Southern Ontario manufacturers will soon benefit from the rapid deployment of online manufacturing innovation networks designed to promote awareness, excellence and innovation.
Spearheaded by the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC), Canada’s largest manufacturing consortium, Ontario’s iMiN (Interactive Manufacturing Innovation Network) is designed to be a fully meshed network of manufacturers, industry sectors, community partners, academic institutions and other stakeholders, which will grow to become a province-wide series of inter-connected manufacturing networks.
The EMC was recently awarded $597,000 for the project through the Community Adjustment Fund, delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Funding will support the publicly accessible iMiNs as the first phase of a comprehensive Ontario-wide Manufacturing Innovation Network.
"Our government is committed to investing in our businesses and industries to create new jobs and stimulate economic growth," said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario. "These networks will help bolster innovation in southern Ontario’s manufacturing sector, bring new ideas to market and strengthen the region’s position as a key player in the global economy."
EMC, a not-for-profit organization that provides primary expertise and industry resources to more than 900 manufacturing companies in 53 regional consortiums across 200-plus communities in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, is managing and facilitating the development of the Ontario iMiNs as locally driven initiatives that will be inclusive of all industry, individuals and public and private sector organizations that positively affect manufacturing.
"As the saying goes, it takes a whole village to raise a child. Similarly, we believe it takes the entire community to help a manufacturer to truly succeed," said Al Diggins, president and general manager of EMC. "Bringing together the entire spectrum of organizations and subject matter experts which enable manufacturers [to] become more competitive and viable here at home, is key [to] achieving long-term retention and expansion. Using leading-edge web 2.0 technology, iMiN will provide all manufacturers with the collaborative forum for creating awareness, excellence and innovation in their organizations, developing new market opportunities and enabling rapid access to all the resources that can help the manufacturer become more competitive."
The initiative is being launched in Eastern Ontario (Brockville, Greater Napanee, Arnprior, Cornwall and Ottawa Valley), Chatham-Kent, Oxford Region (Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Woodstock) and Windsor-Essex. With development well underway, EMC plans to launch each local iMiN before the end of the year, with early 2011 activities focused on growing network resources and participation. The deployment phase of this initiative will conclude by Thursday, March 31, 2011, culminating in a sustainable series of public networks.