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Cornwall's new innovation centre is open for business

Nick Seebruch

Published on April 7, 2017

Mayor of Cornwall Leslie O'Shaughnessy pointing in the direction of the sign of Cornwall's new innovation centre (Nick Seebruch/ TC Media).

CORNWALL, Ontario - The entire community of Cornwall, Akwesasne and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry came together to celebrate the opening of the Cornwall Innovation Centre (CIC) on Thursday, April 6.

"This centre is all about creating jobs and economic development," said Lesley Lang of the Community Futures Development Corporation. "Part of the innovation centre is that it is a network of mentors."

The CIC is a partnership between a variety of organizations to promote economic growth in Cornwall, this includes strong support from Carleton University's Sprott School of Business.

The CIC will aim to promote growth in Cornwall through Carleton's Lead to Win program.

The program is aimed at promoting businesses with a high growth potential.

The Lead to Win program provides coaches, buyers support, employee funding for youth, space to work and more for start-up businesses that can prove growth potential.

In their firs 28 months of opening, the CIC hopes to help launch 15 businesses, assist another 150 and create 100 jobs.

"We are going to make Cornwall a highly attractive home (for entrepreneurs)" said Carleton Professor Tony Bailetti. "We are going to creat innovative companies here in Cornwall."

Bailetti outlined five goals for the CIC.

First, they plan on helping create five transnational companies every year and for each company to reach a value of $1 million within three years. Secondly the CIC wants to creat services for the benefit of the people of Cornwall. Third, to develop software here in Cornwall to get transnational companies started. Fourth, to make Cornwall distinct in the world of start-ps and finally, Bailetti explained that knowing is not enough and that the CIC had to also promote understanding.

Gerry Benson and Tom Kaneb were leading figures in getting the CIC started and their efforts eventually grew into a committee consisting of more than 30 people.

"On December 1, 2014, I was inaugurated Mayor of Cornwall, on December 2, Gerry Benson was knocking on my door to tell me about this innovation centre," said Mayor Leslie O'Shaughnessy. "This was truly a community effort and I don't think it will end here."