JEDI competition winner: PLATO Testing

21 June 2018

(National Indigenous Peoples Day)

Joint Economic Development Initiative presented by Lockheed Martin

An exceptional line-up participated in Lockheed Martin’s annual Indigenous Business Pitch this year. The Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI), a not-for-profit indigenous organization that works with partners to foster indigenous economic development in New Brunswick attracted several Canadian Indigenous business leaders as top contenders for the coveted award.

The entrepreneurs included, Chelsea Griffith and Jenilee Paul from PLATO testing; Michael Stemm and Andrew Martin of Down to Earth Productions; Adam Kennedy of Sma'knis Maritime Security & Safety Training; Monty Paul from A1 3D Printing, Cody Brooks of Sacred Lands Eco Resort, and Katie Lunney from Lunney Development. Each company graduated from the JEDI program.

The panel of expert judges notorious for their critical evaluations in past years became very engaged, and the discussions during the pitches became as important as the messages each participant came to deliver.  Each company did a tremendous job, delivering clear, concise, and well thought out ideas. All offered significant value propositions and win-win situations and the judges responded with enthusiasm to the visions being presented.

One judge in particularMr. Barry Stevens, especially engaged the line-up, bringing to light valuable, additional information beyond what the contestants had in their prepared presentations. Judges for this year’s competition included Maria Granados of Navy League of Canada; Barry Stevens from Stevens Solutions & Design; Trevin Stratton of BDO; and Marc Diotte and Fred Jardine from Lockheed Martin Canada.

This year the projects focused on were a part of the New Brunswick Indigenous Shipbuilding Strategy, put together by Ship Building Strategy Manager Mark Taylor. The judges would often engage the presenters with in-depth questions involving specific opportunities for business development and establishing relations with companies for future partnerships.

The $5000 cash award for 1st place went to Plato Testing, however, each company gained value from the networking, interactions, and mentorship from Lockheed Martin and the panel of expert judges.


PLATO Testing

PLATO Testing was founded by Keith McIntosh to create an Indigenous-owned and staffed software testing company. The network testing market has been valued at $37B worldwide ($20B of that in the United States), and PLATO Testing provides outsourced testing solutions to clients throughout North America, with a focus on projects that would have previously been sent offshore. PLATO trains indigenous employees through their own accelerator program to provide an affordable option for network testing. PLATO’s 6-month course helps indigenous trainees learn network testing and, upon completion, join the team as fully-fledged employees. Under this program PLATO proudly employs over 60 people across Canada, with a 5-year plan to scale up to 1,000 indigenous employees. PLATO won 1st place at the JEDI presentation, and specializes in Website Testing, Enterprise Software Testing, Mobile Testing, and Specialized Testing Solutions. You can reach out to PLATO testing at 1.855.455.7725, info@plato-testing.com, or at www.platotesting.com


A1 3D printing

Montgomery Paul has just launched his own solo venture, A1 3D Printing, which will provide easier access to 3D printing for start-ups and innovators. Mr. Paul successfully graduated from the JEDI Business Incubator Program in 2017 and the JEDI Business Accelerator Program in 2018. His creativity and extensive entrepreneurial experience also led him to win JEDI’s 2017 innovation challenge. A1 3D Printing is currently focusing on designing and building a 3D printed propeller that will act as a spare tire on most outboard vessels – something that had the JEDI judges absolutely buzzing over. When shown the 3d printed model, which has proven to be an effective and low cost solution for cracked or broken propellers, the discussion changed focus and Barry Stevens was quick to connect Mr. Paul with potential opportunities. You can reach out to A1 3D printing at 506.971.7269 or montypaul.info@gmail.com

Sacred Lands Eco Resort – Brooks Venture Ltd.

Last and certainly not least, Mr. Cody Brooks of Brooks Venture Ltd. dedicated his presentation to Sacred Lands Eco Resort, located in St. Mary’s First Nation. The resort offers two traditional Maliseet tourism experiences in the heart of New Brunswick: Arrowhead Canoe Rentals & Tours and Sacred Lands Eco-Resort. Currently under development, the Sacred Lands Eco-Resort is located on a beautiful, riverfront parcel of land just outside of Fredericton, New Brunswick. In the heart of Wolastoqiyik forest, Sacred Lands will reconnect guests with the traditional energy and spirituality of Mother Nature. Guests will lodge in state-of-the-art ‘Geo Domes’, beautiful spherical structures that combine the luxury of a modern day retreat with the intimacy of the surrounding forest and picturesque vistas. Mr. Brooks hopes to offer the stunning location and advanced facility to partner with defence and security companies in Canada for corporate retreat and training services. Book your retreat with Sacred Lands Eco Resort at 506.292.7506, or arrowheadcanoerentals@gmail.com


Appdigenous Development

Melissa Lunny created appdigenous after graduating from the Joint Economic Development Initiative’s Mobile Application Development Program and completed JEDI’s Aboriginal Business Accelerator. Appdigenous is positioned to become a leader in the marketplace due to the company’s unique ability to bring different technologies together to create mobile software and applications that respond to the immediate need of the marketplace and embrace the demographic future. Appdigenous, the 2016 JEDI winner, did not pitch this year, however, the company is currently working on a new product to watch out for. Ms Lunny has been working on a project dubbed “Doorable” – a smartphone-based app that aims to improve accessibility for persons living with physical disabilities or mobility issues, giving them greater independence. This innovative app will be the first of its kind to connect to the user’s mobile device and wirelessly communicate with door openers so they automatically open as you approach, eliminating the need to physically push the button on the building… “kind of like the force.” This idea can make life a little easier for our wounded Veterans across Canada. Help get Doorable implemented by contacting Appdigenous at 506.261.4297, info@appdigenous.com, and at www.appdigenous.com

Smak’nis Maritime Safety & Security Inc.

SMSS is a federally incorporated, indigenous owned and operated marine security and safety company owned by Adam Kennedy of Eel River Bar First Nation, and Dartmouth Nova Scotia. SMSS has contracts with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Atlantic Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative Authority, and primarily offers Emergency Measures planning, as well as marine safety, security and surveillance. SMSS specializes in providing Marine Operation Support in Marine environments, and delivering training around maritime safety and security. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that the ocean economy will more than double in size by 2030. The impact of this growth will be profound around the world and give Canada the opportunity to spur the development and adoption of technologies that will support both higher value output from ocean resources and greater sustainability in established and emerging ocean sectors. SMSS has positioned itself well in this sector.

Mr. Kennedy has an extensive history in maritime security, having retired from the Military Police as a corporal after serving in the Royal Canadian Navy as a Boatswain.  Despite not being selected in this year’s extremely tight JEDI competition, he had one of the most in-depth discussions and promising pitches in the shipbuilding strategy front. The judges voiced substantial praise and noted relationship benefits from the JEDI program, such as being included in Lockheed Martin’s bid for the Canadian Surface Combatant Program. To connect with Adam Kennedy, email adam@smaknis.com or call (506) 686-1020

Adrian Obst is FrontLine's BD correspondent