Solar Ship Inc. in Brantford

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Jay Godsall: I’m Jay Godsall; I’m CEO of Solarship Inc. At Solarship we build hybrid aircraft and they’re essentially buoyantly assisted bush planes. So if you take a bush plane base and you take an airship top and squish it flat, you get a nice big flat surface where you can put a solar panel on top, you get a huge surface for a wing lift and you develop a very heavy lift bush plane.

Brantford offered us a really good industrial base. It’s right in the middle of one of the most industrialized places in the world. There’s a proximity to what we call the triangle, so there’s a huge tech base in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, big manufacturing base. Just a huge amount of suppliers. For a small company it’s a big expense to move from Barrie to Brantford. The infrastructure attracted us at first and then the talent. You don’t really know, you sometimes hear there’s a lot of talent, a lot of mechanical, electrical and entrepreneurial talent around but you don’t know until you get here. You get a community of aviators and electrical people and mechanical people who don’t just know how to do things, they want to help you. That’s a huge difference for us.

Our partnership with the City starts with the municipal airport and because they’ve got a big aviation community that builds things, they have a lot of people who invent and build new types of aircraft, so they’re used to seeing new experimental aircraft and they’re very open minded to us. That’s really important to us. They give us a lot of space. They help us out. We need to be around people who are open-minded to expansion and ambitious ideas.

A number of people moved right away to Brantford from Barrie. All real estate, housing and industrial space is really reasonable in Brantford compared to a lot of other places. They love Brantford because there’s so much industry in the general area and there are so many people who know how to do industrial things. It’s a very industrious population.

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