FedDev Ontario invests in rural innovation hub in Owen Sound
$845,000 to expand rural accelerator to provide business services to local SMEs and create 50 jobs
July 26, 2021 – Owen Sound, Ontario
Located at the intersection of southwestern Ontario and the Georgian Triangle, with strengths in tourism, manufacturing and agriculture and an emerging digital media sector, Grey County is full of opportunities to empower entrepreneurs with connections, knowledge and space to take their businesses to the next level. Through strategic investments, the Government of Canada is building on regional advantages and supporting rural entrepreneurs to commercialize their ideas and create jobs locally.
Today, Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages), announced an $845,000-non-repayable FedDev Ontario contribution for Grey County, in partnership with Catapult Grey Bruce, to enhance service offering and business programming at the Sydenham Campus Regional Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Centre in Owen Sound. This investment will support 75 businesses, produce 10 new products and services, create 50 new jobs and will leverage an additional $1.8 million in private investment for the region.
Through this project, Grey County will establish a maker space and device lab at the Sydenham Campus Regional Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Centre, with 3D printers and prototyping equipment to support SMEs to develop STEM skills, integrate new technologies, and commercialize their products. The investment will also support two new programming streams: acceleration programming for established companies; and incubation programming for newer businesses, benefitting from access to the maker space.
The Sydenham Campus Regional Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Centre is also home to not-for-profit business accelerator Catapult Grey Bruce. FedDev Ontario’s investment will allow Catapult Grey Bruce to offer tailored business support to help the growth and success of entrepreneurs across Grey County and neighboring rural communities.
The partnerships established through the project will also advance diversity and inclusion goals in this rural setting, including through a focus on connecting youth, newcomers to Canada and nearby First Nations with entrepreneurship opportunities.
“By collaborating with Grey County and its partners, we are supporting important parts of our region’s economy to stay strong, while bringing new innovators into the market and helping them commercialize their ideas, all while creating 50 jobs locally.”
- Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages)
“As Canada recovers from the impact of the pandemic, we are partnering with local leaders like Grey County and its many collaborators to foster the right conditions for 75 businesses and entrepreneurs to grow, stay local and build back better together. We will continue to support their efforts to strengthen and grow their local economies and create good jobs across southern Ontario.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“Creating fabrication and maker space labs allows the Sydenham Campus and Catapult to offer entrepreneurs a place to protype and experiment, as well as offer training on leading-edge technology. FedDev Ontario funding is outstanding news and we are delighted the federal government recognizes the importance of rural entrepreneurs in the region.”
- Selwyn Hicks, Warden, Grey County
“FedDev Ontario’s investment will allow us to engage more businesses and implement programming to help regional businesses scale and grow in Grey and Bruce counties.”
- Courtney Denard, Chairperson, Catapult Grey Bruce
Grey County was named to the Top Seven Global Intelligent Communities of 2017 by the Intelligent Community Forum. It is home to more than 10,000 businesses, 25 percent of which are self-employed.
Catapult Grey Bruce is a not-for-profit organization committed to creating a dynamic and thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem in Grey Bruce.
Mentorship and acceleration will be provided through Fast Lane Plus, a program developed for SMEs and licensed from Innovation Guelph.
This project facilitates collaborations amongst key economic development partners in the region, including: Grey County, Bruce Community Futures, Georgian College–Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre, Innovation Guelph, Grey County Small Business Enterprise Centre, City of Owen Sound, Bluewater School Board, Grey Bruce Catholic School Board, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, BDC, Futurpreneur, Grey Bruce Technology Network, YMCA Employment Services, Blue Water Angel Investors Group, Startup Canada and Four County Labour Market Planning Board.
Since 2015, FedDev Ontario has funded 40 projects totaling more than $30 million in the Grey Bruce area.
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
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