WATERLOO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/17/13 -- World-renowned for its cultivation of technology entrepreneurship and commercialization, Waterloo's Accelerator Centre announced today it has partnered with the City of Waterloo to launch Canada's first innovation program focused on the food and beverage processing industry. Canada's Technology for Food (CTFF), spearheaded by the Waterloo Economic Development Committee (WEDC) and its vice-chair Tim McKechnie, will bring industry and academic partners together with Waterloo's business community to foster innovation and accelerate the commercialization of technologies aimed at advancing Canada's food and beverage processing industry at home and abroad. CTFF will focus on innovation, retraining, and building a highly skilled workforce to bridge the labour gap.
"Waterloo Region enjoys a long history in food and beverage production, stretching back to the 1800's, and today, South-western Ontario remains the largest food manufacturing region in Canada and third largest in North America," said Tim Anderson, CAO, City of Waterloo. "We need to continue to innovate, to inject new ideas and technologies into the industry to maintain our position as a world leader. We have been actively seeking an opportunity to support the advancement of this industry for some time. Canada's Technology for Food is the solution we've been seeking; it can be a catalyst for real change in the food and beverage processing industry here in Waterloo, across Ontario and Canada, and in time, globally."
"This collaboration partnership brings together the best of the best in this community. It marries industry partners that have real challenges, with the academic knowledge, technology, fabricators and commercialization and start-up expertise we have in Waterloo," said Ted McKechnie of the Davies Group of Companies, former president of Maple Leaf Foods, and the current chair of CTFF. "We'll work with industry partners to identify challenges and opportunities for improvement. Then we'll match that industry partner with a consortium of solution providers to build an answer to that challenge. When the solution has potential to benefit the rest of the industry, we'll work with the Accelerator Centre to commercialize the technology and grow the business."
The CTFF will be located at the Waterloo Accelerator Centre (AC), an award-winning incubation and commercialization facility located in Waterloo's David Johnston Research + Technology Park. The AC assists entrepreneurs and early stage companies in commercializing their technologies and establishing market traction, through an up to three year program provides business advisory, mentorship, education, connections to capital and other partners and commercialization expertise.
"We are extremely excited to play a leadership role in this important partnership," says Tim Ellis, CEO of the Waterloo Accelerator Centre and Accelerator Program. "Every day within our facility we are inspired by the creative thinking of entrepreneurs and start-ups who apply out of the box thinking, fearlessness and creativity to solve economic and business challenges. Canada's Technology for Food brings an industry with significant economic impact in Ontario and a new sphere of opportunities into the mix. I'm really looking forward to fostering some new innovative companies who I know will bring exciting new answers to the challenges facing our food and beverage processing industry today."
Among the founding members of the CTFF are:
Founding Partners:The Waterloo Accelerator CentreThe City of WaterlooAcademic Institutions:The University of GuelphConestoga CollegeUniversity of WaterlooWilfrid Laurier UniversityNiagara CollegeFood and Beverage Companies:Piller's Fine FoodsBrick Brewery Co LtdConestoga Meat PackersFabricators:KL Products IncCambridge Metal Products Inc (CPM)
About the Accelerator Centre
The Accelerator Centre, located within Waterloo's David Johnston Research + Technology Park, is a world-renowned, award-winning facility dedicated to developing and commercializing technology start-ups. Through its Accelerator Program, early-stage companies benefit from in-depth business coaching and seamless support services, including access to office facilities, coaching and mentoring, education, connections to capital, networking, R&D support and outreach, talent recruitment, technology transfer assistance, and commercialization expertise, enabling technology start-ups to move to market faster, create jobs and stimulate economic activity.
About the Waterloo Economic Development Committee:
The City of Waterloo's economic development committee advises council on policies that are consistent with the intent of their economic development program. Led by members of the public, the committee also facilitates a number of activities including providing the economic development division with information and intelligence on the community's markets, labour force, and industrial and commercial sites. It also acts as a resource to businesses to assist in feasibility assessments, proposals to council and other initiatives and provides input to council on matters of industrial and commercial requirements, zoning, transportation, utility services, tax implications and industrial land sales and acquisition policy.
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