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Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre


Innovation Company of the Year – Penokean Hills Farms

In 2005, a group of local family farmers from Algoma decided to collectively sell a high quality, healthy, and locally produced brand of beef native to Northern Ontario, giving local consumers increased access to a clean product. Since that time, the company was consolidated and bought by two of its members who are local farmers with a deep family history of farming high-quality products and a passion for the community. 
This company adheres to strict beef raising guidelines, working with a beef scientist from the University of Guelph on best farming and beef raising practices. Products are processed in Algoma and distributed across Ontario. In 2015, the company purchased the local abattoir located in Bruce Mines. As the only abattoir in the entire Algoma district, it serves not only as an important asset to their farms, but to many other local farmers in the community.

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Innovation in Digital Media – Jeronamo Solutions for Vibe Eatery & Juice Co.

Through the deployment of a strictly digital campaign using a mix of social media, web advertising, website creation, online videos and email marketing, this award recipient developed a comprehensive campaign for the grand opening of a new restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie, which opened in the spring of 2017.
All of this lead to the restaurant selling out of almost all menu items and having to close in order to restock within days of launch, quickly becoming a highly popular and favourite stop for healthy and delicious food in the Sault.

Learn more about Jeronamo Solutions here and

Learn more about Vibe Eatery here and 


Steve Butland Innovation Educator of the Year – Mark Carlucci, Teacher and Robotics Mentor with White Pines Collegiate and Vocational School

This educator is passionate and innovative in and out of the classroom. He displays a passion for robotics and all aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and encouraging participation from all students. He received the VEX Robotics Volunteer-of-the-Year Award with White Pines for his instrumental role in creating a robotics program at his school which has produced and mentored over 20 teams in the past three years. Recently, he led a Girl Powered event, a day for young girls to learn and engage with inspiring women in tech and spark an interest in the science, math, or technology sectors.


Innovation Leader of the Year – Kevin Rusnell with Digital Intelligence Group (DIG)

This leading digital strategist is always working to go above and beyond for his clients and team. Constantly keeping up to date on training and certification, he is key to maintaining his organization’s status as a Premier Google Partner – a status which only 2% of agencies achieve. 

He is continuously working to maintain the organization’s vision and leadership in a competitive and ever-changing landscape. He works day to day delivering measurable results for clients and strong working relationships, and is known for being approachable, friendly, yet wise and proficient through his leadership and guidance.

Learn more about DIG here 


Innovation Project of the Year – Wishart Law Firm LLP and the Wishart Municipal Group

The project saw the development of customized web-based tax arrears reporting software designed by this local law firm and its municipality division. The software supports an innovative IT membership-based solution for the delivery of legal services to municipalities.

When challenged with hundreds of physical files pouring in for a project, the demand for extensive tracking and manual processes created a need for improved interactivity, automation and efficiency. An innovative IT solution was envisioned and developed by a local software company, permitting software to work with clients and generate reports – quickly and accurately.

It was the first software of its kind, and now servicing over 10 municipalities with plans to become a provincial leader in the delivery of municipal law services.

Learn more about the Wishart Law Firm and its Wishart Municipal Law Group here


Innovation Startup of the Year – Black Fox Fishing

This business came up with an innovative solution to a problem, by creating a more efficient, simplistic and better engineered product that has one purpose: to help ice fishers catch more fish with a more reliable tool.

Incorporated in 2017, this Batchewana First Nations startup developed a product known as The Trigger. With much success thus far, Black Fox Fishing is on track to triple sales as of last year. Since their original online sales, the Trigger has now landed in stores across Canada including Canadian Tire who they have since partnered with.

The business utilizes social media to its fullest and has garnered hundreds of thousands of video views on YouTube and Facebook, a strong following of fishing enthusiasts, and a network of ice fishing influencers across Canada and the US. 

Learn more here and


Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship – Youth Odena and Food Bank Farm

This year’s Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship award was awarded to two different organizations. 

Youth Odena

Since 2016, this award recipient has been a leading by-youth-for-youth advocacy group in Sault Ste. Marie who’s work concentrates on the health, arts, and culture sectors of the Sault. They work towards improving the socio-economic status of young people in the area.  The group uses a variety of digital and social media platforms to reach and engage at risk youth in Sault Ste. Marie, and design their programs and workshops with youth needs in mind.

Learn more at and

Food Bank Farm

This award recipient has changed the way food is delivered to food banks in the region, and is the only initiative of its kind in Canada. This local farmer and his business partner created a non-profit business in response to a need in the community for fresh produce to supplement the food currently provided to individuals and families via the current food bank system. 

They produce a variety of high quality, nutritious produce items to those in the community who lack the financial resources to obtain food through traditional retail outlets. They grow, produce, and deliver the food, as well as provide education to community members about healthy food options such as how to cook and optimize produce on any budget.


Innovation Youth of the Year – Stormer Santana

This Sault Ste. Marie born and raised youth, now University of Denver senior student, has demonstrated a strong passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and mobile and web development. He is the Founder of Scoutr Sports, the first platform for athletes to anonymously rate and review their experience playing on competitive sports teams. The launch of this website garnered Canada-wide media attention, including a feature article in the coveted Hockey News and highly successful launch with users growing daily.

Following the launch of his business, he has maintained business operations in Sault Ste. Marie, recently hiring two interns to help with the business and returns home as often as possible.

Learn more about Scoutr Sports and