Nearly $1 million in Government of Canada support will help Sault area businesses improve productivity, accelerate growth and create quality jobs for area residents.
Small and medium-sized businesses in Sault Ste. Marie will receive help to enhance their digital skills, expand their markets, and assist with product development activities thanks to two separate Government of Canada contributions of $490,000.
The funding was announced today by Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor.
“Today’s investments will provide innovative small and medium-sized enterprises in our region with the tools and skills they need to succeed going forward. The goal is to help these businesses overcome hurdles to growth and create good quality, resilient jobs.” – Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) will use a FedNor investment of $490,000 to deliver the Broadband E-business and Marketing program to help eligible businesses adopt e-business applications to reduce operating costs and increase their reach into new markets. A second investment of $490,000 will enable the SSMIC to deliver the Innovation Accelerator Program to assist qualified high-tech enterprises with activities such as market research, e-commerce and promotion, and lean production implementation.
“Innovation is a key driver for the Canadian economy and our government is committed to helping entrepreneurs sharpen their skills and enhance their operations to prepare them for an increasingly competitive global economy. We are proud to collaborate with organizations such as the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre to grow the economy and create jobs.” – The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor
This investment highlights the Government of Canada’s commitment to support innovation and enhance the competitiveness, management and trade capacity of SMEs in the region to create quality jobs and wealth for Canadians.
“We are excited about helping area businesses reach their full potential thanks to continuing support from FedNor and the Government of Canada. These programs are helping innovators and entrepreneurs in our region to take their businesses to the next level, generating increased profits and employment opportunities.” – Don MacLennan, Acting Executive Director, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre.
Homegrown tech startup Insightworks is training and developing its way to success
Established by Mark Lewis in 2011, Insightworks Inc. is a homegrown tech startup in Sault Ste. Marie that started off with two people, a beta client and an idea. Now a recent graduate of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC)’s small business incubator program, Insightworks has a promising future ahead and is a true startup success story.
“Throughout my 20-year career in manufacturing and healthcare prior to Insightworks, I wish I had the types of products and services that we’re now offering,” said Mark Lewis, Insightworks Founder. “I wanted to create a company that could provide online learning solutions that truly enable employees to engage with and train in an online environment that resembles the in-person experience as closely as possible while providing tools that support operations. With Insightworks that’s exactly what we’ve achieved.”
Insightworks is now operating from their own office space on the third floor of The Tech, downtown Sault Ste. Marie. The company employs 10 people, has developed three products, has sales in Canada, the United States and hopefully soon to be Europe, and works with over 15 clients and 20 organizations on mid to large scale projects. Insightworks’ current staff are all from Sault Ste. Marie and are graduates or have attended either Sault College or Algoma University. The highly skilled and tight-knit team consists of IT (development/software), Graphic Artists and Account Managers.
Insightworks is a training and development company that provides online learning solutions that elevate a business or organizations knowledge, skill and performance, working primarily with clients in healthcare, manufacturing and gaming (Casino’s). By combining a team with experience and skill in Human Resources, Information Technology and Graphic Arts, Insightworks can relate to their client’s needs to provide services that are getting very favorable results for their clients.
“At the Innovation Centre, we’re very proud of Insightworks and their successes to date, and we know great things are ahead as they continue to grow their team, products and services now in their new space,” said John Prgomet, Business Development Manager, SSMIC. “As an incubator client, Insightworks benefited from the collaborative work space and the constant access to and support from our business development team.”
Insightworks products include Viewpoint eMaps, Onboarding+ and a Performance Coaching, application. Future plans include continuing to focus on the three main streams of business and growing their client base. The team aims to work with their existing platforms, while extending their technology and delving deeper into specifics, such as the Internet of Things.
“Networking with people around you is very valuable, especially being able to connect with other startups that are also tech focused,” said Lewis. “The support from the Innovation Centre in regards tofunding was invaluable – being walked through and learning the application process and accessing funding exclusively available as a client. It’s the little things that the team helped with that really count and add up to the big things that helped Insightworks become the success it is today.”
In 2014, Insightworks was the recipient of the ‘Innovation Company of the Year’ award during the 9th annual SSMARt Innovation Awards presented by SSMIC. The award acknowledges leadership through innovation, in science and/or technology products, services or research. It also focuses on a company’s ability to grow and its involvement in the community.
Insightworks has benefited from many funding programs available since 2012, including many
exclusively available through SSMIC to a total of $40,000 to date, inducing the Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) and Broadband for E-Business marketing (BEAM) through FedNor; Professional Services Program (PSP) through National Research Council Canada (NRC); and : Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) through NRC. Additionally, they received other funding and capital that SSMIC helped them access however did not distribute, all of which has helped Insightworks get to where they are today.
SSMIC currently has three incubator clients in its Accelerator Hub located at 258 Queen St. East, including Digital Grounds, Safety Lynx, and The Createch Group. SSMIC has been providing incubator space for science and tech startups since 2004, and helps startups and entrepreneurs get their business up and running, obtain funding, access legal and knowledge-based and training resources, as well as maintain office space in an affordable, collaborative environment with other tech startups, and much more.
To learn about Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre’s business services and incubator, contact John Prgomet at (705) 942-7927 ext. 3129 or [email protected].
For more information on Insightworks, visit www.insightworks.ca.
Insightworks provides custom training and development applications and services. Our solutions present material using our exclusive interactive 3D technology that present information in bite-sized modules. We make it easier for employees to understand and retain information by making learning a natural part of your organization and a fundamental resource for everyday operations.
About the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to function as a catalyst for economic development and diversification in the information technology and science knowledge-based sectors. SSMIC’s mission is to drive business growth, facilitate research and commercialize innovation in globally significant areas of science and technology through partnerships, expert advice, community development, business incubation, youth outreach and sector development activities. Key SSMIC business divisions include: the Community Geomatics Centre, Rural Agri-Innovation Network, Business Support Services, YouLaunch, Lottery & Gaming and Smart Energy.
- The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region.
- Since November 1, 2015, nine projects in the Sault Ste. Marie region have received approval for a total of $3.9 million under FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program.