New Federal Program an "Innovation Game-Changer"

TORONTO, April 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The federal government is "walking the talk" with today's new $15 million innovation initiative for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), says the Chair of Polytechnics Canada, John Davies.

"This new program demonstrates that Ottawa understands the critical R&D challenges facing smaller businesses," adds Davies, who is also President of Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. "Fed Dev Ontario Minister Gary Goodyear's welcome initiative will create jobs for the small companies we serve, for our faculty and researchers, and most importantly for our students."

Davies said the federal government's Applied Research Commercialization Initiative has a number of other benefits. "The program will be time-sensitive," he said. "It will encourage R&D investment. And it will boost the growing research capacity at Ontario's leading colleges."

"In short, this unprecedented federal investment could become an innovation game changer."

Polytechnics Canada, a national alliance of leading research-intensive, publicly funded colleges and institutes of technology, has consistently supported government backing of such an innovation program targeted at SMEs.

"Following the federal budget's doubling to $30 million in annual research granting council funds for innovation projects involving colleges, polytechnics and SMEs, today's announcement reinforces Ottawa's realization that nurturing innovation among smaller companies is critical to Canada's economic growth," Davies said.

Craig Richardson, a private sector member of Polytechnics Canada's National Strategy Group, also applauded the new measure. "It will meet the critical need for front-end financial support when a SME is trying to bring a product or service to market," said Richardson, President of Grand River Foods of Cambridge, Ontario and a key industry partner of Conestoga College. "This stage is the riskiest part of the research and development process, just when financial institutions are typically reluctant to provide funding."

Speaking for the six members of Polytechnics Canada, located in key southern Ontario economic regions, Davies said they look forward to participating in the Applied Research Commercialization Initiative. "We intend to ensure that this program will be a tremendous success," he said. "Everyone will benefit - companies, Ontario colleges, students and graduates - as well as the economy."

Polytechnics Canada is a national alliance of Canada's leading research-intensive, publicly-funded colleges and institutes of technology. Located in Canada's key economic regions, the current nine member colleges and institutes of Polytechnics Canada are: Humber, Conestoga, Sheridan, George Brown, Seneca, and Algonquin College in Ontario; SAIT Polytechnic, and Olds College in Alberta; and British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in British Columbia.

SOURCE Polytechnics Canada

For further information: For further information: Nobina Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, Polytechnics Canada, Tel: (613) 558-3181, Email: nrobinson@polytechnicscanada.ca

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