Ignite Announces Initiative to drive Export & Startup Growth


Gleaner Column

Chapter 7 - Ignite Announces Innovative Initiative to drive Export & Startup Growth

As the steward of the community’s economic development strategy, Vision 2020, Ignite Fredericton reported the creation of 410 direct jobs (156 indirect) and 55 new startups since January 2015 at the Vision 2020 Progress Summit on June 8th. 

Ignite also reported on key strategy deliverables including: the integration of Ignite Fredericton, Planet Hatch and Knowledge Park into one operational organization, driving the creation of an entrepreneurial hub, an investment attraction strategy and toolkit, new export acceleration program, and partnership with the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Business Administration program.

As part of the collaborative partnership with the University of New Brunswick, programming for the  Activator programming will be incorporated into Planet Hatch enabling an experiential learning experience for the students.

Ignite Fredericton also launched its export acceleration program called Export Igniter. The Igniter will commence January 2017, and run as a 12-week program enabling export-ready companies to develop their export strategy to expand to new markets.  This initiative is being executed in collaboration with UNB, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and OpportunitiesNB. 

The Export Igniter is an innovative, new initiative designed to deliver comprehensive programming, mentorship and resources to export-ready companies to ensure operational readiness as they develop their market-entry strategy.

The program will be comprised of:

  • An online self-diagnostic tool to assess export readiness;
  • Three day bootcamp with programming presented by topical experts and stakeholders in the export realm;
  • Ongoing mentorship from successful exporters; and
  • Through the UNB partnership, the company will be teamed up with undergraduate students studying export to assist in development of their market entry strategy .

In a recent Ignite Fredericton blog, Investment Attraction & Growth Specialist, Adam Peabody, cited “2014-15 international trade, representing more than 60% of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and approximately 1 in 5 Canadian jobs are linked to exports.  It is estimated that without international trade, there would be 3.3 million fewer jobs in Canada and that the unemployment rate would jump to approximately 25%. It is safe to say that exporting is not only vitally important for employment in New Brunswick but across the nation.”

In addition to the positive employment impact, companies that export:

Stimulate Innovation - When selling in the competitive global marketplace, it is crucial to differentiate your product or service by continuous improvement / innovation.  Exporters typically invest in research & development (R&D), which stimulates the knowledge sector and results in new partnerships and work opportunities at universities and research institutions. Often the new R&D can be replicated and applied across multiple industries.

Enhance the Workforce - Whether selling goods or services, most exporters require talent (high-value jobs) to develop their offerings, serve customers, establish global brand equity, and manage international regulations.  Higher paying jobs result in increased economic spinoffs (new houses, vehicles, general consumer spending) in the local community.

Increase Global Brand Equity - Through global business networks, exporters are thus increasing not only the community brand but that of New Brunswick and Canada. This increased brand visibility can lead to attracting new investment, immigration, and tourism.

Support Economic Stability- Serving multiple geographic markets enables a business to better weather an economic downturn in one market. For example, a business only serving the Greek market would be harder hit with the Greek economic crisis than a company playing in several geographic markets. Also, the more exporters in a community, the less likely that community will face sudden layoffs, bankruptcies, or out-migration.

In summary, businesses that export have major economic impact: stimulating R&D, increasing global brand equity, creating high-value jobs, attracting talent, investment, and tourism.

With the impressive number of innovative companies coming out of the startup ecosystem in recent years, Ignite is focussed on nurturing their continued growth.  By expanding our suite of services to include export acceleration, we anticipate significant job growth and return on investment.

In the coming months, Ignite Fredericton will be hosting information sessions about the Export Igniter, and opening the application process to export-ready companies. Stay tuned for more information.

Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS
Economic Development & Marketing Specialist
Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch

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Be Part of Fredericton’s Digital Revolution

As the economic development arm of the City of Fredericton, Ignite Fredericton continues to tout Fredericton’s well-deserved reputation as one of Canada’s most innovative municipalities. It’s a narrative that has attracted new businesses, investment and talent from across the globe.

From its adoption of ISO and Lean-Six Sigma for service and process improvement to its award-winning initiatives in community broadband and communications, Fredericton has consistently punched above its weight as a ‘smart city’.  But what is next for Fredericton?

The City of Fredericton has a vision to be a ‘Digital City’, which will see the modernization of government operations and service delivery to citizens. This will be the next leg of the journey to position Fredericton as the leading, innovative municipality in Canada.

This effort of modernizing government operations and service delivery falls into three main categories of business improvement through technology innovation, with the first step focusing on core processes and systems, followed by a focus on e-Government and then incorporating work in the field of innovation and connectivity.  If you have a solution, idea or digital process that will streamline any of the following areas, the City wants to hear from you!    

Core Systems - This will transform the way City staff work internally with new systems and IT infrastructures. It will enable standardized and efficient processes in order to respond to the rapid pace of technological change and citizen expectations. Core systems encompass:

  • Financials - Accounting, Budgeting, General Ledger, Purchasing, Accounts Payable, Billing (including Utility), Accounts Receivable
  • Human Resources - Payroll, Position Management, Benefits Administration, Performance Management, Training, Time and attendance leave Management.
  • Work Management - Work Order Management, Time/Activity Tracking, Asset Management, Inventory Management, Capital Project Management
  • Customer Request and Relationship Management - Service Request Initiation, Assignment and Tracking, Service Request History and Trends; Customer Knowledge Base.

E-Government - This will enable people to better connect, engage, and interact with the City in the same way they do in other aspects of their daily lives – as consumers, socially and in the community. E-government encompasses:

  • Online Services
  • Digital ID
  • Integrated Social media
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Connected Community - This will create a connected community by making data easily accessible, enabling online collaboration and participation from the public, and allowing for greater openness and transparency. A connected community encompasses:

  • IOT (Internet of Things) Integration
  • Open Government
  • Community Collaboration and Participation

As part of the community’s vision to be the ‘Startup Capital of Canada’ (Vision 2020 Economic Development Strategy), the City has already taken some very progressive steps as early adopters of technology, which has seen the digitization, pay-by-phone parking through HotSpot; monitoring the condition of the pavement through TotalPave; and piloting technology with ReadyPass to provide real-time transit route information.

Digital Fredericton will take us to the next level by digitizing and connecting things like water metres eliminating the physical residential visit to read them.  It will provide real-time response and information if a motorist reports a large hole in the road, where City staff can be immediately dispatched and the public proactively notified for traffic re-routing.  It could provide value-added service of planned snow removal and garbage collection with real-time updates.  Perhaps someday, we could even see e-voting from our smart phones.  These are just some examples of what a ‘Digital Fredericton’ could be.

If you feel that you or your organization can play a role in all or part of establishing Fredericton as the most innovative municipality in Canada, we want to hear from you.  Please specify how you can contribute: partnerships, services, products, benefits, strengths, limitations, experience, pricing/cost estimates and any other information that you think may help in positioning Fredericton as a Digital City leader, providing exceptional services to its employees and residents for years to come!

For more information, please watch the video and visit http://www.digitalfredericton.com/


Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS

Economic Development & Marketing Specialist

Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch


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The KIRA's Are Coming


Gleaner Column

Chapter 6 – The KIRA's Are Coming and Celebrating Business in Innovation!

Building on our last two columns…Ignite Fredericton, economic development catalyst agency, has partnered with the federal and provincial governments to deliver three days of innovation-focused content during New Brunswick Innovation Week from May 3 to 5. As key innovation partner, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is funding these Fredericton-based events to target youth, academia/research and business.  

We have a stellar lineup of international and local speakers, and the best part is the programming is FREE with the exception of the KIRA Awards.  Don't miss this opportunity to network with industry peers; learn about innovative best practices and initiatives; and help us celebrate New Brunswick's finest in all sectors!

Thursday, May 5th starts with an innovation snapshot – showcasing major provincial projects.  Sponsored by BlueSpurs, Camil Samah from Amazon Web Services World-wide will then talk about how the cloud is changing the face of business by enabling organizations to save money while increasing productivity and agility to innovate.

Futurist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and best-selling author Leonard Brody of Clarity Digital will then deliver the keynote address about the ‘The Great Rewrite’.  He will speak about how we are living in a time of massive disruption, when revolutionary change is occurring at a frenzied pace. He says change, unlike before, is now happening from the ground-up with savvy entrepreneurs dictating everything from new technology, currency, banking practices to the ‘internet of things’.  This disruption has left organizations on shaky ground, struggling to engage consumers and employees alike to stay relevant. Those who adapt to this rapid change, allow themselves to be ‘re-written’ for modern day survival and prosperity. 

Following keynotes, there will be a networking lunch to showcase the 18 KIRA finalists.  This is intended to provide the business community with an opportunity to meet the finalists and learn more about their game-changing products and services.  Did I mention all of this is FREE?!

The evening of May 5th, New Brunswick will celebrate its finest at the 18th annual KIRA - hosted by Knowledge Park. You can still book tickets at www.kiraawards.com

This year’s KIRA Awards are stepping away from the traditional seated dinner to feature a high energy networking stand up dinner reception with food stations, world champion flair bartenders, interactive and musical entertainment by the new KIRA house band.  Guests can expect a Grammy Awards style experience complete with our first ever KIRA People’s Choice Award.

The KIRAs also now recognize outstanding achievement and innovation in ALL sectors, not just ICT.  Congratulations to the three finalists in the following six categories:

Industry Champion - Recognizing the efforts of an individual, company, or group toward changing the landscape of its industry in our province by raising awareness. This can be promoting the industry itself or its positive impact on communities and the province overall: direct community engagement, promoting the industry as a community partner or supporting community development. 

The finalists are:
Dr. Ali Ghorbani
Dr. Dhirendra Shukla
Keith McIntosh

Most Promising Start-Up - From a great idea to thinking outside the box, in technical or managerial terms, this award recognizes a company in business less than two years with something fresh to say in the marketplace or a new approach to addressing an old problem. Innovations impacting any industry positively are eligible to be nominated. 

The finalists are:
Eigen Innovations
ProcedureFlow: Gemba Software Solutions
SimpTek Technologies

Innovative New Product or Service (Private Sector) - Recognizing a successful launch of an innovative product or service by a private sector company over the past 12 months. Products or services could still be at the development stage however there must be some measure of success either identified or established. Companies investing in research and development of new technologies and innovations are also eligible in this category. Innovations impacting any industry are eligible to be nominated.

The finalists are:
Resson Aerospace
ThermalWood Canada

Economic Impact through Employment Growth - Recognizing a company or organization that has demonstrated sustained employment growth in New Brunswick which has resulted from market/product/service/revenue growth over time. In this specific case, the time period in question is the preceding two years. 

The finalists are:
Groupe Savoie
The Learning Bar

Premier’s Innovation Award (Public Sector) - Recognizing the adoption of an innovative new solution or approach for the delivery of a new or existing service over the past 12 months that has resulted in measurable cost reductions for government services. Public institutions including government departments, municipalities, universities and community colleges are eligible to apply. The innovation may also have been achieved through a partnership between the public and private or academic sectors.

The finalists are:
Cities of Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Service NB, Dept of Public Safety, Ambulance NB
Horizon Health Network – Telestroke
New Brunswick Cancer Network – Dr. Eshwar Kumar

Premier’s Innovation Award (Private Sector) - Recognizing the adoption of an innovative new solution or approach for the delivery of a new or existing service over the past 12 months that has resulted in measurable cost reductions for government services. Private organizations delivering services or solutions to the government of New Brunswick also qualify for submissions. The innovation may also have been achieved through a partnership between the public and private or academic sectors. 

The finalists are:
Malley Industries
Smart Grid Innovation Network (SGIN)

The business community is also invited to Research Day on May 4th.,12:00-5:00pm at the Wu Conference Centre.  Learn about leading-edge research and commercialization taking place at the post-secondary school level in Fredericton.  From labs to start-ups, join researchers, young entrepreneurs and students to see how they’re leading innovation in New Brunswick!

On May 3rd, high school students from Fredericton High, Leo Hayes and Oromocto will descend upon the Fredericton Convention Centre for an event designed to inspire youth towards a culture of innovation. It will feature innovation pioneers/thought leaders (Marcel LeBrun, David Alston, Karina LeBlanc, Greg Hemmings and Steve Foster), young entrepreneurs (Kayley Reed and Michael Go) and keynote speaker Jennifer Corriero, Co-founder of TakingIT Global and expert on the net generation, innovation and youth.

You can register for events here

There will be a series of other events occurring around the province during Innovation Week. For additional programming, please visit the provincial website

Economic Development & Marketing Specialist
Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch

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Another Startup is Growing their Team!

Lisa Kinney

Lisa Kinney, who joined Planet Hatch to make a mark on the Fredericton startup ecosystem, is now moving from supporting startups to joining one. She will be bringing her expertise in client outreach, business development, and operations to eChart Healthcare, founded and led by Amanda Betts.

Lisa joined the Planet Hatch team in January of last year as the Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator. During her time at Planet Hatch she expanded programming and events held in the centre, created new initiatives for the city’s ecosystem, and redesigned the space.

“My experience working at Planet Hatch has been inspiring,” said Lisa. “I love how passionate people are about their own businesses, and how the community supports entrepreneurs.”

eChart is changing lives with how families stay connected within their new life of long-term care. The founder, Amanda Betts, participated in Planet Hatch and Propel ICT’s Launch Acceleration Program in 2016, and was identified as one of the top companies to pitch at Regional Demo Day in Halifax. The Planet Hatch team is excited to continue to provide support this new tech company as they flourish and continue to expand.

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Air Access is Critical for Economic Vitality!

Excluding people - what is the lifeline of a community? I would argue that air infrastructure and services are so vital that without them a community can become economically stagnant.  

Air service and infrastructure means:

Ability to reach export markets for business expansion and growth.  In an export-dependent province, which generates over $12 billion in provincial GDP, air access is critical for the region, which encompasses over 4,186 businesses (Hoover 2016).

Ability to attract new businesses and investment.  Air access is a key variable during the decision-making process with site selectors and C-level executives.

Sector growth and cluster development.  The continued growth of sectors like information & communications technologies, bio sciences and engineering  relies on air access. The demand will only increased through the emergence of new areas like cybersecurity and smart grid.

More conferences and conventions.  Conferences translate to an economic impact of $324 per day per delegate, which means local spending (hotels, restaurants and shopping).

Increased passenger traffic through tourism/visitors, post-secondary educational students studying here, and newcomers/general populus.

Accommodating our large military community, whose personnel are dependent on excellent air infrastructure.  Currently, there are 6,500 military personnel and 1,000 civilians working from CFB Gagetown with a local economic impact of $220 million.

Originally designed to only accommodate 200,000 passengers, the airport exceed its  capacity over ten years ago. The Fredericton International Airport is shovel ready having completed the necessary studies and plans to commence construction.  Through sound fiscal management for over 15 years, they have also planned for a $10 million investment in this project, and are seeking partnership investments with the provincial and federal governments for the remaining $20 million.  

The airport has a significant impact on our regional economy generating $24 million in GDP, translating to  513 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, $15 million in labour income, $13.2 million in consumer spending, and $8.5 million in taxes (Tacit Elements 2016).  The airport expansion will also create an additional 572 FTE jobs through the construction - resulting in $41.5 million in GDP impact!

Despite capacity constraints, the Fredericton International Airport, led by CEO, Johanne Gallant, has done a tremendous job enhancing existing air services, as well as adding new flights like Porter Airline’s recent Fredericton to Ottawa connection.  This provides fliers with  increased flexibility and more options to reach customers, and makes the Region more attractive as a destination to do business, host conferences or to visit.  

In 2016, Fredericton’s Census Agglomeration population alone has grown from 98,000 (2011) to almost 102,000.    Add to this the Town of Oromocto, Local Service Districts and the entire catchment basis of the airport extending to Edmundston,  the airport’s capacity conundrum is only going to become more exacerbated , and will be a deterrent to enable future growth and investment.

We have witnessed what a state-of-the-art airport can do for sector growth when we look down the road to Moncton.   With excellent air infrastructure and access, they have been able to grow a booming transportation/distribution sector among others sectors.

Time is of the essence, and we urge our federal and provincial stakeholders to consider this a top priority for the economic vitality of New Brunswick’s Capital Region!

Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS

Economic Development & Marketing Specialist

Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch


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NB Innovation Is Something to Shout About


Gleaner Column

Chapter 5 – New Brunswick Innovation Week in Fredericton and Sector Spotlight on Biotechnology

It is time to celebrate innovation in New Brunswick!  Last month, we provided a glimpse of what is shaping up for New Brunswick Innovation Week taking place May 2-8, 2016.

Ignite Fredericton, the community’s economic development catalyst agency, is delivering three days of innovation-focused content during New Brunswick Innovation Week. The events will target youth, academia/research and business.  The KIRA Awards will be the celebratory, culminating event of the week, recognizing outstanding innovation and achievement among all sectors.

The Premier’s vision for New Brunswick Innovation Week 2016 is to engage New Brunswickers, and beyond, to recognize, celebrate and accelerate innovators within our province.  The New Brunswick innovation strategy focuses on building a “smart province” through open data, digital government and innovative partnerships like NB+ and growing public and private R&D investment with partners like NBIF, NBHRF, RPC, BioNB, post-secondary institutions, and advancing the innovation labs model to grow both social and technological innovation in the province.

During New Brunswick Innovation Week, there will be a series of events occurring around the province with the Fredericton-based events taking place from Tuesday, May 3rd to Thursday, May 5th as follows:

May 3rd Youth Day targeting high school students from Fredericton High, Leo Hayes and Oromocto.  The event is intended to inspire the students towards a culture of innovation, to carve their own career path, and pursue career opportunities where there will be future workforce demand.  This half-day event will feature innovation pioneers/thought leaders (Marcel LeBrun, David Alston, Karina LeBlanc, Greg Hemmings and Steve Foster), young entrepreneurs (Kayley Reed and Michael Go) and keynote speaker Jennifer Corriero, Co-founder of TakingIT Global and expert on the net generation, innovation and youth.

May 4th Research Day Learn about leading-edge research and commercialization taking place at the post-secondary school level in Fredericton.  From labs to start-ups, join researchers, young entrepreneurs as well as students to see how they are leading innovation in New Brunswick.

May 5th Business Day targeting the business community to look at how innovation can (and is) shaping our province.  The morning features keynote speakers Leonard Brody – futurist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, best-selling author and Emmy nominated media visionary, and Alex Coqueiro--Amazon Web Services.  There will be a casual lunch to showcase the KIRA finalists to give the public an opportunity to learn first-hand about these game-changing companies and organizations.

The KIRA Awards for innovation will take place during the evening. KIRA tickets

There will also be other events taking place around the Province. Visit our website for the complete schedule, and to register for events!

On the heels of our last article about cyber security, IBM just announced 250 new jobs in New Brunswick--100 specifically in Fredericton.  With the supportive infrastructure through UNB’s Information Security Centre of Excellence (ISCX) and the recently announced Canadian Cybersecurity Institute, we anticipate exciting new developments in this subsector of information and communication technology (ICT). And it doesn’t end there.

Continuing our journey of exploring innovation in our community’s growth sectors, as set out in the 2015 Ignite Fredericton Investment Attraction Strategy, we’re profiling biotechnology this month.

Did you know that New Brunswick has the most biomass diversity in Canada, and Fredericton houses the province’s largest cluster of biotechnology/biosciences companies? This is largely due to the convenient access to privately held forests, waterways (112 fish processing plants), coastlines, agricultural lands (only 5% of NB’s 380,000ha is farmed), and mineral deposits.  New Brunswick is well aligned for continued growth with Canada boasting the second largest biotechnology industry in the world and the lowest biotech business costs in the G7 countries.

New Brunswick has some unique differentiators to support and attract biotech business with eight biotechnology research chairs. In Fredericton alone, there is ground-breaking research taking place through UNB’s Institute for BioMedical Engineering, the Research and Productivity Council and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s R&D Centre-- to name a few.  Fredericton is also home to BioNB, working with Ignite Fredericton and Planet Hatch to help companies foster commercialization opportunities in the biosphere.

“Bio-refining and bioprocessing aimed at developing multiple products from biomass assets is a huge opportunity here based on our abundance of resources, diverse cluster of non-academic research organizations, skilled workforce, and availability of privately-owned assets,” says Meaghan Seagrave, Executive Director of BioNB.

We also have local companies, like Sylvar Technologies Inc, BioMatcan, BioPolynet, Doctor’s Orders, MyCoDev Group and LuminUltra putting Fredericton on the biotech map globally.  Just recently, LuminUltra announced the hiring of eight new positions to expand their global reach, currently in 65 countries. In 1995, LuminUltra pioneered a testing protocol, which shortened the time to obtain microbiology results in water samples from days to mere minutes.  Check out Ignite’s Business Profile of LuminUltra

There is a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow this sector – stay tuned!

Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS
Economic Development & Marketing Specialist
Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch

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NB Innovation Week & Cybersecurity


Gleaner Column

Chapter 4 – New Brunswick Innovation Week & Spotlight on Cybersecurity

Last month’s column was directed to the parents, policy-makers/politicians and educators, who are in a position to help shape and influence New Brunswick’s future.  This starts with early education - ensuring our children get the required skills to keep them on a path of realizing opportunities. Literacy is fundamental, as is equipping youth with digital skills, like coding, to meet the projected workforce demand for 182,000 ICT jobs in Canada by 2019 (ICTC).

So how do we inspire innovation to fuel our future workforce, and to create the Resson Aerospaces and Smartskins of tomorrow?  New Brunswick Innovation Week is a step in the right direction.

The Premier’s second annual Innovation Week will take place during the week of May 2nd, 2016.  On behalf of the Province and through the support of partners, Ignite Fredericton, the community’s economic development catalyst agency, is coordinating New Brunswick Innovation Week.

The 2016 week will comprise of innovation-focused content targeting youth, academia and business:

• Youth Day will take place Tuesday, May 3rd targeting high school students from Fredericton High, Leo Hayes and Oromocto.  The event is intended to inspire the students towards a culture of innovation, to carve their own career path, and to pursue career opportunities where there will be future workforce demand.  Ignite is in the process of confirming speakers for this exciting half-day event.

• Academia/Research Day will take place on Wednesday, May 4th, targeting the research and academic community.  It will also be open to the public, to give the business community an opportunity to learn about some of the leading edge research taking place at the post-secondary school level.

• Business Day will take place on Thursday, May 5th designed to showcase the 18 KIRA finalists through a mini trade show. The community will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about these game-changing companies and organizations.  The celebratory, culminating event of the week will be the 18th annual KIRA awards – recognizing outstanding innovation and achievement among all sectors, not just ICT.  During the day, there will also be some other featured content including a keynote speaker – still in development.  For the first time ever, the KIRA Awards will feature a new reception type format.

The nominations process has just opened for the KIRA Awards, so be sure to nominate businesses and public sector organizations among the following categories:
o Most Promising Startup
o Innovative New Product or Service (private sector)
o Economic Impact through Employment Growth
o Premier’s Innovation Award (public sector)
o Premier’s Innovation Award (private sector)

For more information, to nominate (by March 31st), and book your tickets, please visit here
Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2016 NB Innovation Week!  Watch the Ignite Fredericton website for more news and information, as it becomes readily available.

In future articles, we will explore innovation happening in a number of growth sectors.  Foundational to this work, was a new investment attraction strategy developed by Ignite Fredericton during the spring of 2015.  The strategy focussed on the following four major growth sectors plus a number of sub-sectors.  In this article, we will take a closer look at cybersecurity.

o Information/Communications Technology [Cybersecurity, Big Data, Geomatics/GPS/Avionics]
o Natural Resources
o Biotechnology
o Engineering/Environmental Services

As part of our strategy, cybersecurity was identified as a key growth area due to the estimated $1.6 trillion associated cost of online security and privacy violations. There is a tremendous amount of confidential information being shared digitally, which is being compromised and attacked.  Threats range from malware, stolen identities, financial fraud, pilfer of intellectual property and websites, etc.   As a result, cybersecurity will continue to be an escalating concern for business and society.  It presents an opportunity for Fredericton given the wealth of existing assets present at the University of New Brunswick (UNB).  Through UNB’s Information Security Centre of Excellence (ISCX), there is an established team of researchers – led by Dr. Ali Ghorbani-Dean of Computer Science, and Dr. Natalia Stakanova-NB Innovation Chair in Cybersecurity.  Dr. Ghorbani is currently leading an initiative to establish a Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, which will put UNB and Fredericton at the forefront of cybersecurity on a national scale.

We also have local companies, like IBM, Raytheon, Sentrant, Bulletproof Solutions, Ara Labs, playing a global role in digital security, and who are here due to the supportive ecosystem, extensive research and development capacity and advanced digital infrastructure.  There is tremendous opportunity to continue to grow this sub-sector of ICT – stay tuned!

Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS
Economic Development & Marketing Specialist
Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch

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What’s in the Secret Sauce at Planet Hatch?

No doubt you are aware of names like TechStars, MaRS, DMZ and YCombinator who are leading in the space of business incubation and acceleration in major cities.  What you may not be aware of is the high rate of innovation happening in our very own Planet Hatch, which was modelled after prominent accelerators across North America.

Since its birth in September 2013, New Brunswick’s flagship business accelerator has been fostering an environment to spur creativity and innovation, and it has supported over 156 companies.  There’s a real entrepreneurial buzz at Knowledge Park, as Planet Hatch continues to output new startup companies like WEnTech, Chinova Bioworks, Kognitiv Spark, and there’s more to come.  

Through the recent federal and provincial  funding announcement, $374,000 has been allocated to support the alignment of entrepreneurial services within the ecosystem, and the next iteration of activities, which we like to call “Planet Hatch 2.0”.

Through the consolidation of operations and streamlining of services with Ignite Fredericton and Knowledge Park, Planet Hatch now offers a full suite of startup-related services like business counselling, coaching, mentoring, and funding. Within this one-stop-shop, there are also eight incubation and acceleration programs currently being run by partners - serving all sectors: 


PropelICT offers an early stage acceleration program for ICT companies.

Pond-Deshpande offers their B4Change accelerator for social enterprise.

JEDI offers a program to support aboriginal economic development.

ArtsLinks offers its Catapult business incubator to aspiring artists.

UNB’s International Business & Entrepreneurship Centre (IBEC) offers the Activator, which is a student startup leadership program.

Fredericton Chamber of Commerce runs its Hive and Business Immigrant Mentorship Program - incubator for newcomer entrepreneurs.

Planet Hatch/Ignite offers Export Igniter, a new acceleration program designed to equip export ready companies with entering international markets.

CyberLaunch Academy runs programming to  introduce children to coding and computer science.


Add to this over 20 entrepreneurial organizations through the Task Force Fredericton Startup Network, whose members are working towards strategically aligning their services based on the phases of business: ideation, validation, growth and maturity.  This model has been coined the ‘Subway’, and essentially it does not matter where the entrepreneur stops along the Subway, as they can be easily transferred to other tracks/required service agencies based on their needs.  This group has also established a common calendar platform where the community can access all entrepreneurial related programming and event information. Check it out here

Planet Hatch has also formed some strategic partnerships.  Recently, thirteen entrepreneurial service providers in the Atlantic region came together to create the Atlantic Canada Entrepreneurial Services Passport (‘Passport’).  Passport members are jointly cross-promoting events, sharing best practices, opening their doors to partners’ members, and assisting entrepreneurs throughout the Maritimes.  This unique initiative resulted from a collaboration between Planet Hatch and ConnexionWorks to improve the entrepreneurial resources for startups across Atlantic Canada.  Partnering locations include:

Business Portals, St. John’s, NL

CO3 Space, Bridgewater, NS

Common Ground, St. John’s, NL

ConnexionWorks, Saint John, NB

The HUB South Shore, Mahone Bay, NS

Impactory, Moncton, NB

LaunchPad, Charlottetown, PEI

New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation, Sydney, NS

North Queens, Caledonia, NS

Planet Hatch, Fredericton, NB

Sackville Commons Co-op, Sackville, NB

Social Enterprise Hub, Saint John, NB

Startup Zone, Charlottetown, PEI

The Ville Cooperative, Marysville, NB

Workspace Atlantic, Moncton, NB


Planet Hatch has also formed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Business to enable student experiential learning from the centre.  As well, the Hatch has partnered with Ryerson’s DMZ business incubator in Toronto and the Walnut Accelerator in Chengdu, China to create a soft landing zone in each other’s provinces, while enabling their members to access expertise and resources during their travels.

One of Planet Hatch’s unique differentiators is that it is the only New Brunswick incubator/accelerator to offer Canada’s new Startup Visa program geared towards attracting and retaining international entrepreneurial talent.

So what’s in the secret sauce within Fredericton’s entrepreneurial hub - collaboration!  It’s that simple with the multitude of organizations who are engaged with a common vision of driving entrepreneurial growth and development.

It’s why we were named the 2016 ‘Startup Capital of Canada’ by Startup Canada!

It’s why Planet Hatch and Ignite Fredericton churned out 48 new startup companies translating to 327 jobs and $26.4 million in GDP during 2016 with many of these companies making multiple stops along the Subway.

During 2016, Planet Hatch ran over 76 programs and events for startups, and over 44 community events.  If you have not yet visited the center, check out our website;  come up and take a tour; network over Startup Drinks; parktake in our open co-working hours on Wednesdays; and enjoy some food during our pancake breakfasts or ‘food truck thursdays’.  Maybe you will even get inspired to start a business!

Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS

Economic Development & Marketing Specialist

Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch

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Planting the Seeds of Continuous Growth


Gleaner Column

Chapter 3 – ‘Planting the seeds for continuous growth’

The last two columns provided some historical context on how Fredericton earned its global brand equity as a ‘smart city’ through diversification from a government/university town to a thriving knowledge-based economy.  The building blocks were significant investment in digital infrastructure, and building a ‘knowledge corridor’, known today at the Innovation District, anchored by Knowledge Park and the University of New Brunswick.

As I suggested last month, I truly believe that the knowledge industry is our equivalent to Alberta’s oil sands with such a large number of knowledge-based companies located in the Fredericton Region.  The continuous growth of this sector is what carried us through the recession, and is where we will see future growth and good paying jobs tomorrow.

(Disclaimer: This article was written before the Premier’s State of the Province Address.)

As a mother, I can certainly relate to all the parents who worry about their children’s future in New Brunswick. This article is directed to the parents, policy-makers/politicians and educators, who are in a position to help shape and influence New Brunswick’s future.  This starts with early education - ensuring our children get the required skills to keep them on a path of realizing opportunities.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand where the skill shortages are - just go onto NB Jobs to see the long list of unfilled positions - particularly related to the information technology sector.  The national Information & Communications Technology Council (ICTC) has stated that by this year, 95% of jobs will require digital skills, and there will be demand for 182,000 ICT jobs in Canada by 2019.  These are high paying jobs, which go on to support the economy and other sectors like retail and housing. 

So let’s stop the negative, doom and gloom chatter about lack of jobs.  There are lots of jobs and opportunities in New Brunswick; however, as parents, we need to steer our children in the right direction, and policy makers and educators need to ensure our children are being properly equip for the future workforce.

Fundamentally, we understand that literacy is number one.  A literate, young population paves the road for future success.  According to Elementary Literacy Inc., one in five New Brunswick children are falling behind in reading by the end of grade two.  Without educational intervention, these children are at-risk of ongoing academic challenges and are less likely to graduate than children who achieve grade two-level success.  Early intervention is key, and we need to ensure New Brunswick schools are equipped with the necessary support programs, resources and services.  With a solid foundation in literacy, students are able to later move on to more complex STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math), which opens a world of opportunity for our youth.

Secondly, let’s ask ourselves - what do New Brunswick children need education-wise to meet the increasing demand of a digital world?  With 106,000 unfilled tech jobs this year in Canada, innovation pioneer, David Alston, is on the right track, leading the Code Kids movement.

In 2013, Alston and René Boudreau travelled to Estonia and Finland to explore how these countries integrated coding and technology into their elementary education programs - creating a mega talent pipeline that has supported the booming growth of their information technology sector boasting names like Skype and Nokia.

The Code Kids movement and documentary helped kick off Brilliant Labs, which is an initiative designed to give educators tools and resources to offer coding in New Brunswick classrooms.

Here are a few useful links if you are interested in learning more:

Code Kids
NB Jobs
Brilliant Labs
Ladies Learning Code
Kids Learning Code
Hour of Code


In future columns, we will be looking at other industries bubbling with innovation like natural resource development with $8.6 billion in projected investment for the mega projects pending approvals. These projects along with others will have a peak employment demand of 8,600 positions from 2017-18, and 28,000 by 2025. 

So parents, let’s look at where the opportunities lie, and steer our children towards the opportunities of tomorrow!
Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS
Economic Development & Marketing Specialist
Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch

View Chapter 1 | Chapter 2

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'May the 4th Be With You'

Last month’s column highlighted ‘Innovation Season’, and our upcoming KIRAs (Knowledge and Innovation Recognition Awards) on May 4th, celebrating excellence in technological, social and economic innovation across all sectors and industries in New Brunswick.  The KIRAs also mark the official kick-off to NB Innovation Week!

This year’s event will give a nod to “May the 4th Be with You” day  with a galaxy glam spin.  Don’t expect people to be wielding light sabers or to see Darth Vader, but you can expect lots of lights and sparkle during this optimal networking event.  The KIRA galaxy will be emceed by the award-winning Canadian comedy couple Naomi Snieckus & Matt Baramand, and will feature special musical guest, DJ SirK.

If you have not already checked out the 21 KIRA finalists  - here’s a short run-down of New Brunswick’s most innovative companies and organizations within their nominated category:

Bulletproof - A consulting firm, which provides end-to-end business solutions like security, network operations, quality assurance/testing, integration, education and product fulfillment.

Construction Navale Atlantique - A shipbuilding company creating the vessel of the future by reducing carbon footprint, increasing efficiency and improving the quality of fished goods.

LuminUltra Technologies Ltd. - Provides microbial monitoring solutions that deliver real-time feedback on microbiological content in water.

Budworm Tracker (Canadian Forest Service) - An innovative citizen science program that provides volunteer opportunity to engage with scientists in monitoring the most significant forest pest in eastern Canada, the spruce budworm.

UNB Institute of Biomedical Engineering - Plays a key role in the research and development that engendered the first myoelectric upper limb prostheses in North America, and remains a world leader in advanced myoelectric artificial limbs.

Succession Connect/Fredericton Chamber of Commerce - An innovative new pilot created by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce to support, retain and increase new Canadian investors in New Brunswick, which in turn supports economic growth.

Amiko Electrical/PLC Control System & Consulting Inc. - Designs, tests and manufactures custom components, troubleshoots and improves the efficiency of existing equipment.

Lizotte Machine Vision - Develops and manufactures custom-built quality control, grading, and sorting equipment for the global food processing industry.

Soricimed Biopharma Inc. - A private, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, which focuses on developing first-in-class targeted cancer therapies, peptide-drug conjugates and a cancer companion diagnostic.

ADI Systems - With over 35 years of experience, a global leader in industrial wastewater treatment and waste-to-energy solutions.

EhEye Inc. - Improves public safety and security using artificially intelligent video analytics and automating the extraction of objects, persons, activities and behaviours of interest from streaming video.

SimpTek Technologies Inc. - Connects utilities and property owners with customers to discover powerful insights on energy usage and efficiency.

Chinova Bioworks - Develops natural preservatives, using a product called chitosan, with the goal of solving the common problem of microbial contamination.

EhEye Inc. - Improves public safety and security using artificially intelligent video analytics and automating the extraction of objects, persons, activities and behaviours of interest from streaming video.

Kognitiv Spark Inc. - An augmented and mixed reality solutions and software development company.

CyberNB / International Cyber Security Protection Alliance - This partnership brought Cyber Essentials to Canada - a certification standard to aid in mitigating against up to 80% of common internet-based cyber threats.

Northern Hardwoods Research Institute Inc. -  An innovative partnership between the private forest sector, governments and Université de Moncton, which was created out of need to conduct applied research - providing immediate solutions for the sustainable and feasible management of hardwood forests.

Research & Productivity Council - New Brunswick’s research and technology organization, comprised of 98 scientists, engineers and technologists, focused on business-led research (innovation) and analytical services (testings and inspections).

CyberNB (Opportunities New Brunswick) - CyberNB is a special operating agency of Opportunities NB, which is deploying Canada’s first comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, focused on collaboration with industry, government and academia to build on New Brunswick’s position as the cybersecurity epicentre of Canada.

Integrated Service Delivery (ISD) for Children and Youth - A framework, which provides services and programs to children and youth (aged 0-21) having significant social, emotional and/or mental-health needs.

NBDTI Design Branch & UNB Civil Engineering Dept. -  A collaborative partnership, which developed a solution for the inspection of departmental assets, which have difficult and dangerous access problems.

If you would like to learn more about these amazing, innovative companies - book your KIRA tickets today

Don’t forget that there will also be a special showcase of the KIRA nominees during the day, as well as a FREE luncheon, presented by Ignite Fredericton, Enterprise Saint John, 3plus Corporation, to kick-off the KIRA awards focused on ‘Debunking the Innovation Myth’. Learn why businesses from all industries need to step outside of operations and consider how they can apply innovation to reinvent and re-invigorate their business.  Krista Han from Grant Thornton will moderate this session with New Brunswick’s Chief Economist, David Campbell, and Dr. Herb Emery with the University of New Brunswick.  Register today

With support from ACOA and ONB, the KIRAs are hosted by Knowledge Park and made possible through the generous support of our Gold Sponsors (Bell Aliant, NBIF, UNB, EY, McInnes Cooper, Salesforce), Silver sponsors (Oracle, PQA Testing, Crowne Plaza), and the Friends of KIRA (Remsoft, ROC Consulting).

See you in the KIRA galaxy - May the fourth be with you!

Laurie Guthrie, EcD, BIS

Economic Development & Marketing Specialist

Ignite Fredericton | Knowledge Park | Planet Hatch


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