A former coal mining town in Cape Breton is getting a financial boost from 21st century technology by developing an app that will help consumers find and purchase a range of products online.

The Government of Canada is investing over $1.7 million in support of the local IT sector in New Waterford, N.S.The funding is allowing a Canadian company to have a chance to expand its programs in a community desperate for jobs.

The investment means more than 30 jobs will remain with another 49 highly skilled, good paying IT jobs in the works.

“I was in Halifax and there was nothing really coming up here for me,” said employee Andrew Sheppard. “This opportunity arrived and I jumped on it.”

The company, which set up shop in the town in 2013 specializes in an app that allows consumers to use photos to find and purchase products online.

“We license our technology and retailers put it into their apps and it powers a camera search function in their apps,” said Ted Mann, CEO of the company. “So you tap on the camera app and you can scan a barcode, scan a catalogue or take a picture of a product.”

Over 100 retailers have signed on to use the app, with big names like The Home Depot, Best Buy and Toys “R” Us. 

The technology will make shopping easier for the consumer and the seller.

“In the future people aren't going to be doing all their searching on desktop computers. They're going to be using mobile phones,” Mann said. “People do the majority of their shopping on mobile phones. Taking a picture or voice search are the new means of searching.”

The company's goal is to keep growing.

“I'm glad we're investing in information technology. I think that's a very important step in moving Cape Breton forward,” said Cape Breton Regional Municipality councillor Kendra Coombes.

It’s something many in the once thriving town hope will continue as they bank on reaping the benefits.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.