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Turning research to reality

{Derrick Moss}
Derrick Moss is an engineering graduate of Memorial who dedicates his time and energy to creating an extremely high-end loudspeaker for the international audiophile market with the help of the Genesis Centre.

Quietly tucked away on the third and fourth floors of Memorial University's Spencer Hall are visionaries who are turning research into reality. It is these people, employees and clients harmoniously co-existing, who know the Genesis Centre as their "home away from home."

Created in 1996, the centre is a support network developed to help knowledge-based businesses and entrepreneurs create high-growth enterprises.

"What we have here is a business incubator, based on industry-best practices, but adapted to our local market, aiming to assist entrepreneurs in becoming investor ready," explained Keelin O'Leary, manager of the Genesis Centre. "Memorial University was confident that great research was being conducted on campus and in the community, and this optimism still guides us today, and with great success."

The Genesis Centre offers business and technical guidance to clients, including assistance in locating business consultants, advisory board members, a management team, technical assistance from Memorial University, and the guidance of an expatriate mentor - a quality unique to this province's incubator.

"We help clients connect with experienced and knowledgeable Newfoundlanders, living here or elsewhere in the world, to complement the diverse skills and needs of our young companies," said Ms. O'Leary.

Diversity does, indeed, prevail at the Genesis Centre, as specializations of its 22 clients, 10 of those being graduates, range from consumer to industry-driven products and services. Ms. O'Leary added, however, that "all clients are similar in that they each have a technological advantage, some intellectual property, providing them with a sustainable competitive advantage in their market niche. This could be anything from software and Web-based applications to high-end electronics, and the list goes on."

Intrignia Solutions and Moss Loudspeaker Research Ltd., for instance, are two Genesis Centre clients who have taken their prior research and manifested it into dynamic, multi-faceted products. Jamie King, founder and president of Intrignia Solutions, has created multi-robot control systems for underground mining, aimed at correcting underground mining inefficiencies through the use of intelligent systems and robotics. Derrick Moss, also an engineering graduate of Memorial, dedicates his time and energy to creating an extremely high-end loudspeaker for the international audiophile market.

"These companies are great examples of research coming to life," commented Ms. O'Leary. "They have taken an idea, checked it against industry standards, continue to perfect it, and have come to the Genesis Centre to bring their research one step further - into the market."

The gap between research and the world market is where the Genesis Centre finds its own niche. Recognizing that not all researchers are innately entrepreneurs, and that one of the greatest challenges in business is distribution, the Genesis Centre works to mould great ideas, with the help of a dedicated network of knowledge and experience, to the point where investment from outside sources is a viable option.

"At this point, clients graduate from the centre, bringing their years of preparation, research, and time, to new dimensions," Ms. O'Leary said.

Since its inception just six years ago, the Genesis Centre has reached new heights, seeing its graduates perform very well, and improving along the way. "We are always learning," noted Ms. O'Leary, "from our clients and from our strong network."

Proof of such learning is displayed in the centre's hallways, showcasing the 2002 Outstanding Incubator Graduate award in the technology category, awarded recently to Garrison Guitars, a graduate of the Genesis Centre, as well as the Industry, Trade and Rural Development's Excellence in Fostering Entrepreneurship Award, bestowed upon the centre itself.

Noting that great ideas are abundant in this province, the Genesis Centre is open to clients of all backgrounds. Students and professors from Memorial University, as well as budding entrepreneurs in the community, have come to the centre through ACOA, the Gateway and P. J. Gardiner Institute, the National Research Council, and numerous other entrepreneurial organizations in the province.

"Candidates must demonstrate entrepreneurial capability," stated Ms. O'Leary, "and a desire to pursue an export-oriented, technology-based product or service."

Ultimately, it is this combination of characteristics, coupled with the Genesis Centre's guidance, that can, and has, culminated into research that works.

"With this sort of vision and commitment," said Ms. O'Leary, "the sky is really the limit."

To find out more, please visit www.genesis.mun.ca.

{Memorial University of Newfoundland}