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Genesis Centre named Canadian business incubator of the year

By Meaghan Whelan

Memorial University's incubator for technology businesses has been named 2011 Incubator of the Year by the Canadian Association for Business Incubation (CABI). The Genesis Centre is part of Genesis Group Inc., the university's technology commercialization arm.

The award was accepted by Keelin O'Leary, Genesis Group's vice-president of entrepreneurial support, at the association's annual conference in Ottawa last week. The award is in recognition of the incubator's results and adherence to industry best practices.

"The Genesis Centre has a steady record of success and has had a solid reputation across the country since its inception. It's also a model of business incubation best practices," said Ed Hobbs, chair of CABI. "It's very fitting that it should be recognized in this way."

Twenty-nine companies have graduated from the Genesis Centre. In total, they have raised $18.7 million in private equity, 65 per cent of which has come from outside Newfoundland and Labrador. The centre's clients and graduates employ almost 400 people.

"The successes of our clients give us satisfaction on a regular basis, but this kind of national recognition is very gratifying," said Ms. O'Leary. "It's really a testament to the community of people – volunteers and staff – which forms the Genesis Centre."

The award comes as the Genesis Centre reaches another significant milestone. The incubator just accepted its 50th client since its opening in 1997. Flexapp, based in Corner Brook, has developed software which co-ordinates non-emergency ambulance transfers between health-care facilities.

As a Genesis Centre client, Flexapp will be mentored by Jeff Dodge, a Newfoundlander living in Ottawa who was president and CEO of Nortel spin-out Netactive and raised more than $30 million for the company. Genesis has also recruited an advisory board for Flexapp made up of four experienced local technology executives.

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