Guelph Businesses Reinvent Themselves During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Innovation Guelph Shares Resources to help local business.

Like their clients, Innovation Guelph (IG) is pivoting to deliver value and programming in new ways in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Anne Toner Fung, CEO commented “We are humbled and excited to see the creativity, agility and innovation displayed by our client companies and others in the community. We are truly all in this together!

IG clients and other innovators are responding to the pandemic by 3D-printing facemasks, adapting the production of spirits to produce hand sanitizer and working to manufacture ventilators. As a rallying point for local business, IG is connecting clients and facilitating collaboration to solve issues and respond to pandemic-related challenges. IG then celebrates these good news stories on its blog and through social media while encouraging companies to connect with others to share resources and ideas.

Leveraging technology, IG continues to deliver programming, including a new series called Leaders Helping Leaders, to provide online support for companies struggling to cope with isolation and economic challenges. IG clients also continue to receive support from mentors and staff by phone and video. The office is closed, but IG is definitely open for business. Visit IG’s website, innovationguelph.ca, and follow them on social media for all the great online opportunities to connect and learn!

guelph businesses reinvents covid pandemic

This spring, IG was thrilled to be recognized by the University of Guelph’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics for their Rhyze women’s entrepreneurship programming. On March 11, IG received the inaugural HeForShe Impact award for promoting gender equity internally and through programs like Rhyze Ventures and Rhyze Up! In addition to receiving the award, a $2,500 donation was made to Guelph Women in Crisis on IG’s behalf thanks to the generous support of the Angel Gabriel Foundation. Additionally, Innovation Guelph received the CANIE Award for Enterprise Support presented by the Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation within the 2020 CANIE Digital Awards Tour.

Rhyze Ventures, funded through the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, combines in-class learning, hands-on project work, mentorship, and peer networking to address women entrepreneurs’ biggest business challenges. This eight-month program delivered in three streams (Small Business, Scalable Business, and Social Enterprise) with community partners (Business Centre Guelph Wellington, GreenHouse and the Waterloo Regional Small Business Centre) culminates in a chance to pitch for cash prizes.

Rhyze Up!, funded by National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) is a new national program for women entrepreneurs. Rhyze Up! helps women- led companies from across Canada accelerate their businesses through a focused program of support that includes business analysis, targeted project implementation and access to professional leadership coaching.

Aside from award winning programs for women entrepreneurs, IG also offers several unique programs for all entrepreneurs, plus another new program specifically targeting one of Guelph’s key growth sectors. The Agri- Innovation Accelerator is designed to give innovative agriculture related companies the boost they need to flourish. This program is tailor-made for agri-food, agri- tech and agri-innovation companies.

As part of a bigger project spearheaded by the City of Guelph and County of Wellington, IG is a partner in Our Food Future, a Smart Cities initiative focused on creating Canada’s first circular food economy. IG’s role includes managing an Innovation Hub to support the companies that will contribute to this new economic model. IG is excited to be part of, in effect, a rural-urban living lab to develop a more sustainable regional food system.

IG’s business support programs will all be offered remotely while COVID19 continues to require physical distancing. Looking forward, IG continues to build on community partnerships to showcase innovation. In September, the third annual Innovation Expo will deliver even more value as IG partners with Linamar to expand the event’s footprint to include the Frank Hasenfratz Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing in addition to the Grand Guelph. Partners, Invest in Guelph and the University of Guelph, will also contribute to this event that welcomes entrepreneurs, investors, buyers and the public to see innovation in action!

Connect with Innovation Guelph by phone (519) 265-4495 or email info@innovationguelph.ca For all the latest news and events please follow Innovation Guelph on all their social media channels Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram & LinkedIn

To learn more about Innovation Guelph please click HERE.