QUIETLY, WITHOUT much fanfare, Michael St. Amant is forging ahead with his initiative to bring an Incubation/Innovation Centre to Brant.
Since losing the Brant riding seat to Dave Levac in the fall’s Ontario municipal election, St. Amant has been spearheading a drive to create the sustainable business hub for our area.
As a member of the City of Brantford’s community development committee, he was unsuccessful in securing municipal funding of $75,000 needed for a business plan, but that has not slowed him down one bit. His vision for the creation of a centre that would bring together existing private businesses with post-secondary representatives and the public sector is not waning.
Just this week, he held an early morning meeting at Freedom House in downtown Brantford. He reports that 23 attended, all business people from the community. And, he said, a large portion of those in attendance represented green businesses.
Some of the group included Greg Sommer/SaniChill, Carlos Leite/Solarize Energy, Ted Ward-Griffin/Remax, Jose Gonzalez and David Seberras/The Anavitas Group Inc., Ron Sommer/Romco Industries, John Farley/Brantford-Brant Business Resource Centre, David Prang/Wilfrid Laurier University, Keith Davidson and Bill Harding/Covering Canada, John Mogford/Liberty Tire, Victor Chaux/Ficha Group, St.Amant, Brian Beattie/Freedom House, John Huigenbos and Trevor Cherewka/Tik Tok Media.
“The key things we are looking at include how to provide support that benefits the entrepreneurs so that they can focus on building their businesses and benefit from collaborating with one another,” St. Amant said. “An incubation program provides mentoring, shared administrative and legal resources, access to financing, training, market development and so on.
“The focus is to take the loneliness out of being an entrepreneur and benefit from the experiences of others.”
In a presentation, St. Amant pointed out that incubation centres have been around since 1959, now numbering 7,000 world-wide and 150 in Canada. In fact, he said, the municipalities of Waterloo, London, Toronto, Hamilton, Guelph, St. Catharines and Barrie, are examples of successful examples close to home.
“ The key objective of incubation is to create sustainable enterprises, not job creation,” he stressed. “It’s to provide a forum for entrepreneurs to work collaboratively with each other.
“We had good questions from participants. We have other meetings planned over the next month with other groups in the private sector. We are considering holding a more public meeting in due course, but we want to get our ducks in a row first, then determine if there is strong interest within the private sector to make this work.”
It should be noted that the centre would ideally also include involvement from other communities in The Green Hub in Southern Ontario, including Six Nations, Haldimand and Norfolk counties.
ELSEWHERE AROUND THE GREEN HUB IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
Sometimes, we all miss something that is right before our eyes. And it’s not a stretch to suggest that is the case with a major green event for The Green Hub in Southern Ontario – specifically a three-day symposium on green living technologies to be held in Princeton, Ontario.
To the uninitiated, that means how green walls, roofs and vertical agriculture can be integrated into construction. The head office for the company, called GLTi, is in New York. Aimed at professionals interested in the expanding business of vegetative technologies, the training program takes place over two days. It’s the first GLTi training session in Canada.
GLTi, by the way, is the technology partner for the New York School District and CEO George Irwin is affectionately known as the “Green Wall Editor.”
The program is being hosted by Sedum Master and will take place at their facility at 79 Highway 2, Princeton, Ontario from March 9-11 …
Last week we wrote about an exhaustive paper entitled The Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 – essentially a road map to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. And we gave examples of how individuals can do their part. Next week, in more detail, we will outline what communities in The Green Hub in Southern Ontario can do to help an energy transition take shape.
Greg McMillan is a founding partner at TheGreenHub.ca – Canada’s green news and information web portal. Feel free to contact email@example.com with any comments or suggestions for topics to be covered in the Green Matters column. That could mean green lifestyle, business or human-interest items, including any personal or school-related projects or initiatives. We’ll write about people who live in The Green Hub area, which includes Brantford, Six Nations, Brant, Norfolk and Haldimand counties. Also, follow us on Twitter / @the_green_hub and @TheHubMan or Facebook / thegreenhub