07 December 2013

FEDDEV launches new programs to support innovation, productivity

The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario on Friday announced a suite of new funding programs that will support innovation and productivity in the region. The Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives (SOPIs) are four programs designed to create and grow businesses, and foster public-private R&D partnerships & resilient regional economies.

These new funding instruments - totalling $530M - will go a long way to support private sector innovation, as enabled by innovation intermediaries in southern Ontario. Applications are available on the FedDev website, within funding to start in April of 2014.

FedDev Ontario has funded many important and innovative initiatives in the region.  George Brown College has participated in two FedDev funded initiatives: The Connected Health and Wellness Program and the Green Building Centre. Minister Goodyear was at George Brown College's Waterfront campus at our recent Applied Research Day to celebrate the Connected Health Wellness Project, where we sampled some of the recipes our Chef School students have developed in support of this innovative project.

The Green Building Centre, which features a new building and expanded applied research capacity, is already helping many entrepreneurs to access the talent, facilities, market and networks at GBC. One such success story is Garden Connections, who access our new Building Information Modelling Studio to create new market opportunities. Read "The business of beautiful: Gardens in the sky," a story about how the Green Building Centre helped landscape architect Fred Hann usher in the future of building.

This is just one of many success stories enabled by FedDev Ontario.

02 December 2013

NRC launches concierge service

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science and Technology, today announced the launch of the much anticipated National Research Council's concierge service. The concierge service is a one stop shop approach to enabling firms to access government programs, and was a key recommendation of the Jenkins Panel. As the NRC completes its transformation into a Research Technology Organization, elements such as the credit note voucher (launched in Budget 2013) and the concierge service will go a long way toward enabling firms to innovate by accessing a single point of contact for referrals and "warm handoffs" among partners who act as innovation intermediaries.

Our common goal is enabling firms to access support for innovation, and a service such as the NRC will deliver will add significantly to our collective ability to marshal the right support, at the right time. We have been working on a similar portal into the college applied research system - the P3RD site. Public-Private Partnerships for R&D are imperative to releasing the untapped potential latent in our polytechnic and college applied research facilities across the country. Linking our world leading scientists, our polytechnic and college applied research capacity, and firms requiring innovation support will boost overall productivity. P3RD provides a map based interface that connects firms by geography, industry sector, and assistance required. Matching services like P3RD will plug into the concierge service, giving all innovation system agents access to information about the capacity that exists to serve the needs of firms.

The concierge service is a very timely addition to the innovation system in Canada. Minister Rickford spoke at the recent Polytechnics Canada Student Applied Research Showcase, where he reinforced the value of connecting firms with the applied research services we offer. As Minister Rickford put it: "Colleges also play a leading role in performing applied research that leads to economic growth and high-quality jobs. Applied research equips students with the positive work experience and entrepreneurial skills needed in today’s knowledge economy. Small businesses that partner with colleges are often the primary drivers of the economy in their communities, bringing more innovative products to market faster."

By linking firms with the talent, technology and networks we help these firms innovate, while enabling students to acquire innovation literacy. We look forward to working with our colleagues at the NRC as the concierge system rolls out, and ensuring firms can get the kinds of supports needed to boost Canadian innovation and productivity.