The Open House featured speakers representing those that have assisted in the development of ESIC, including John Knight, Manager, Corporate Research Partnerships at Trent University; Michael Skinner, President & CEO at Innovation Cluster; and Scott Mancini, Vice President Commercial at RBC.
Scott Mancini, Vice President Commercial, RBC, speaking at Open House (John Knight at left & Michael Skinner at right)
Through ESIC, students and aspiring entrepreneurs will be able to meet at the centre with Alexandra Kuhne (Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Centre Coordinator at Trent University) and Braden Clark (Innovation Specialist at the Innovation Cluster) to gain business mentorship and community connections.
Michael Skinner noted at the Open House that the Innovation Cluster is happy to further support youth entrepreneurship through ESIC. Throughout 2018, the Innovation Cluster supported 46 youth (18 - 29) entrepreneurs in growing their business through mentorship, incubation space, mentorship and more.
John Knight noted the importance of having a centre where students can improve their “soft skills”—a trait that multiple studies over the past year have shown is what graduates lack most in the workforce. “Entrepreneurial skills can be implemented in any career,” says Knight.
A way to teach these skills will include training programs, which is made possible by RBC. Scott Mancini, Vice President Commercial of RBC, noted they are excited to support these programs and create meaningful opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
Trent University’s Bata Library had a grand opening on Friday (November 16th) to celebrate its renovated space. Community members, donors and partners including the Innovation Cluster were present to celebrate the launch.
The library is now a host of the Entrepreneurship & Social Innovation Centre, a collaboration between the university, FastStart Peterborough and the Innovation Cluster.
Photo courtesy Innovation Cluster
The Innovation centre, which is located at the main entrance of the Bata Library, will focus on supporting students aspiring to enter entrepreneurship right on campus. An Innovation Specialist from the Innovation Cluster will be on site every Friday, and over time skills training, workshops and other events will be implemented.
“Through this new centre, students at Trent University will be able to access an environment of entrepreneurship on campus, and have mentorship available to kick-off their initial business planning,” says Michael Skinner, President & CEO, Innovation Cluster.
Photo courtesy Innovation Cluster
"The new Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Centre will allow Trent students to have access to community resources on campus that will both bring awareness to entrepreneurship opportunities as well as implement skills training,” adds John Knight, Manager, Research Partnerships, Trent University.
Opening Day at the new Peterborough Public Library (345 Aylmer St. N.) took place Tuesday, January 30th, with hundreds of people checking out the beautiful renovations, which took place 18 months to complete.
The modernized version offers additional community space for programs and meetings, a redesigned Children’s Area, a new Teen Area, enhanced technology and more space to sit and read, or work. It is bright and airy. The library averages 20,000 visitors per month, and is sure to see a spike with this stunning new space.
Peterborough's Brooke Hammer, founder and CEO of Chimp Treats, has taken the drive and passion of her two startup businesses to hold a job fair through a partnership with Community Living—providing three employment opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The 22-year-old entrepreneur began her entrepreneurial journey after founding Take Flight, a business inspired when her brother with Down Syndrome faced community barriers trying to find meaningful work. Hammer started the organization to help those with developmental disabilities find independence, social interaction, purpose, and meaningful employment through day programs and services.
“I wanted my brother to be able to experience the joy, satisfaction and pride that comes with meaningful work and belonging to a community,” says Hammer.
Brooke Hammer Founded Taking Flight
Now working at the rapidly-growing Chimp Treats, an innovative health food company selling the popular “Nicecream” frozen dessert made entirely from fruit, Hammer is supporting a healthy lifestyle in her second startup.
Starting out the business solo, Hammer has now added two full-time employees to her business. Still needing to hire more, Hammer saw an opportunity to take her passion from her previous business and hold a job fair through the Community Living partnership.
Hammer and her Chimp Treats team are growing
“During my first meeting, I could barely contain my enthusiasm learning about this locally owned company Chimp Treats,” says Jen Edwards at Community Living Peterborough. “Normally companies aren’t knocking on Community Living’s door asking for people to come work for them with the offer of meaningful work that is competitively paid. After touring the factory and visiting their office at the Innovation Cluster, it is very apparent this company is offering a rewarding job.”
The job fair will be held at the Innovation Cluster, where Chimp Treats is based, on July 20th, offering a full-time inclusive employment opportunity to work with the Chimp Treats team. The three chosen hires will be trained personally by the CEO Hammer herself at their manufacturing location, and get to be part of the startup team promoting healthy lifestyles.
“I’m pleased to see communities becoming more aware of employment gaps, underemployment, and the need for inclusive opportunities for individuals with special needs,” says Hammer. “No person is the exact same, but the opportunities available to us should be.”
Peterborough Pulse is now getting recognized across the country as an innovative and engaging event. Indeed, Pulse took top honours at the 2017 Business Improvement Area National Conference hosted by the Ontario BIA Association in Toronto on April 3rd, winning the award for Large Special Events & Promotions.
“Pulse has become one of our most exciting events and it’s wonderful to be recognized by our peers from BIAs across the country and show what Peterborough has to offer,” says Terry Guiel, Executive Director of the Downtown Business Improvement Area.
(L to R): Sam Sayer, DBIA Board Representative and owner of Sam’s Place; Terry Guiel, DBIA Executive Director; Sue McDowell, OBIAA president; Joel Wiebe, DBIA Communications Manager.
Pulse is a vibrant, playful and active car-free corridor through the heart of Peterborough. For one summer day, the streets are filled with cyclists and roller-skaters, families pushing strollers, karate and fencing demonstrations, art and music, and more.
Congrats to the downtown on winning this award. Keep innovating.
To see more about what Pulse is about, click here.
The Innovation Cluster has announced $300,000 in funding from the City of Peterborough to assist in the operational costs of the new downtown incubator devoted to innovation and technology start-ups. The expanded downtown incubator in the VentureNorth building will put Peterborough on the map as a city for start-ups to grow and succeed.
Many people are surprised to find out that the Innovation Cluster is a not-for-profit organization that does not take equity in the start-up companies that it supports—a model that many other incubators adhere to.
As a not-for-profit organization, the Innovation Cluster relies on support from its major funding partners: the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Peterborough Region Angel Network, Trent University, Fleming College, and now the City of Peterborough.
The funding from the City will in part be used to subsidize the open concept space for start-ups that are accepted into the Cube for a period of time, reducing the financial burden of getting started for early stage companies.
Successful applicants will forgo the significant expense of rent initially to focus on other important aspects of building a company. The funding will also help to expand the Innovation Cluster’s unique programming that is designed to sky rocket clients' businesses.
The unique and modern downtown space provides entrepreneurs with an inspiring, motivating and collaborative environment to operate their start-ups out of with full time access to mentors, advisors and hands-on workshops. The renovations of this space are expected to be completed in early February.
With more than 60 incubated and virtual client companies (and counting), two locations and only four full time staff, the Innovation Cluster is looking forward to expanding its current operations to better serve these incredible future job creators.
“This funding will allow for the Innovation Cluster to focus on what we do best and help entrepreneurs in Peterborough and the Kawarthas,” says President & CEO Michael Skinner, who is ecstatic that the City of Peterborough has joined the cause to help entrepreneurs create new high tech jobs.
In 2010, Canada had over 100 operating business incubators. In these incubators, 900 client firms raised revenues in excess of $93 million while creating full and part-time employment for more than 13,000 people. The five year survival rate for incubator clients has been reported from 75 percent to as high as 87 percent, much higher than a start-up making a go of it on their own.