Innovate Niagara: Advancing Niagara’s Economic Transition
BY JEFF CHESEBROUGH
I am thrilled to announce that nGen has joined the Innovate Niagara Consortium and that, in addition to continuing on as CEO of nGen, I will also be taking on the new position of CEO of Innovate Niagara. Innovate Niagara is a cooperative group of key Niagara institutions dedicated to providing support services to advance Niagara’s economic transition.
Formed by Brock University, nGen, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), the City of St. Catharines and Niagara Region the goal of Innovate Niagara is to provide comprehensive business support to Niagara business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. This will be achieved by consolidating community resources in one place and creating a focused approach to business development assistance. Support services offered will include training, mentoring, networking and pairing enterprises with academic or research support.
Innovate Niagara was created to incubate business ideas and help grow a knowledge-based economy, and will combine existing assets with new services in order to promote entrepreneurship, employment opportunities and growth in companies of all sizes and stages of development.
I believe Innovate Niagara represents a fundamental change for the region, and will help kick-start important economic change. Over the past four years nGen has overseen considerable business incubation activity, established the Generator at one interactive digital media incubation facility, and has proven that great things happen when we provide support and resources to startups in the interactive digital media industry. Innovate Niagara takes that same concept and applies it to businesses from any sector. Here’s what some of our partners are saying about Innovate Niagara:
“This unified approach understands what we need to do in order to compete as a region in a globalized economic environment. We are headed in the right direction.”
- President Jack Lightstone, President, Brock University
“Innovate Niagara will promote entrepreneurship, and encourage business and job growth. We recognize the value of supporting initiatives which help to create the right environment for private investment and spur future economic development.”
- Brian McMullan, Mayor, City of St. Catharines
“The partnership created within this new organization is exactly what should be happening. Taxpayers have made a huge investment at Brock and the business-start-up-facility at Brock University is how the results of that investment will be judged. Small start up companies turning into larger one’s is what the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex was built to do.”
- Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament, City of St. Catharines
Innovate Niagara also plans to launch an open-innovation web portal in Fall 2012 to provide web-based incubation support to assist entrepreneurs and individuals from a range of business sectors, and at different stages of business maturity.
Earlier this year, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) provided $843,500 funding to Brock University to help create the new BioLinc bioscience business incubator, which opens later this year in Brock University’s new Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex.
BioLinc will be Innovate Niagara’s second incubator, joining the Generator the one powered by nGen. Steve Boese and Dan Lynch have joined the Innovate Niagara team to help manage and grow these endeavours, Steve and Dan will be assuming their roles as new managers of the Generator at one and BioLinc respectively. Welcome Steve and Dan! For more information, please visit: ngen-niagara.com or brocku.ca/biolinc and be sure to check out the portal at innovateniagara.com, launching Fall 2012.
Chief Executive Officer, nGen