“The business advisory team at Innovate Niagara has been amazing. Both Dave and I have had extensive experience in business over the last 20 years, but it’s really great to have people around you when you need help and advice, especially local advice. Innovate Niagara has been really good to us in this regard.” Greg Hanna
Innovate Niagara-supported company are new permanent residents of Canada, revolutionizing the way in which copper is produced.
Greg Hanna and Dave Cousins met eight years ago at a picnic in Johannesburg, South Africa – their homeland.
Fast-forward to 2019, Hanna and Cousins are permanent residents of Canada, revolutionizing the way in which copper is produced.
Hanna, an innate entrepreneur, started his first venture while he was still in high school and founded a company to export African furniture & products that created much-needed jobs in South Africa, working with high-profile clients such as Walt Disney and Target. Cousins, an accountant, led funding projects across the mining and beneficiation sectors with the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Ltd. The pair merged their entrepreneurial and corporate backgrounds to form what is now one of the most innovative tech companies in the mining industry – Destiny Resources.
Destiny Resources was founded in 2014 to create copper at low cost, without using electricity. With the increasing demand for copper as the world shifts to more electrification, comes a need to produce copper in a responsible, clean and environmentally sound way. Destiny Resources is doing just that, and they chose to do it in Niagara.
Upon receiving support from Innovate Niagara to bring Destiny Resources from South Africa to Niagara, the business partners applied for the Canada’s Start-up Visa Program, a program that grants permanent residency in Canada to foreign entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Canada.
In January 2019, Hanna and Cousins were granted permanent residency. “My business partner and I moved our families here in 2015. We were all in; we were going to make this work.” Hanna and Cousins were determined to make Destiny Resources a success, utilizing every support system around them. “We were blown away by how efficient the (application) process was start to finish,” said Hanna, adding that “securing permanent residency was a major hurdle to overcome and Innovate Niagara really helped us with that. With our permanent residency, life and business are far simpler.”
Hanna and Cousins are thriving in Niagara. They acknowledge how they could have ended up anywhere in Canada, but they chose to come to Niagara because it just made good sense.
“The business advisory team at Innovate Niagara has been amazing. Both Dave and I have had extensive experience in business over the last 20 years, but it’s really great to have people around you when you need help and advice, especially local advice. Innovate Niagara has been really good to us in this regard.”
Since arriving to Canada, Destiny Resources has received funding from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), to grow their company. “The government has been amazing in supporting our company,” said Greg. This government funding has allowed Destiny Resources to employ local, high-quality talent to advance the company and support the local economy.
Hanna and Cousins have access and exposure to a lot of talent by taking residency in BioLinc at Brock University. “We love it here. We have access to some of the greatest minds - students, professors and other innovative companies. Right next door toour lab is a company that can do much of our testing using their advanced equipment, so we work closely with them.”
In recent weeks Destiny Resources has received a major uptake in investor funds from friends and family type investors, as well as some from the Niagara Region, which Hanna found particularly encouraging.
Innovate Niagara has been a designated business incubator for Canada’s Start-up program since 2015. The Start-up Visa program is dedicated to foreign entrepreneurs with the potential to buildinnovative, scalable companies that contribute to the global economy. Since 2016, three innovative companies have been accepted through this program and have been successfully granted permanent residency.