Red River College’s (RRC) ACE Project Space, North Forge Technology Exchange and North Forge East are collaborating to help entrepreneurs realize their businesses. The three organizations will work together to increase the success rate of entrepreneurial activity, provide real project-based learning opportunities for students and encourage investment and growth in start-up companies in Manitoba.
“We’re very excited to officially grow our partnership with North Forge,” said Haider Al-Saidi, Chair of Applied Computer Education at RRC. “This will allow us to expand the services we provide to our entrepreneurs-in-residence and provide our students with additional resources and technology to enhance their skills.”
The partnership aims to create an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem to benefit Manitoban entrepreneurs and enterprises of all sizes, and was made official by the signing of an exchange of services agreement in February 2020. RRC will provide access to office space, UX labs, technological resources and a force of eager students. North Forge will provide access to its Fabrication Lab and office locations in Winnipeg, Pinawa and The Pas. Each party will also cross-promote events, services and news.
“Start-up companies and entrepreneurs are hard-working, determined and have brilliant ideas, but they may need additional help in developing their concepts into products,” says Teresa Dukes, President of North Forge Technology Exchange. “We believe this partnership with Red River College will provide those businesses with the resources, technology and knowledge needed to grow their products, reach their sales and market goals, and add value to Manitoba’s economy.”
Forty-six projects have been completed at ACE since 2017. This provided more than 240 students opportunities to work with 18 entrepreneurs and 28 industry clients. North Forge has worked with more than 200 clients since launching in 2011, and have created more than 7,500 prototypes in their labs. Part of the agreement is that all parties will work together to grow and enhance Innovation Alley and its associated brands.
“When we work together we can do more,” said Al-Saidi. “With this new partnership, and with the construction of RRC’s new Innovation Centre, we want to encourage more businesses and enterprises to bring their ideas to what I know will be the primary hub for technology and innovation in Winnipeg and across the province.”
At their announcement event in February, ACE showcased its newly expanded Exchange District space, which includes 3D printers, UX testing, a soundproof podcasting room, as well as advanced research and testing facilities.