoscience, surveying and mapping services company Fugro has opened a cutting-edge remote operations centre in the City of St. John's. The new high-tech communications hub will allow Fugro experts to control offshore survey operations remotely for safer, more efficient and more sustainable projects. Read the full story.

A new study ranks the City of St. John's as the best city to study in Atlantic Canada. St. John's also ranks 8th nationally (up four places from 2021) with academic excellence, quality of student life and relatively modest tuition fees on a national scale, among the ranking criteria. Read the full story.

Government of Canada Business Supports

New federal agency to help commercialize research, protect intellectual property

The federal government has launched the Canada Innovation Corporation (CIC) to help businesses commercialize their research and protect their intellectual property. The CIC will help Canadian businesses across all sectors and regions to innovate, commercialize, grow, and create good jobs in a changing global economy.

The CIC will operate with an initial budget of $2.6 billion over four years and is expected to begin its operations in 2023. The Industrial Research Assistance Program will move from the National Research Council to become part of the new corporation. The CIC will be led by the private sector and operate independently while still reporting to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

The CIC is one of two new government bodies to encourage Canadian companies to scale up their operations. The other is the Canada Growth Fund, a $15-billion plan focused on commercializing and deploying technologies that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Read the media release.

Upcoming Courses and Events

Book your spot!

Mar 14 City of St. John's Heritage Plan Virtual Public Engagement

Mar 15 Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST) Weathering Change – How Ocean Tech Supports Climate Security

Mar 22 Horizon TNL's Speed-Jobbing - Chercheurs d'emploi

Mar 23 City of St. John's Water Street Infrastructure Project – Drop-in Information Session

Mar 23 Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship's 2023 Mel Woodward Cup Finals

Mar 23 BOMA NL's 14th Annual Real Estate Forum

Mar 23 Mentor Works' Hiring & Training Grants for Co-op Students & New Grads

Mar 24-26 Bounce Health Innovation's Health Innovation Hackathon 2023

Mar 28 Networking Social: Combining the Power of Our Networks

Mar 29 Startup Canada's How Women-Led Funding is Changing the Game | Startup Women

Mar 31-Apr 2 Hack Frost NL 3.0 Hackathon

Apr 5 Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador's 2023 Tourism Industry Hiring Event

Apr 5 Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) Net-Zero 2050: Why it matters for your business (webinar)

Apr 6 Canadian Evaluation Society, NL's Introduction to Developmental Evaluation (Online)

May 9-11 Canadian Women in Ocean Industries Leadership (CWOIL) 2023 Conference – Diversity in the Blue Economy

Questions About Starting a Business

Our knowledgeable staff are here to help

Opening a new business is a busy and exciting time, and requires careful planning. Here at the City of St. John's Business Information Centre, we know our way around town and we'd be happy to connect you to the programs, resources and contacts you need to help make it happen. Get in touch. We're here to help.

Starting a business in St. John's

The City of St. John's Business Startup Guide can help simplify the process of starting your new business. Visit our publications page to download your free copy.

Latest Economic Indicators

City building permits

as of March 13, 2023

Commercial permits

Up 122% from $9,948,085 in 2022 to $22,056,828 in 2023

Industrial permits

Valued at $29,000 for 2022 and $0 for 2023

Government/institutional permits

Down from $307,288 in 2022 to $0 in 2023*

Residential permits

Down -23% to $7,301,028 for 2023 over $9,495,095 for 2022

Repair permits

Down -74% from $156,760 in 2022 to $40,815 in 2023

Total value of all permits for 2023

Up 47% to $29,398,671 for 2023 over $19,936,228 for 2022

*This data does not include the full range of permit activity undertaken by the provincial government and Memorial University.

Business approvals

NL Puffin Co., 37 Elizabeth Avenue

Canada Life, 130 Kelsey Drive

Homeworx Modular Homes & Renovations, 86 O’Leary Avenue

British Barber, 42 Ropewalk Lane

Pickles & Littles Maternity and Baby Boutique, 653 Topsail Road

Gully Designs, 353 Main Road

Ibrahim Barber, 122 Duckworth Street

Garage, 63 O’Leary Avenue

Ignite Technology, 145 Kelsey Drive

Shampooch Dog Grooming, 301 Lemarchant Road

Vape shop, 168 Water Street

Home-based businesses

Laura Builds Websites, 4 Ledum Place

Online auto dealership, 7 Alice Drive

Dave Roche Electrical, 5 Bennett Avenue

Earth Courier Services, 14 St. Laurent Street

Home office, 80 Grenfell Avenue

Sheet metal fabrication and storage, 136 Groves Road

Total business approvals for 2023 = 36 (regular = 28 and home-based = 8)

Photo: Brian Carey

Labour force characteristics as of February 2023

Labour force – 122,500 (up 1.7%)

Unemployment rate – 6.2% (down -1.4ppts)

Employment – 115,000 (up 3.3%)

Participation rate – 65.5% (down -0.3 ppts)

St. John's CMA, seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average. Percentage change reflects the same month previous year. Source: Statistics Canada.

Economic indicators

The New Housing Price Index for St. John’s Metro was 102.2 in January 2023 (up 1.4%*)

The Consumer Price Index for St. John’s Metro was 154.6 in January 2023 (up 5.5%*) 

Retail trade for Newfoundland and Labrador was $922 million in December 2022 (up 7.8%*)

*St. John's CMA, same month in the previous year. Source: Statistics Canada

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