The Impact Centre at the University of Toronto and Northumberland CFDC are strengthening their partnership to support entrepreneurship and innovation.

The two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that brings the Impact Centre’s suite of business skills development training programs to entrepreneurs in Northumberland CFDC’s N1M and N100 programs.

“We are strengthening opportunities for our clients by expanding our partnership with the Impact Centre, bringing into the mix an exceptionally talented and motivated group of scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Northumberland CFDC Executive Director, Wendy Curtis. “Our vision, guided by the Government of Canada’s Community Futures Program, is to increase the density of rural-urban linkages and create new pathways for collaboration.”

With the support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, this agreement builds on the existing connection between the two organizations and helps to intensify the interaction of startup networks.

“The Northumberland CFDC team is doing an amazing job on the N1M program. This partnership combines our resources and solidifies our commitment to continue to serve startup companies across Ontario,” says Dr. Richard McAloney, Director of Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at the Impact Centre.

With over 8 years of experience working with technology-based entrepreneurs and helping over 130 teams, the Impact Centre will run a series of intensive and interactive workshops in Northumberland beginning this Fall, including intellectual property strategy, market identification and analysis, startup financing and pitching to investors.

Peer to peer mentorship and strategy support has already begun, as Impact Centre staff and the founders of Steadiwear Inc. and iMerciv Inc. travelled to Port Hope, Ontario on April 11 and 12 to work with the 10 Finalists in the Fifth Annual N100 Startup Competition.

“It was a great pleasure to mentor the N100 founders developing such breakthrough technologies,” said Mark Elias, CEO of Steadiwear. “As entrepreneurs, it is always helpful to have fresh external eyes on product and market development strategies. As a bi-product of providing guidance, we were able to improve our own strategies and nurture mutually beneficial relationships with other Canadian tech entrepreneurs.”

Impact Centre companies are themselves benefitting from the Nothumberland CFDC programs. Two Impact Centre companies, Comfable and NuPhysics, were both Top 5 Finalists in the 2016 N100 Startup Competition where they were able to further refine their business plans, pitches, and benefit from local manufacturing expertise in Northumberland. Both hardware startups were featured at last year’s Tri-Association Manufacturing Conference in Cobourg.

“Often exurban and metro innovation networks remain isolated from each other. But the possibilities are endless when you bring entrepreneurs together to solve problems, build partnerships, share expertise and advice, make introductions and help each other accelerate their startups’ success,” said John Hayden, who leads the N1M initiative at Northumberland CFDC. “We are very much looking forward to growing our collaboration with the Impact Centre and the exceptional community they have forged at the University of Toronto.”