FedNor is providing Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (IION) with more than $1 million to help local businesses commercialize new products and provide youth with entrepreneurship skills training.
In a May 23 news release, Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota said the funding would help maximiz(e) growth opportunities for manufacturing here at home in North Bay and across northeastern Ontario.”
Of the funds, $587,000 will be used to launch IION’s new Research and Prototyping in Development (RAPID) initiative.
The program is designed to help accelerate the development of new products and is expected to assist up to 60 businesses to expand or modernize their operations over the next two years. Up to 60 new products, processes and technologies could be created, and nearly 100 jobs are expected to be created or maintained.
The remaining $447,000 will go to the third phase of IION’s Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP). It provides youth aged 18 to 29 with up to 16 weeks of on-the-job entrepreneurship and skills training.
Since its inception in 2015, EDP has provided direct support to 51 businesses in Northern Ontario, which helped create 87 jobs and 12 new business startups.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates confidence in our organization and the work we do to spur innovation, support skills training and help businesses adopt new technologies and processes,” said Rob Deline, IION’s executive director, in the release.
“This important investment will help local firms develop new or refined products, processes or services that will deliver economic value for the people, businesses and communities of Northeastern Ontario in the form of jobs, growth and an innovative economy.”
The funding comes from FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program, which supports the growth of Canadian businesses, their expansion into new markets, and their adoption of new technologies and processes.