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Innovation & Job News

New federal government SME initiative will invest $15 million in Ontario innovation, jobs

A $15 million innovation initiative launched April 19 in Oakville by the Federal Government's Economic Development Agency will help Ontario small- and medium-sized businesses partner with Colleges and Universities to bring innovative products and services to market. At the launch, federal minister Gary Goodyear said that the Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative would drive jobs and the economy.

The initiative will allow smaller businesses that would like to innovate to partner with post-secondary institutions who can help them with research and bringing new products to market. The funding will go to educational institutions that offer, according to an announcement, "services focused on improving innovation, productivity and commercialization to help individual businesses with pre-commercialization activities. These activities may include: product and process applied research; engineering design; technology development; product testing; certification; and pilot testing as well as proof-of-concept work for a partner business."

Almost immediately, the move was applauded by representatives of the academic community. Polytechnics Canada, a national alliance of publicly funded colleges and institutes of technology, called the new program an "innovation game changer."

Nobina Robinson, CEO, Polytechnics Canada says that this pilot project is significant for her members in that it recognizes the role community colleges play in driving practical innovation and developing the economy. "The reason [community colleges] do research is to help companies and to give our students hands-on experience," she says, not to rack up credits as is often in the case with universities. "It's applied science, applied technology, appllied health, and what you see is the federal government saying they're going to give us the capacity to help companies and advance the economy."

In a release, Polytechnics Canada chair John Davies called it a win-win. "Everyone will benefit -- companies, Ontario colleges, students and graduates -- as well as the economy."

Those interested in applying can find information and applications at the FedDev website.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Nobina Robinson, CEO, Polytechnics Canada; Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear

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