NB Innovation Is Something to Shout About

  • Laurie
  • 2017-06-28




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