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Provincially funded report suggest a pivot for Innovation Centre

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By Nick Seebruch
Provincially funded report suggest a pivot for Innovation Centre
Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell presented the CCFDC with a plaque on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, for winning an OTF grant to conduct a study on entrepreneurship. Pictured from left-to-right are study author Jamie Tyrell, CIC Board Member John Rattary, MPP Jim McDonell, CCFDC Executive Director Leslie Thompson, CIC Board Chair Martha Woods and CIC Executive Director Eric Bergeron (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – A report commissioned by the Cornwall Community Futures Development Corporation (CCFDC) and funded through an Ontario Trillium Fund (OTF) grant, lays out a new way forward for Cornwall’s Innovation Centre (CIC) and entrepreneurship in Cornwall and the surrounding area.

The grant to fund the report was around $35,000 and the report itself was authored by Jamie Tyrell.

Tyrell stated that his report studies the culture of innovation and collaboration in entrepreneurship. He said he visited six different innovation facilities across Ontario, some private and others public-private partnerships.

Based on the report, the CIC has announced that it will be shifting it’s business model to focus more on creating a co-working space for entrepreneurs.

“The goal is supporting start-ups in Cornwall,” said CIC Executive Director Eric Bergeron. “We want to go from helping start-ups to housing start-ups. Once we have that ecosystem, it will bring in more start-ups.”

A part of this pivot will mean a move for the CIC into a new location. The report suggests a few different locations in Cornwall which would better serve the CIC as a co-working space. Some new locations considered include Dekes and Squeaks new Pitt and First streets, the Cotton Mills in Le Village and the empty lot on the corner of Pitt and Second streets.

Cornwall was recently ranked 124th out of 125th, just ahead of Pembroke, for creating an environment conducive to entrepreneurship in a recent report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Bergeron states that this report shows the way forward for better entrepreneurial opportunities in Cornwall.

“Everyone wants to do something to help entrepreneurs in this city,” he said. “This study shows this is possible and we are going to take this and act on it.”

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