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Ontario creates innovation network for small, mid-sized businesses

A new industry innovation network has been established to assist small-to mid-sized businesses across Ontario in so...


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November 30, 2007 by Canadian Plastics

A new industry innovation network has been established to assist small-to mid-sized businesses across Ontario in solving technical problems faster, as well as moving products and services to market more quickly.

Funded by a three-year $3.5 million grant from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Ontario Research Commercialization Program (ORCP), the Ontario College Network for Industry Innovation (CONII) links 10 of the province’s top colleges located along the so-called “technology corridor” between Ottawa and Windsor: Algonquin, Centennial, Conestoga, Fanshawe, George Brown, Humber, Niagara, St. Clair, Seneca and Sheridan.

“The idea behind CONII is to turn a competitive college culture into a collaborative one[which] is a completely new way of reaching out to our small business community,” said Katharine Janzen, Chair of the CONII Steering Committee and Vice President, Research and Innovation at Toronto’s Seneca College. “Colleges have always maintained close contact with business and industry in order to provide highly-skilled, work-ready graduates. With CONII, we’re expanding that relationship to include applied research, development and commercialization services.”

According to the CONII mandate, each member college has created an industry innovation centre to serve as a primary point of contact for business owners looking for assistance. In addition, each college has agreed to participate in a central database of resources that can be made available to anyone who approaches a college, directing them to the most appropriate subject matter expert, regardless of location. In addition to the ORCP funding, which includes $609,000 for proof of principle research projects, CONII also taps into other government programs, such as the Toronto-based Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

More information about the CONII program can be found at www.conii.ca.