Making space for big ideas

News release

Federal and provincial governments support innovation hub for Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus in Western Newfoundland

September 11, 2023 · Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Atlantic Canada is known for its innovative startups that generate sustainable solutions and good jobs that fuel the economy. The Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador are investing to help Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Grenfell campus (Grenfell) strengthen its Navigate Incubator and Makerspace to deliver more opportunities and resources for entrepreneurs in Western Newfoundland.

Collaborative makerspace will support startup success

Today, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, along with the Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills, on behalf of the Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, announced a non-repayable contribution of $1,156,000 to Grenfell.

This will support the Navigate Incubator and Makerspace—a partnership between Grenfell and College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Corner Brook campus—with general operations and programming. The space, located in the Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI), will be outfitted with specialized equipment for training areas, carpentry and welding shops, and the clean makerspace. This project will further develop the innovative and entrepreneurial culture throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

Today’s announcement highlights the Government of Canada’s commitment to building a more thriving, sustainable and competitive economy with Canadian-created solutions. 


“Atlantic Canada is full of great minds with a talent for ingenuity. In the Long Range Mountains, and across Newfoundland and Labrador, we are seeing startups generate game-changing ideas that wind up on the global stage. We’re doing our part to nurture that creativity, and help entrepreneurs and innovation flourish in our rural communities. This is how we create a strong, diverse economy that works for all Canadians.”

-   The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA


“Navigate Incubator and Makerspace places entrepreneurs in a vibrant setting with other risk-taking entrepreneurs. The collaboration we foster here will lead to stronger networks and more successful businesses for our province. With this investment, we will help create and support sustainable growth and economic opportunities in the region.”

- The Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology


“Today's announcement will help Grenfell and all our partners and stakeholders contribute ever more to the social, cultural, and economic vibrancy of the region. It will help the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre and the CRI to provide an exciting continuum of supports spanning entrepreneurial ideation, business planning, prototyping and launching. This investment means residents of the whole region, and their collaborators, have access to cutting edge technology, expert advice, and a comfortable environment in which to grow the next great ideas.”

- Dr. Ian Sutherland, Vice-President, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Grenfell Campus

“Partnerships, such as this one, are essential to further the region’s opportunities for economic development and address identified labour shortage gaps that are impacting today’s global job market. To have spaces and resources that are dedicated to nurturing, assisting and fostering innovative ideas and making them a reality means we are achieving our goals, as a college, to support learning and a career-ready workforce. We appreciate both governments’ investment in this shared vision as a result of this funding.”

- Liz Kidd, President & CEO, College of the North Atlantic

Quick facts

  • Gateway West, now known as Navigate, was established in 2004 at both Grenfell and CNA’s Corner Brook campuses to provide guidance, resources and an entrepreneurial community to increase student startups. In 2011, Grenfell partnered with CNA to expand services that lead to the creation of the Navigate Incubator and Makerspace now located in Corner Brook’s Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI).

  • The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) contributed $867,000 through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.

  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Department of Industry, Energy and Technology, contributed $289,000.

  • In January 2023, the CRI officially opened following an combined investment of $8.9 million, from the Government of Canada through ACOA; the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; Emera Inc.; the City of Corner Brook; and Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd.

Associated links


Kevin Lemkay

Director of Communications

Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development and of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Paul McGrath

Director of Communications

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency


Brodie Thomas

Media Relations Manager

Industry, Energy and Technology

709-729-5248; 709-725-3759

Pamela Gill

Communications Manager

Research, Graduate Studies and Engagement

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University


Michelle Barry

Communications Manager

College of the North Atlantic


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