Banking on innovation

Five Red Deer businesses will receive help in bringing new products or services to market.

Five Red Deer businesses will receive help in bringing new products or services to market.

Alberta Advanced Education and Technology has announced that Blue Horizon Ethanol Inc. and DataCan Services Corp. will each receive $50,000 vouchers for technology development, and Alberta Golf Works Ltd., BioLen Reactors Inc. and Black Diamond Resources Ltd. will each get $10,000 vouchers to pay for services like marketing studies and business advice.

They are among 179 Alberta businesses sharing more than $5 million in the first round of funding under Alberta’s Innovation Voucher Program.

The vouchers can be redeemed at designated labs, fabrication centres, business development centres and other organizations. Red Deer College’s Office of Applied Research and Innovation and the Olds College School of Innovation are among the nearly 40 approved service providers.

“It’s a fabulous step forward,” said Tanya McDonald, a bioenergy research scientist at the Olds College School of Innovation.

The voucher program creates a “huge opportunity” for small industry, she said, and should help it advance innovative ideas. Olds College, added McDonald, will also benefit from revenues that will enable it to build its applied research capacity.

Rick Tofani, director of applied research and innovation at Red Deer College, marvelled at the “phenomenal number” of vouchers issued. He noted only $2 million was originally earmarked for the first round.

“I would suspect they underestimated the pent-up demand considerably, and maybe the second round will be similar.”

That second round of vouchers will be issued early next year, with the application process expected to occur this fall.

Both Central Alberta colleges are already talking to voucher recipients.

“There are several companies that have approached us,” said McDonald.

Tofani described a similar interest in Red Deer College’s services, with two voucher recipients from Red Deer and one from outside the city dealing with the college. That’s a manageable number, he suggested, explaining that the college’s newly opened Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing is still ramping up its operations.

“We’re in the process of increasing the number of staff available to do that kind of work.”

Despite the large number of approved service providers in Alberta, Tofani and McDonald believe their institutions will stand out.

“The services that we offer are quite specific, as far as agriculture and environment-related, bio-processing and biofuels production,” said McDonald. “So there are companies from all across Alberta that may choose to work with us to achieve their goals.”

Tofani said Red Deer College’s strengths include its rapid prototyping and machining capabilities, as well as its information technology services.

“Every college has its area of expertise,” he said, predicting that there will likely be referrals between service providers.

A news release issued by Advanced Education and Technology said the businesses included in this round of vouchers are working in such fields as biotechnology, health, energy, environmental technologies, information and communications technology, and industrial technologies.

Vouchers must be used within nine months, and the businesses are required to pay at least 25 per cent of the cost of the services they receive.

Additional information about the Innovative Voucher Program can be found online at www.technology.gov.ab.ca.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read