The three organizations announced the partnership today at RRC’s ACE Project Space in the Exchange District; they intend to work together to increase the success rate of entrepreneurial activity, provide real project-based learning opportunities for students, and encourage investment and growth in start-up companies in Manitoba.
“We’re very excited to officially grow our partnership with North Forge,” says Haider Al-Saidi (above, second from right), chair of Applied Computer Education at Red River College. “This will allow us to expand the services we provide to our entrepreneurs-in-residence and provide our students with additional resources and technology to enhance their skills.”
RRC will provide office space, access to its UX labs, and other technological resources, while North Forge will provide access to its Fabrication lab. Each party will also engage in cross-promotion of events, services and news.
The goal of the partnership, made official by the signing of an exchange of services agreement, is to create an innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem that benefits Manitoba entrepreneurs and enterprises of all sizes — one that includes RRC students and North Forge’s office locations in Winnipeg, Pinawa and The Pas.
“Start-up companies and entrepreneurs are hard-working, determined and have brilliant ideas, but they may need additional help in developing their concepts into products,” says Teresa Dukes (above, at right), President of North Forge Technology Exchange. “We believe this partnership with Red River College will provide those businesses with the resources, technology and knowledge needed to grow their products, reach their sales and market goals, and add value to Manitoba’s economy.”
Since 2017, there have been 46 projects completed at ACE Project Space, providing opportunities for more than 240 students to work with 18 entrepreneurs and 28 industry clients. North Forge has worked with more than 200 clients since launching in 2011, and has created more than 7,500 prototypes in its labs.
Part of the agreement is that all parties will work together to grow and enhance Innovation Alley and its associated brands.
“When we work together we can do more,” says Al-Saidi. “With this new partnership, and with the construction of RRC’s new Innovation Centre, we want to encourage more businesses and enterprises to bring their ideas to what I know will be the primary hub for technology and innovation in Winnipeg and across the province.”
At today’s event, ACE also showcased its newly expanded Exchange District space, which includes 3D printers, UX testing, a soundproof podcasting room, and advanced research and testing facilities.
North Forge East will host an event at its Pinawa office to celebrate the partnership in March 2020.