How collaborating helped these local companies to innovate during COVID-19

When COVID-19 cases started to increase in Atlantic Canada, and the need for locally manufactured personal protective equipment (PPE) became clear, local companies worked together and sprung into action to help. For Chris Cowper-Smith and his team at Spring Load Technology—a Nova Scotian medical devices company that develops knee braces—taking on this challenge was a natural extension of the company’s purpose and existing culture of improving people’s lives.

We have people who are already in this business because of our strong sense of purpose to improve people’s lives. When the chance came to help save lives because of COVID-19, there was no question at all, our team just started working on it,” says Cowper-Smith.

The company teamed up with other local businesses—Ring Rescue and Enginuity— to create Spring Rescue , combining their know-how to develop new products that will help ensure the health and safety of medical staff, patients and families. “We already had past collaborative relationships with RingRescue and Enginuity, so we were able to team up with smart entrepreneurs and technical people and respond really rapidly to the need,” says Cowper-Smith.

In less than two weeks, Spring Rescue had designed and developed the Scotia Shield, a form of reusable medical-grade face protection made mostly with local materials. They’ve since then also developed a patient guard cover that creates a negative pressure ventilated environment to protect patients and healthcare providers from infection.

The COVID crisis and demand for PPE has highlighted the need to consider supply chains and manufacturing capabilities in our region. “As a society we’re learning there’s a need to be a bit more autonomous,” says Cowper-Smith, who believes that diversification of our economy is needed, as well as local innovation and collaboration.

By working together on Spring Rescue, the partner companies have developed a closer working relationship which Cowper-Smith says could lead to joint ventures to develop and manufacture other commercial products in the future. Spring Rescue is an excellent example of the innovation, creativity and partnership that Atlantic Canada needs in order to help rebuild our economy post-pandemic.

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