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Summerside Xchange – helping commercialize innovative ideas

In 2021 the City of Summerside, building on the experience and success of Living Lab, formed the business accelerator the Summerside Xchange: a private-public sector collaboration to enhance support for early to mid-stage companies through their commercialization and expansion journey and to expedite growth through rapid product development, mentorship and financing. 
The Xchange aims to establish Summerside as a global leader in testing, validating and growing products and services for next-generation communities by utilizing the City of Summerside infrastructure, knowledge base and partners in the commercialization of innovation. The Summerside Xchange also seeks to partner with like-minded organizations and commercialization partners in the support of companies seeking to develop innovative products or services.
Compressing years of learning-by-doing into just a few months

Start-ups and existing companies working on new products enter accelerator environments for a fixed period of intense, rapid and immersive learning aimed at speeding up the product development cycle of their companies by up to 3X, compressing the time needed to introduce new products and services with “learning-by-doing” in-field market research and/or pilot customers.

The unique Summerside Xchange program is based on real-life test and experimentation environments in which start-ups, existing companies, researchers and developers work directly with the community and its infrastructure to advance product testing, development and integration in the real world.

One such company taking the next step in commercializing its product for the North American wind turbine market is WindTAK. How can wind farm operators and equipment manufacturers scale up in time to help meet the challenge of net zero carbon targets? A collaboration between a Polish engineering design company and the City of Summerside offers a highly innovative solution that could extend the life of existing turbines and make current and future turbines up to 15% more effective.

The people behind the technology are a Polish company called WindTAK sp. z o.o., whose roots are in the aero industry. Dr. Maciej Karczewski's CEO states: “We have developed a three-fold approach to improving turbines’ design, control and construction.” And while they are still a young company, they have already conducted innovative energy projects in conjunction with leading research and development institutes and universities in Europe and Northern America – including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Firstly, a new design of vortex generator, or aero fin, shaped to modify airflow around the rotor. These can be retrofitted to existing blades or incorporated into new turbines. These will increase energy output by up to 3% while minimizing vibrations, which can shorten blade life and reduce noise output.”

“Some of the vortices monitor loads on the blade and weather conditions. These send data to our cloud system, where it is collected and analyzed. The data enables operators to predict potential individual blade failures and so minimize downtime.”


Summerside Xchange’s role
WindTAK responded to a call from Summerside for sustainable energy innovators in early 2021, and after a review of their technology, including due diligence of market scale and exportability of their innovative solution, WindTAK was accepted as a member of the Summerside Xchange in the winter of 2021 to advance their ideas to the next stage. Fast forward to today, and WindTAK is now scheduled to install their technology at Summerside’s municipally owned wind farm and become their first North American customer. This pilot will help the company validate their technology for turbine blade efficacies and has already led directly to talks with several wind farm operators in North America.

“Prince Edward Island is unique ... it simplifies everything and turbo-boosts the time required to test and take our products to market.” Dr. Karczewski, CEO of WindTAK Canada

“Prince Edward Island is unique,” says Dr. Karczewski, “and the perfect location to develop new ideas and gain a foothold in the North American market. For an enterprise like ours, it simplifies everything and turbo-boosts the time required to test and take our products to market. We are in the process now of setting up an office in Summerside.”
WindTAK’s experience with Summerside exemplifies how commercialization partnerships can be obtained by using City-owned facilities to validate technology while growing our local economy. Although the Xchange is still young, having formed in 2021 and building on the Living Lab Program, we are proud of our recent accomplishments:
  • A formal relationship with 22 pipeline companies and three research agencies
  • Introduced three companies to Canadian investors and 2 companies to Canadian pilot partners and is currently working on a cleantech partnership investment model
  • Worked with more than 28 companies in reviewing their technologies, including the enrollment of five clients under Living Lab/Xchange validation trials in Summerside
  • Created partner collaboration activities to create relationships with local as well as global innovation and research organizations
  • Developed open innovation platform (Challenge Program) to proactivity seek solutions to City’s focus areas.    
If you are a local, regional or international company that would like to partner with the City of Summerside to grow your company in a rapid, fast-paced commercialization environment please contact Mike Thususka, Director of Economic Development, at: or


Remember Boom, Bust & Echo

When it was first published in 1996, Boom, Bust & Echo by Canadian David Foot became a national phenomenon demonstrating the power of demographics to help us understand the past and, maybe, more importantly, forecast the future. The book was on Canadian best-seller lists for over three years and warned about the coming population shift at the beginning of the 21st century.
Fast forward to late 2022: the latest figures from Statistics Canada, economists’ reports and general pundits, labour supply has become a major area of debate and discussion around the water cooler in all sectors of our economy.  Solid demand for workers and less than stellar labour force growth continues to strain our already tight labour market.  The challenge with our labour force constrictions is more than an isolated issue but critical to address in order to reach our full economic potential.  With PEI’s record low unemployment rate not seen since the 1970s, PEI continues to be challenged with job vacancies exceeding the number of unemployed workers as one of the many causation factors.  Diving deeper into the data, there certainly has been a collision of conditions leading to our current situations nationally and locally.
A Small Sample of our Employers Looking to Hire
BluWave-ai — Stack Software Developers
IO SolutionsBilingual Service Agents 
Funky FingerSoftware Programmer, Video Game Artists
Standard AeroCustomer Service to Machinists and Materials Controller
WorklinksBusiness Systems Analyst and .NET Full Stack Developer

The Summerside Office of Economic Development is working on various approaches to help fill the known labour gaps now, totalling over 400 positions in all sectors, from aerospace to Information Technology. Coupled with some innovative approaches of our private sector partners and industry associations, Summerside EDO is putting a concentrated effort in partnership with all groups promoting the various positions and downstream challenges of attracting quality labour supply to ensure their transition and “stickiness of retention” is smooth and seamless.
In recent surveys of Atlantic Provinces Business Leaders, several colliding issues have compounded our already tight labour challenges, including but not limited to employers seeing too few applicants, lack of applicant experience, and skillset mismatch. On the labour supply side, many cited issues are inhibiting job seekers from securing that PEI Job, including covid hangover, lack of housing, lack of support services, including childcare, general recruitment fatigue, and quality of place.
In an already tight labour market, add to the challenge the aging out of our labour force of our baby boomers (born between 1946 to 1964) moving to retirement and our generation Z (born between the mid-1990s and 2000s) are taking longer to finish school and enter the job market, as well as representing a smaller size cohort than those retiring, is straining an already complex labour ecosystem in Canada.

Interprovincial and international migration has helped the Island’s population growth and has assisted with some relief in filling labour gaps in our economy. PEI’s population grew by 5,930 from 2021–2022, represented by two notable categories, interprovincial migration and immigration, but supply is only part of the solution. Without addressing the whole ecosystem of “What an employee needs to live and work in a community,” from housing to childcare to access to medical services and so much more, we are only solving part of the problem. 
Anecdotal feedback from some employers continues to source the above as issues. Aside from the simple qualified supply, competition with labour opportunities has never been higher, there is intense pressure from the quality of place, and the overall awareness of opportunities and community is seeing higher competitive forces.
In Summerside, much like other jurisdictions across North America, a multi-faceted labour force and community integration plan are warranted. Indeed, targeted skilled immigration will play a huge role in addressing gaps in our economy. Still, it must be coupled with connections to post-secondary institutions, re-skilling existing labour, building a brand in the market of the opportunities and community amenities, and ensuring housing issues, transportation, spousal opportunities, and enhanced social infrastructure is part of the approach in being successful.
The sustainable growth of the Summerside business community and ensuring our labour needs and growth are less constrained by all the elements of success necessary to support our growth is a critical tenet of the work of the Office of Economic Development.  In 2023 we look to launch and collaborate on an enhanced approach to labour recruitment that achieves a sustainable and skilled labour market for Summerside employers.
Thanks for the heads up, David Foot, in 1996. Now we’ve got to get to work.


Summerside at UK climate technology show
The City of Summerside and our UK partner Cambridge CleanTech attended the London Climate Technology Show in London, UK.
With more than 150 participating companies, the London Climate Technology Conference’s goal is to be the most-important climate technology exhibition and conference, providing an exclusive stage for the entire sustainability value chain, including governments, global & regional companies, investors, academia and entrepreneurs to network and deliberate upon the ways to mitigate climate crisis through sustainable business solutions, disruptive technology and advanced knowledge.
The event, hosted at the London Olympia, featured an insightful conference agenda as well as an exhibition and meeting space for climate technology players from across the globe to showcase the latest innovations, sustainable products & solutions and a myriad of disruptive green technology services in front of an enthused audience from Europe and North America.
In advance of and during the Climate Technology Show, the City of Summerside met one-on-one with more than 20 UK and EU companies interested in understanding how they can partner with Summerside in the pursuit of Net-Zero in the reduction and elimination of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.


Businesses using Summerside as their launchpad into North America tap into a well-established support network with a municipally owned infrastructure including its own waste, water and electrical utilities. With over 70% of the City’s energy coming from renewable sources in early 2023, the City is a perfect location for developing new clean technology products and services. The City, through the Summerside Xchange Accelerator, takes an active lead by testing innovations, collaborating with the private sector as well as becoming a “Living Lab” – a real-life commercialization environment where companies introduce, test, and validate new cleantech products and services to customers for the North American marketplace.

Companies at the Climate Technology Show were also interested in applying to participate in Summerside’s Challenge Program. The program, led by the Summerside Xchange, is an open innovation approach to achieving long-term partnerships through addressing specific technology issues the City wishes to resolve, using open innovation methods with businesses. To understand more about the current Challenges, visit:

 Summerside Quick Facts


It’s hard to believe the Christmas season is already upon us, and most are preparing for a well-deserved rest with family and friends. 
On behalf of Neil and myself, it’s only fitting that we thank everyone who contributes to our local economy, collaborates on making Summerside a better place, and are engaged in all things Economic Development-related. We hope your holidays are filled with cheer and that Santa brings us opportunities to help ensure 2023 is even better than 2022!
Have a safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to a prosperous 2023.
Go Summerside!

If you are interested in learning more about investment opportunities, economic development support or growth opportunities, please call our Economic Development Professionals.
We would love to chat.

Alternatively, you can email us at
It could be 
the most profitable email you have ever sent.

Michael Thususka
Director of Economic Development City of Summerside
275 Fitzroy Street, Summerside PE C1N 1H9
M: 902.432.0103, E:

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