A Timmins innovation centre has rebranded and is launching new services.
Link North is the new name for the Productivity and Innovation Centre.
“Prior to today, we basically had one flagship program – productivity assessment implementation program – so it was a program that assisted existing businesses in targeted sectors only and it provided funding through two phases of development," said Ross MacDonald, Timmins Economic Development Corp.'s (TEDC) business development specialist.
"With our new programming, we’re now able to expand that support. We’re able to support businesses from the early stages of commercialization."
One of the major differences, explained programs manager Sylvie MacPhail, is shifting the focus to being customer-centric.
The seven target sectors served by the centre are: value-added forestry products and services, mining and industrial services, agri-food, clean technologies, IT, health sciences and advanced manufacturing.
“But, we’re opening it up to all sectors, though. If they really do have something that’s quite innovative as far as a product or service idea or a business model that’s quite different, then we’re open to also serving those types of clients as well,” she said.
Earlier this year when COVID-19 hit, MacDonald said they were in the beginning stage of developing the new programming and services.
The pandemic brought to light changes, he said, noting the virtual launch of the rebrand, and a new workshop series being delivered online.
For businesses, he said the rebrand is going to fit well with the changes prompted by COVID-19.
He said their programming fits with entrepreneurs looking to diversify and innovate.
“So maybe now with the way things are, they’re not getting the sales and revenue they would normally get in Timmins and the region so maybe they have to look at outside markets for their service. And our programming and services and our supports, we can really work with entrepreneurs and businesses to adapt,” he said.
Link North is co-located with the TEDC and Business Enterprise Centre in downtown Timmins.
Potential clients have to complete a questionnaire.
“And we’ve created what we call a one-stop shop so if a person completes our questionnaire and they may not be a Link North client, they’re probably going to be able to be serviced by the Business Enterprise Centre and we’ll refer them immediately there,” he said.