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October 2014 Issue

Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative – Application Period Now Open

Canada's West is home to world-class universities and institutions, producing phenomenal research. Our innovators show tremendous drive and continue to develop products and services that have great market potential. Our Government recognizes that innovation is a key driver of high-paying jobs and continued economic growth.

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has announced the next intake of the Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative. The application period is open from September 30 until October 31, 2014.

WINN is a $100 million five-year federal initiative that offers repayable contributions for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with operations in Western Canada. The Initiative provides tangible financial support to western Canadian entrepreneurs, helping them accelerate the innovation process and product commercialization.

More information on the application process can be found at: http://www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/14859.asp.

Strong Growth for Western Canadian Communities

Blaine Chartrand, a principal investigator at Sask Polytech SBARC<BR><BR>Photo credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Blaine Chartrand, a principal investigator at Sask Polytech SBARC

Photo credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Over the years, western Canadian communities have increased economic opportunities and capacity to support new businesses and industries. WD is proud to highlight the success of an initiative that is supporting community growth, creating jobs and offering customized support to SMEs.

Discovering Specific DNA in Western Canadian Beer

Great Western Brewing Company, located in Saskatoon, is preserving the unique tastes of its beer products for the future with the support of the new Bioscience Applied Research Centre (SBARC) at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sask Polytech).

Staff and students at SBARC work directly with SMEs such as Great Western Brewing Company, on prototyping, product testing, evaluation and analysis in support of product development. Their work covers the agricultural biotechnology, bioproducts, environment, and biomedicine sectors.

The capacity needed to develop a bioproduct from concept to commercialization is prohibitive for most SMEs. SBARC offers applied research expertise and infrastructure to industry, while giving students in Sask Polytech’s BioScience Technology program the chance to apply their skills to real-life research experience.

Being a small regional brewery, we do not have the resources, both from an equipment and a technical expertise standpoint to genotype our proprietary yeast, although this is a very important and significant initiative for safeguarding our yeast from potential future loss,” explains Anita Fuller, manager of Corporate Quality Assurance.

Lance Wall, Sask Polytech instructor and primary overseer of the Great Western project, and BioScience Technology student, David Thiessen, are investigating the physical characteristics and molecular structure of the yeast in the company’s beers. Great Western says this work will allow the company to recover the yeast if it is damaged or contaminated in a crisis, such as a fire or flood.

The investment in the SBARC infrastructure has been a tremendous catalyst in allowing Sask Polytech to offer added value applied research and development capacity, and access to expertise to the Saskatchewan Bioscience industry,” said Cristina Holguin-Pando, director, Applied Research, Sask Polytech. “In the BioScience Technology program students learn and train in a cutting edge facility, making their skills and job readiness extremely valuable to their future employers.

Access to SBARC’s equipment and technical knowledge has helped four companies in the development of products or processes so far, including Great Western. Thanks to a WD investment, specialized equipment was purchased to help train BioScience Technology students and help develop highly-qualified personnel for bioscience research.