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The Innovation Cluster has announced that President and CEO Michael Skinner will be on a leave of absence as of April 30, 2019 to run in the Federal Election. John Gillis, previously Cleantech Innovation Specialist with the Cluster since November 2017, will fill the position of Interim President and CEO.
John Desbiens, Innovation Cluster Board Chair, announced Gillis’ appointment. Michael became President and CEO in February 2016, holding the position for three years, lifting the Innovation Cluster to new heights.
“Michael’s leadership and commitment to the growth of the Innovation Cluster through new partnerships has increased the organization’s economic impact in this region,” says Desbiens. “Establishing the Cube as a base of operations in downtown Peterborough helped to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem like no other, where the Innovation Cluster is now supporting over 80 startups.”
Since Michael became President and CEO in 2016, a total $35,230,719 of an economic impact has been made in the community as well as 395 new jobs created by 107 technology and youth (18 – 29 years of age) startups.
The Innovation Cluster is in discussion with the City of Kawartha Lakes to work with its Economic Development team to expand on-site business services into Lindsay. The suggestion came after council heard the Innovation Cluster helped to create 20 jobs and foster over $2.3 million dollars in sales and investments in Kawartha Lakes last year.
“We have seen the most promising startups in Peterborough and the Kawarthas come through the Innovation Cluster for support and take their businesses to market globally over the years,” says Skinner. “The impact made over the last three years shows the Cluster is quickly expanding and I believe John will be essential to continuing this growth.”
John Gillis joined the Innovation Cluster in 2017 as a Cleantech Innovation Specialist to further the Cluster’s focus in clean technology, and has supported various cleantech startups throughout Peterborough and the Kawarthas.
“I am thrilled to be taking this step forward and help continue startup job creation in this region,” says Gillis. “Peterborough has become a hub for entrepreneurs and the Innovation Cluster is looking forward to see innovation continue to expand in each of the technology sectors we support.”
The annual Bears’ Lair Entrepreneurial Competition‘s Semi-Finalist Showcase was held at The Venue on March 26, where the top 24 semi-finalists showcased their products and services in hopes of entering one of the top six finalist spots. The competition is an opportunity for established businesses in the Peterborough area to compete for big cash prizes, while learning valuable insight from the local business community.
Committee judges from the local business community visited each booth and selected the top six finalists, three in the Goods and Services steam and three in the Innovation Stream.
Michael Skinner, President and CEO of the Innovation Cluster and John Gillis, Cleantech Innovation Specialist at the Innovation Cluster announced the top three Innovation Stream finalists:
- AVROD – Educational archaeological virtual reality online database
- Transit One – Connecting businesses and transit riders
- Alexander Optical – Pop-up eye clinics
The three finalists in the Goods and Services stream are:
- Electric Juice Factory – Cold-pressed juices
- Emily Mae’s Cookies & Sweets – Customized baked goods
- PedalBoro – Downtown bike-tour company
Congratulations to all of the Finalists!
The finalists will be pitching to a panel of established judges on April 30, where one business of each stream will win a large cash prize! Various companies that have went through the Innovation Cluster program have won Bears’ Lair, including Kavtek, an augmented reality app to design homes, Entomo Farms, a farm that creates human-grade insect products and Lab Improvements, a healthcare manufacturing company.
Want to see the finalists compete in front of the judges? Watch the Bears’ Lair page HERE to see when tickets open for the event!
Interested in becoming an Innovation Cluster client? See everything we offer HERE!
Innovation Cluster Launches H2O Makerspace: Powered by Franklin Empire Inc. in Support of Cleantech Research - 2019-03-25
The Innovation Cluster welcomed the public to celebrate World Water Day (March 22) during the launch of their new H2O Makerspace: Powered by Franklin Empire Inc. The makerspace was launched within the Cluster’s incubator in the VentureNorth building on Thursday, March 21 at 10 a.m.
Catered towards cleantech startups, one of the four supported sectors of the Innovation Cluster, will now have access to over 30 pieces of equipment. This equipment will aid in the research and development of cleantech in water testing and more.
“As Peterborough is ranked the best place in Ontario to launch a watertech startup, we couldn’t think of a better way to further the region’s innovative developments than by launching a makerspace for research and testing,” says Michael Skinner, President & CEO of the Innovation Cluster. “The Innovation Cluster is always looking for new ways to help cleantech companies in Peterborough and the Kawarthas reach a global marketplace.”
The main equipment currently available in the makerspace includes:
- Culture incubators
- Sample Transport Kit
- Plan Achromatic Microscope
- Membrane Filters
- Petri Dishes
- Sterile Glass Pipets and more
Bayfield, Ont.’s geographer and entrepreneur Jennifer Pate was the keynote speaker, known for her passion towards environmental sustainability and social accessibility to global waterways. She kicked off the launch with a speech on how pollution is affecting our bodies of water.
The October 2018 issue of Water Canada named Peterborough, Ont. the first best place to launch a watertech startup in Ontario and second-best in Canada, noting the City of Peterborough is vying for water technology businesses and offers globally-recognized perks with multiple laboratory facilities.
“The launch of the H2O Makerspace is an exciting development for our region as we continue to play to our region’s strength in water technologies,” says Rhonda Keenan, President & CEO of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. “Assets such as this, as well as Cleantech Commons at Trent University, are important as we continue to position Peterborough & the Kawarthas as a recognized cleantech hub.”
Following the launch, a showcase of cleantech clients the Innovation Cluster currently supports was held, including Aclarus Ozone Water Systems, SGS and Simbi H2O, as well as representatives from Trent University, Fleming CAWT and Cleantech Commons.
Learn more about Jennifer Pate!
Learn more about our Cleantech Programming!
- John Gillis Announced as Innovation Cluster’s Incoming Interim President and CEO
- Innovation Cluster Startups Announced as Finalists in Bears’ Lair Competition
- Innovation Cluster Launches H2O Makerspace: Powered by Franklin Empire Inc. in Support of Cleantech Research
- Responding to Brazilian Mining Tragedy: Entrepreneurs Earn High Praise For Life Improving Donation
- Innovation Cluster and Peterborough Chapter of Professional Engineers Ontario Showcase Innovation And Engineering Achievements of the Region