Clever Fruit Juice receives funding from Innovacorp

ANTIGONISH: A new juice-making company received some early seed money.

Clever Fruit Juice Limited, based out of Antigonish received $50,000 through the Innovacorp’s Spark Innovation Challenge. Peter MacNeil, president of Clever Fruit Juice, said Sean Sears, chair of Clever Fruit Juice, is also a part of Shipbuilder’s Cider and Stutz Cider.

“They were doing a lot of work for a number of years with apple,” said MacNeil. “They teamed up with a scientist and they realized there are a lot of health benefits in the apple and the blueberry.”

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MacNeil said they came up with a plan to end up with what he called a nutrient broth “that we then make into a tasty juice product if we choose to or freeze dry it into a powder.” He said going though the Innovacorp process helped them discover things about their business pitch, which led to the idea of the freeze dried powder.

“It’s strictly a start-up competition but it’s to really inject new development within Nova Scotia,” said MacNeil. “We were one of the top 16 out of the 136 applications that received this Spark funding.”

A press release from Innovacorp stated the winners must use the prize money to build prototypes or take new products and services to market. Six finalists in the Spark North region pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Innovacorp and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency each contributed $400,000 towards this year’s Spark Challenge.

“Spark is a great program that’s helping new technology companies across Nova Scotia get started,” stated Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Business and Minister responsible for Innovacorp. “The winners of this year’s challenge will build stronger products and create jobs for other Nova Scotians, particularly young Nova Scotians.”

MacNeil said the company is in the development stage, noting they are now getting into the trade marking phase and recently bought their online domain.

“Everything is still very early,” he said. “Sean’s from Antigonish and I’m from Antigonish so we have an office here.”