Innovation PEI’s 2023 Wrap Up

 As 2023 draws to a close, the Innovation PEI team is taking time to look back and reflect on the past year and the accomplishments, celebrations, and milestones of Prince Edward Island’s business community, our arts and culture scene, and our growing industries. 


Here’s a snapshot of our year at Innovation PEI: 

Our 2023 Wrap Up

L to R: Brad Colwill, Justine Lorch, Jack Morse, Éliane Laberge, Krista McKeeman

We Welcomed New Team Members

Our new CEO Brad Colwill joined the Innovation PEI team in August of 2023, bringing 14 years of experience in public service and a passion for the Island’s business community. This year, we also welcomed:

  • Justine Lorch – Marketing Coordinator
  • Jack Morse – Small Business Development Intern
  • Éliane Laberge – Bilingual Cultural Development Officer
  • Krista McKeeman – Small Business Development Officer.

We Shared Island Business Stories

Our PEI Business Spotlights  tell the stories of Prince Edward Island’s innovators, creatives, risk-takers, and trailblazers. Each year, we visit businesses across the Island to share their experiences and endeavours to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

a photo of the Spring 2023 Ignition Fund Recipients
(l-r) Natal de Avila Antonini, Magali Freiberger, Greg Ferrell, Janessa Ferrell, Ian MacAulay, Jeremy MacAulay, Minister Gilles Arsenault, Jerry Oriade, Laura Stevenson, Alex Stevenson.

We Supported and Celebrated Innovative New Business Ideas

The Ignition Fund is a competitive-based fund for entrepreneurs seeking startup capital for a new innovative business venture or to develop and launch a new innovative product.  The fund invests seed capital that will allow successful applicants to turn their ideas into a tangible and viable business. 

We Launched the New PEI Culture Action Plan

People, Place and Possibility – Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Culture and Creative Industries in PEI is the new five-year culture action plan. It reaffirms the Province’s commitment to build a sustainable arts, culture and creative sector through four key areas:

    • Creating Access and Belonging;
    • Achieving Excellence and Professionalism;
    • Stewarding Heritage and Traditions; and,
    • Investing in our Future.
(l-r) Matthew MacRae, Shannon Pratt, Minister Gilles Arsenault, Tanya Davis and Ghislaine Cormier
PEI Arts Awards Recipients

We Celebrated Artists Across the Island at the Inaugural PEI Arts Awards

As part of the renewed provincial culture action plan, the PEI Arts Awards Program celebrates artistic merit and excellence. The following recipients were recognized last evening at the inaugural gala:

  • PEI Writers’ Guild: Are We Friends Now Queer Youth Book – Premier’s Award for Stand-out Project of the Year 
  • Music PEI – Organization of the Year Award
  • Lindsay Connolly, Megan Stewart and Melissa Peter-Paul – Leo Cheverie Cultural Connector of the Year Award
  • Gerald Beaulieu – Father Adrien Arsenault Senior Arts Award
  • Fairouz Gaballa – Gertie & Henry Purdy Emerging Visual Arts Bursary

We Celebrated and Supported Indigenous Artists

The Indigenous Art Bank and the Indigenous Arts Grants began in 2021 to celebrate, highlight, support and encourage the artistic accomplishments of the Mi’kmaq people of Epekwitk (PEI). Applications will open early in the new year for the 2024 Indigenous Art Bank and Arts Grants – Stay tuned!

culture action plan
See’er by Patricia Bourque, a piece acquired by the Indigenous Art Bank
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We Worked with PEI Businesses to Expand and Make Connections Internationally

In 2023, our Global Trade Services Team recruited Island businesses for trade missions and tradeshows across the country and around the world, attending events like the Southeast United States – Canadian Provinces (SEUS-CP) Conference in Newfoundland, Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Restaurants Canada Show in Toronto, FoodEx Japan in Tokyo, International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas, and more! 

We are currently planning for 2024 trade mission and tradeshows – Visit our calendar to check out these opportunities for the new year!

We Cheered On PEI's Largest Feature Comedy Film: "Who's Yer Father"

Who’s Yer Father? In the PEI-set crime-comedy caper, a down-on-his-luck private investigator (Chris Locke) is hired by Luke Thorne (Matt Wells), a rich businessman in the seafood industry, to investigate suspicious black-market lobster sales in Sandbar Cove.

After a successful theatrical run, you can now rent & buy the movie on Google Play, YouTube Movies, The Cineplex Store, Apple TV/iTunes, Amazon VOD, Telus, Bell, Shaw, and Rogers!

culture action plan
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We Celebrated PEI's 150th Anniversary

2023 marked the 150th anniversary of Prince Edward Island joining Confederation as Canada’s seventh province. To commemorate the anniversary, the  PEI 150 Celebration Fund was created for communities and cultural organizations to support projects that marked this anniversary. 

We can’t wait to work with you in 2024!