CORNWALL, Ontario – There is a new buzz at the Cornwall Innovation Centre (CIC) and the word is CREATE.
The innovation centre launched it’s new brand, name, and direction at an event at Esca on Friday, Oct. 25.
CREATE is an acronym for the Cornwall and Region Entrepreneurs Artists and Technologists Exchange, a mouthful befitting of the wide variety of services and resources the innovation centre hopes to provide.
Under the new umbrella of CREATE, the innovation centre will be moving into a new space in the Cotton Mills provided by the Weaving Basket Group.
Their new home will be 7,500 sq. ft. with 10 to 12 offices and more than 30 “hot desks.” In this new site, CREATE hopes to offer co-working spaces for entrepreneurs and companies, an event space, and a maker space.
The co-working space will have seven anchor tenants including the Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC), the Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB), Futurpreneur, LaunchLab, Shopify, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and RBC. In fact, RBC is financially supporting the co-working space, which will be known as the RBC Connect Centre.
The maker space will house equipment for entrepreneurs and creators such as 3D printers and laser cutters. Consultant Stephen Burke has been contracted by CREATE to setup the maker space, he had previously helped setup a similar space at the Ottawa Public Library. He estimates that a total of $65,000 in investment will be needed to fully fund the maker space, but CREATE is well on its way after securing a grant for $35,000.
In addition to these physical resources, CREATE will continue to provide post-secondary education through their Ontario Emerging Jobs Institute (OEJI) program which was started in early 2018.
CREATE Executive Director, and Cornwall City Councillor, Eric Bergeron has been working hard since he took over the innovation centre eight months ago on the re-brand that was presented on Friday. He characterized OEJI as being critical to the United Counties of SD&G and the creation of skilled labour in the region.
On top of their skills training, CREATE will continue with their work on helping entrepreneurs and start-up companies succeed, which Bergeron termed as their core mandate.
Bergeron pointed to a lack of start-up funding as a real barrier for entrepreneurs in the area. To help address this issue, CREATE has joined two “angel investor” networks, the Southern Ontario Angel Network (SOAN) and the Capital Angel Network.
Bergeron’s goal for CREATE is that all of its services be revenue generators and that the innovation centre will no longer have to rely on funding from various levels of government. OEJI was created with the help of a $477,000 grant from the province and the innovation centre currently receives $50,000 annually from the City of Cornwall and an additional $50,000 from the United Counties of SD&G.