Kelowna-Lake Country Ron Cannan completed his triple-header of grant funding announcements through the Western Economic Diversification Canada program with a $630,000 investment for UBC Okanagan’s assistance to strengthen the B.C. wine industry’s export readiness and global identity for international growth.
The funding will allow the B.C. wine industry to: clarify and promote B.C.’s unique identity as a wine region; gather intelligence from international trade shows; host workshops, symposiums and towns halls; and develop online tools to strengthen collaboration between key industry players.
The global wine market holds great potential for an emerging wine region such as that found in B.C., said Cannan. By improving the industry’s capacity and raising its international profile, this project will ensure that B.C. wine remains competitive and ready to take on new opportunities.
“Universities have a fundamental role to play in driving economic development, including through knowledge creation and transfer in partnership with industry. Working with the B.C. wine industry, UBC will serve as a convener for the sector and international experts to come together to create an expanded, globally competitive wine region,” said Deborah Buszard, deputy vice-chancellor and principal of the UBCO campus.
The Kelowna Innovation Society will be the recipient of a $3.4 million federal grant to build out, equip and operate the publicly-funded space at the Okanagan Centre for Innovation.
The centre is currently under construction next to the downtown Kelowna library branch on Doyle Avenue.
Boasting more than 24,000 square feet of space – that includes a business incubator, training and digital media labs, and presentation and meeting space – the OCI is intended to provide innovators, entrepreneurs, and emerging high-growth companies with direct access to resources, facilities, funding and mentorship.
“The centre will bring the Okanagan innovation community together under one roof, providing entrepreneurs and start-ups with the support they need to build their companies and create new job opportunities,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan.
“Moreover, the centre will also further establish the Okanagan region as a leading technology centre, helping to increase trade, raise national and international awareness, and attract and retain new talent.”
– The Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna–Lake Country
“The development of the Centre for Innovation will add tremendous value to the entire Okanagan technology community and further establish the region as the best place for entrepreneurs to start and grow innovative, creative and technology-focused companies,” added Jeff Keen, vice-president and director of the Kelowna Innovation Society.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the government of Canada on this exciting project.”
A Kelowna technology development firm is applauding $1.1 million in federal funding allocated to promote Western Canada defence and security based industries.
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan made the announcement this morning at the headquarters of Helios Global Technologies in Kelowna.
Helios chief executive director Martin Cronin said the funding will allow opportunities for companies like his to market their products on a global selling scale and collaborate partnerships with other companies.
“Everything we do is resource intensive and highly technical. We need partners…and meeting people face-to-face is vital for what we need to do,” said Cronin, citing how the company’s new armourgel impact protection product has involved working together with a U.S. major defence contractor for marketing and UBC Okanagan for research.
Cronin said the armourgel product has military capabilities for ballistic and bomb blast protection, and also has applications now under development for use as sports equipment and in heavy industrial settings.
The $1.1 million, made available through the Western Economic Diversification fund, will be directed to increase the presence of western Canadian defence and security industries at international defence procurement events.
With this funding, CADS (the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries) will establish a Canada Pavilion at eight key international defence and security product showcase trade shows.
The pavilion will be branded, and feature booth space, a lounge and private meeting rooms. In addition, CADSI will develop two trade missions to Asia-Pacific and/or South American countries, based on industry and market priorities.
Cronin said for companies like Helios, it allows them to be subsidized to attend these trade shows and mix with the people they need to meet to sell their services and products.
“It’s a great opportunity to have everyone in one place, and showcase what we in Western Canada in particular have to offer. It saves the time and expense of having to fly all over the world for one-off meetings,” Cronin said.
Tracy Medvy, president of KF Aerospace in Kelowna and a member of the CADSI board, said Canada’s security and defence industry generated $12.6 billion with half of that coming from product and service exports. She added the industry employs 109,000 people across the country in “high value jobs.”
She said the pavilion funding commitment in support of CADSI’s 1,000 corporate members sends a signal that opportunity to expand Canada’s slice of the international defence and security market can be increased.
“When they see that giant maple leaf on our pavilion, it will naturally draw people to us at these conventions,” Medvy said. “We will be able to meet buyers, network and generate leads through hard work and perseverance—something we Canadians are really good at,” she said. “We will be able to showcase our goods and services at high profile events in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East.”
Cannan was expecting to make further funding announcement via the Western Diversification Canada fund this afternoon to do with wine product research at UBC Okanagan.