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By Carol Moreira

It’s too soon to assess the full impact of COVID-19 on companies in the Halifax Innovation District but early indications show local entrepreneurs found ways to navigate the pandemic.

As the health crisis began, many observers expected startups to fold under the extraordinary pressures, but early spring saw companies pivot to make new products, including tests and vaccines for COVID-19, personal protective equipment and hand sanitizers. In fact, when Entrevestor listed its Top 10 Startup News Stories of 2020, number three was the story that didn’t happen – the worries in the spring about large-scale failures that never materialized.

Some ventures saw demand for existing products soar. Squiggle Park CEO Julia Rivard Dexter saw monthly revenues increase by 400 percent in March alone. The company produces online games that teach children how to read and the closure of schools boosted the need for e-Learning.

“We had whole districts calling us and saying, ‘We’re not going back to school tomorrow and we need something to help,’” the CEO said.

Squiggle Park – whose corporate name is Eyeread – also partnered with NSCAD University. The duo asked the art college students to devise “digital care packages” to help students aged 11 to 13 feel part of limiting the spread of the virus.

Motryx CEO Franziska Broell

“Our agreement with Aerocom provides assurance to their customers in markets with a strong focus on quality control, such as Germany and Scandinavia,” said Motryx CEO Franziska Broell in a statement.

Carol Moreira is a Principal of Entrevestor, which provides news and data on Atlantic Canadian startups.”