Partnerships and Innovation

Office of Partnerships and Innovation
Office of Partnerships and Innovation

Learning the skills to grow and help create a cleaner environment

Clyde Coutts hopes that the lessons he learned in the Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation’s Wings Accelerator Program will help his company, Coutts Industries, market its innovative product – and fight air pollution in the bargain.

A tool and die maker by training, and a self-described “gearhead” who has designed and built engines as what he calls a “serious hobby,” Coutts has developed an improved version of the internal combustion engine found in most cars. Called the Clymax engine, it “produces up to 250 percent more horsepower” than other engines of comparable size. That’s thanks to a crankshaft technology that he himself developed and installed in a prototype engine he built.

A more powerful engine is interesting enough, but there is more to Coutts’s innovation than that. A more powerful engine is a more efficient engine; a more efficient engine is a cleaner engine. Develop an engine that lets a car travel two and a half times farther on the same amount of fuel, and you’ve also significantly reduced its overall emissions.

It’s not just about cars, either. “Everyone can use it,” he says of his technology, “all the way from a lawn mower manufacturer up to the builders of ship engines.” The reductions in CO2 emissions are potentially incredible. “This,” he says with some understatement,” is huge.”

But while his approach was “Let’s get this technology out there,” his challenge was how? How do you make the contacts? How do you raise the money?

Thanks to Tracey Snow, the business economic development officer for Lennox and Addington, Coutts had connections with Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation. When Rick Boswell there offered him a chance to join the Queen’s Startup Runway incubator and the Wings Accelerator program, both of which are intended for entrepreneurs like him who have a product but as yet no or small recurring revenues, he took the plunge.

“I could not have got where I am today without all the help from Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation and all of their associates. I will be forever in gratitude,” he added.

 “I didn’t know what to expect at first,” he says of the Wings Acceleration program. What he found were the lessons needed to take his product farther and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

“It was great learning what channels you have to go through to actually make your idea work,” says Coutts. “Elza Seregelyi and Andrew Jackson [the course coordinators], their depth of knowledge on how to start up and operate a business is just astounding.”

Despite the unavoidable isolation brought on by COVID-19, which meant that sessions were conducted via the Zoom online meeting platform, Coutts also discovered a community of like-minded people.

“It was so interesting to find out that I’m not the only guy who’s trying to stop pollution,” says Coutts. “Three of us basically we’re trying to do that. The other three were in the health care business but it was the same thing -- just trying to make the world better.”

 

The Wings/Growth Acceleration program was made possible with support from the Government of Canada to Queen’s University through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the Scale-up Platform Project which is led by Invest Ottawa in eastern Ontario and by Queen’s in the Kingston region.

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