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SUBJECT: HARPER GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR THE I-GENERATOR PROGRAM AT MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY
DATE: March 9, 2012

St. John’s (NL) – March 9, 2012 – Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queens Privy Council, announced today funding from the Government of Canada for Memorial University of Newfoundland’s faculties of Engineering and Applied Science and Business Administration. Memorial’s new “i-Generator program” will help students to not only identify and evaluate innovative ideas, but also how to turn them into job and business opportunities.

“Investing in entrepreneurship and the commercialization of innovative technologies are key parts of our Government’s jobs and growth strategy,” said Minister Penashue, on behalf of Bernard Valcourt, Minister of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and La Francophonie. “Our universities are in the business of not only research and development, but also preparing students to seize economic opportunities that come with groundbreaking R&D. This initiative will help support technological entrepreneurship and help our best and brightest create jobs.”

Ideas, innovation and industry, - iGenerator will engage students in advancing innovative ideas towards commercialization. Teams of engineering and business students will identify an opportunity for a technology product and then work to advance the product with the help of experienced mentors or coaches. Memorial’s Genesis Group has a pool of intellectual property, such as inventions made by professors, from which the student groups can draw.

“Memorial has a track record of sparking tech start-ups, and this program will build on that experience,” said Brian Veitch, a professor with Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “We’re experimenting with new ways to stimulate entrepreneurial behaviour amongst our students and faculty. Learning by doing is the approach of the i-generator program, and ultimately we want to see more start-ups.”

“Innovation is more than invention,” said Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, Dean, Faculty of Business Administration. “It is the process of turning the ideas of inventors into products and technologies that have commercial potential, and requires the kind of collaboration with business expertise that the i-Generator program will foster. This initiative will be an excellent catalyst for interdisciplinary entrepreneurship.”

The Government of Canada’s investment of $54,750 in this project is being provided through ACOA’s Business Development Program.

FOR BROADCAST USE:
Memorial University’s faculties of Engineering and Applied Science and Business Administration will work together to foster student entrepreneurship by focusing on technology commercialization. Called the “i-Generator Program” – the program will expose participating students to the opportunities of new venture creations.

The key goal of the program is to foster entrepreneurial behaviour in students and increase the rate at which tech start-ups emerge from Memorial University.

Regional Minister Peter Penashue today announced a federal investment of more than$54,000 in the pilot project, noting that support for entrepreneurship and the commercialization of innovative technologies are important elements of the government’s jobs and growth strategy.

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