Innovation and early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs in southern Ontario are getting a shot in the arm and a boost in the wallet after a big announcement was made in Guelph last week.
There was a buzz at the Hanlon Convention Centre on Thursday as Innovation Expo, Guelph’s largest expo of its kind, took place and included a special announcement made by Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield on behalf of Navdeep Bains, the federal Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development.
At the event, which was in a tradeshow format and featured the innovations of about 100 seed-funded companies, it was announced by Longfield that innovative early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs in southern Ontario will have greater opportunities to develop, grow and export, thanks to an additional investment of up to $2.28 million in Bioenterprise Corporation.
The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announcement was made after a video was played that saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcome attendees. The $2.28-million from Bioenterprise will provide more than 50 additional start-ups with the tools they need to succeed, said a news release.
“One thing that it does, is it makes them able to scale up much faster than they would have (without the funding),” said Kithio Mwanzia, president and CEO of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce.
The funding can help businesses leapfrog their growth trajectory, transform their technology faster, get new employees and more, added Mwanzia.
Among those at the expo was Guelph-based Envision SQ, a company that creates innovative air pollution control technologies to provide healthier environments for families and communities around the world.
They currently have two products, the SmogStop Barrier, and a new one being released in 2019, the SmogStop Filter. The products feature patented aerodynamic designs and photocatalytic technology that effectively break down harmful nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds.
Envision SQ president and CEO Scott Shayko discussed SmogStop Barrier on Thursday.
“These are placed along, for example, major highways or roadways. So essentially right now where you would see a concrete noise barrier, this is where our technology would be,” he said. “You would replace that, but you would add that extra function of cleaning air pollution.”
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A pilot project with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario sees the trial barrier located on Highway 401, on the north side of the highway, just west of Bayview Avenue in Toronto, said Shayko.
“It’s done now and it’s proven to be very successful,” said Shayko. “MTO is going to be releasing a little discussion on the results of the study.”
On average, SmogStop reduces traffic emissions in downwind neighbourhoods by 58 per cent compared to a conventional noise barrier.
Envision SQ, which does a lot of work with the University of Guelph, isn’t benefiting from the funding announced on Thursday because they were a previous recipient and that has helped them, said Shayko.
Mwanzia was one of many in attendance on Thursday and heard from those participating, many who shared their love of Guelph — from the quality of life to the support they get from the community — and discussed their intentions to keep themselves and their businesses here.
“They feel supported in Guelph and want to stay,” he said.
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Author: Ned Bekavac