Officials with the Grande Prairie Regional Innovation Network are hopeful a $778,500 batch of funding from the provincial government will allow them to continue to help entrepreneurs in the Peace Country cultivate their ideas into tangible, marketable products.
GPRIN Committee Member Tom Pura says while it’s not new money, as it was initially released to the organization on April 1st, it allows them to leverage important partnerships within the regional innovation network.
“We leverage the local partnerships and it allows us to continue to support innovators not only in Grande Prairie, but across our region, and it’s a big region,” he says.
“Any funding and support we get is huge because it does allow us to reach as many as these smaller communities in the area and encourage anyone with an idea they can grow it, and become quite successful with it.”
Pura says Grande Prairie has long been known as an area rich with an entrepreneurial spirit, but it’s harnessing that spirit that will help grow not only the confidence in current business ideas, but will help open doors to those who have yet to even come up with that next great plan.
“A lot of innovators have the ideas, and they’re maybe not quite sure how to get that idea to the production line and bring it to fruition,” he says.
“They may not necessarily be business-minded type people, but they have great ideas, so if we can provide a little support to get that idea to market… it allows us to be solid, stable, and a reliable resource to our innovators and entrepreneurs.”
According to the Alberta Government, the innovation networks, including the one in Grande Prairie, were created in 2008, and have helped 7,000 innovators, entrepreneurs, and companies, leading to 354 new innovations to date.