Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre receives federal, provincial funding

CNA, Grenfell Campus create incubator/makerspace areas for regional business

1/17/2018 9:13:40 AM

CORNER BROOK – Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, and College of the North Atlantic (CNA) – Corner Brook Campus, will soon be home to spaces that will support business diversification and a stronger culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Thanks to funding from the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), and the Provincial Departments of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, and Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre will develop an incubator and a makerspace in Corner Brook. A funding announcement Tuesday was attended by MP Gudie Hutchings, Long Range Mountains, and the Honourable Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources.
ACOA is providing $874,162 in non-repayable funding towards this project. The Provincial Departments of Tourism Culture, Industry and Innovation and Advanced Education, Skills and Labour will contribute $203,962 and $87,375 respectively over two years. The total funding amounts to $1,425,320 over the two-year period.

“The Government of Canada understands that innovation is about new ideas and approaches that help grow our economy and develop a thriving middle class,” said Gudie Hutchings, Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA. “This investment supports new initiatives at the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre to foster a culture of innovation and business development in this region.”  

“Guided by The Way Forward, our government continues to create conditions to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation. “Through the Business Innovation Agenda, we are supporting the province’s innovation-driven businesses to grow, diversify and commercialize new technologies. The launch of a makerspace and incubator is a key component for network development on the west coast, and will benefit students, faculty, business and the economic community to help create and foster entrepreneurship through technology, innovation, marketing and research.”

“Students at both Memorial University of Newfoundland's Grenfell Campus and at College of the North Atlantic, along with entrepreneurs on the west coast, will benefit from the resources, expertise and support of Navigate’s expansion, with the development of a makerspace and a business Incubator,” said the Honourable Al Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour. “Through partnership and collaboration, students and business startups will be better able to turn their innovative ideas into exciting new business opportunities, supporting our government's efforts through The Way Forward to encourage private sector job creation and economic growth.”

A makerspace is defined as a collaborative, community-based workspace stocked with tools and materials for people to experiment and create new things.  Although there are many variations of makerspaces, the key concepts include collaboration, community and creativity. An incubator is a place to nurture, support and expand business start-ups. As with makerspaces, incubators take on many forms and functions depending on the needs of the local entrepreneurial community. 
Navigate is a partnership of Grenfell Campus and College of the North Atlantic – Corner Brook Campus. This joint initiative has allowed both institutions to gain expertise in assisting the Corner Brook region by providing entrepreneurship education, one-on-one business start-up support, networking opportunities and business related resources. The makerspace will be housed at Grenfell Campus, while CNA’s Corner Brook campus will host the incubator.
“We are excited to provide an opportunity for people to develop creativity and ingenuity when it comes to entrepreneurship,” said CNA President and CEO Dr. Bill Radford. “We all know there are challenges when it comes to business start-ups, and through this initiative, CNA will provide the space, business skills training and support services for entrepreneurs to nurture their ideas into tangible business models.”
“Makerspaces and incubators are open and accessible places in which people construct knowledge and interact with new ideas,” said Dr. Jeff Keshen, vice-president, Grenfell Campus. “We are grateful to the federal and provincial governments for their investment in this initiative, which will bring awareness and opportunity to potential and existing businesses and promote entrepreneurship and innovation in this area of the province.”
The makerspace and the incubator will have two full-time employees and will rely on students to assist in the operation of the two entities – a perfect experiential learning opportunity for students.
Media contacts:
Pamela Gill                                                                          
Communications manager                                           
Grenfell Campus                                                               

Michelle Jesso
Communications Specialist
College of the North Atlantic
Paul McGrath
Director, Communications
Tansy Mundon
Director of Communications
Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Jacquelyn Howard
Director of Communications
Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador