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Feds announce $3.2M for North Bay initiatives

Innovation Initiatives Ontario North and Innovation Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping will share in bounty
Anthony Rota, Nipissing-Timiskaming MP, announced $3.2 million for economic development initiatives on Feb. 3. (Photo by Chris Dawson/BayToday)

FedNor is handing out $3.2 million in economic development and innovation projects within the North Bay region. 

The announcement was held at Canadore College on Feb. 3. The funding is expected to help create more than 145 new jobs with multiple companies in the area. 

The $3,218,500 will support four initiatives led by Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (IION) and Canadore College that will support regional innovation, create jobs, and strengthen the economy of northeastern Ontario says a release.

"What we are seeing is existing companies expanding and innovating so that they do much better as far as manufacturing goes, creating new jobs and maintaining new jobs and this all comes together very well with this funding," said Anthony Rota, the MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming, who made the announcement on behalf of FedNor. 

IION, which is a Regional Innovation Centre that assists innovative entrepreneurs, startups, and existing companies, develop and scale, will receive $2.5 million for three strategic initiatives: 

  • $1.1 million under the Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF) to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) increase commercialization and boost productivity through the existing Step Forward Entrepreneurs Program (SFEP). The program provides up to $10,000 in non-repayable funding to qualifying businesses for sales and marketing, product development, or business enhancement initiatives. SFEP is expected to help 80 companies create 60 jobs and maintain 105 more;
  • $925,000 in JGF funding to build on its IION-Research and Prototyping in Development (iRAPID) initiative by helping up to 75 businesses accelerate commercialization activities for innovative companies that require assistance for a specific research and development (R&D) project. iRAPID will assist companies to develop locally-made products, processes, or services and encourage "Made in Canada" solutions. Up to 45 new jobs are expected to be created with an additional 80 maintained; and
  • $473,500 JGF funding to support businesses to increase their productivity and competitiveness while accelerating commercialization by implementing phase three of the Skills Development Placement Program (SDPP). The SDPP provides qualified workers with a 16-week work placement and matches them with innovative companies to gain hands-on experiences and develop transferable skills in a risk-free environment. Over a 3-year period, it is expected that the SDPP will create 40 full-time contract positions and maintain another 60 jobs.

On top of that, Canadore College will receive FedNor funding of $750,000 through the Regional Growth Through Innovation Fund to implement the Responsive Innovation 4.0 (RI 4.0) initiative which will enhance the regional innovation ecosystem and support critical applied research needs. The initiative will meet the innovation needs of Northern Ontario businesses and organizations by increasing their capacity for scale-up and product development. Canadore's Innovation Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping (ICAMP). 

George Burton, president of Canadore College, is grateful for the continued support of FedNor.

"The funding announced today by Minister Hajdu and MP Rota will give ICAMP the capacity to engage in projects that responsively meet the innovation needs of local and regional businesses and organizations in Northern Ontario," said Burton.  

The funding announced is provided through FedNor’s programs, which provide financial support to projects that lead to job creation and economic growth, and through which FedNor works with businesses and community partners in hopes of building a stronger northern Ontario.

— BayToday