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Oak Bay company to benefit from federal investment announcement

Oak Bay-based Barnacle Systems Inc. is one of several companies and organizations that will benefit from a federal funding announcement Tuesday.

Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan says Ottawa will provide $8.1 million to help grow the South Island economy, including companies like Barnacle Systems that specialize in marine technology.

Brandon Wright is the founder and CEO of the company. He says the business produces a system for boats where owners check in on the health of the boat from their smartphone, tablet or computer.

Barnacle provides remote surveillance and monitoring of everything from a burglar on your boat, to the status of its batteries, to whether an abandoned vessel has sunk.

Wright is a UVic grad who started the company six years ago from his mudroom.

“Ninety percent of our revenue actually comes from protecting RCMP, DFO, Canadian navy vessels, so we’ve expanded," said Wright from the Oak Bay marina, where his company’s office is headquartered.

"We originally were in 40 countries for recreational boating, but now support a lot of government and military vessels here in Canada.”

Some of Tuesday’s funding will go towards the not-for-profit South Island Prosperity Partnership that will help companies like Barnacle make further international connections through events like trade shows and conferences.

Part of the funding is also going to boost Indigenous economic development in ocean technologies.

“What we want to do is make sure Indigenous people are part of the blue economy,” said Christina Clark of the Indigenous Prosperity Centre.

The investments were touted as potentially creating as many as 800 jobs in the region.

“When you throw out opportunities, through those opportunities they’re going to create more and more companies,” said Sajjan after the announcement.

Barnacle Systems now employees 14 staff, all but one of whom are UVic grads. Top Stories

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