Innovation Alley to be launch site for Bell MTS’ advanced broadband and wireless networks

September 29, 2016 • Written by
Competitors lined up to pitch their ideas to judges at the Innovation Alley Block Party, including Patrick Lorr from 500 Startups Canada.

A huge crowd came out to the Innovation Alley Block Party yesterday to celebrate the success that the collective group of startups is having by leveraging the resources available in the Alley, especially those from North Forge and Bell MTS.

The crowd – which consisted of many Red River College students, instructors and innovation leaders – also came to hear the next big announcement for Winnipeg’s thriving startup ecosystem.

RRC president, Paul Vogt and other RRC innovation leaders with Jeff Ryzner, president of North Forge and Patrick Lorr of 500 Startups Canada.

RRC president, Paul Vogt and other RRC innovation leaders with Jeff Ryzner, president of North Forge and Patrick Lorr of 500 Startups Canada.

Premier Pallister was on hand with Mayor Bowman, Bell Canada President and CEO George Cope, and others to deliver the good news for tech startups in the Alley.

Bell announced its promise to launch its new Gigabit Fibe Internet and LTE Advanced wireless covering four blocks in the Alley which is in Winnipeg’s West Exchange District.

“With this technology, we can build here. There’s no better place to build than here. This is the place to be,” said Pallister. “Here’s one example where these improvements will assist those who are involved in innovation, involved in the tech sector tremendously.”

Permission Click co-founder and CEO Chris Johnson was thrilled with the news.

“This is game-changing,” said Johnson. “So many companies will benefit from this and it will open doors for more entrepreneurs to enter the space.”

Another Permission Click co-founder and Red River College instructor, Scott MacAulay was also thrilled with the announcement and the success that Innovation Alley has seen since its humble beginnings a little more than 5 years ago.

Scott MacAulay and RRC president Paul Vogt talking Innovation Alley.

Scott MacAulay and RRC president Paul Vogt talking Innovation Alley.

Permission Click – in just a few years of development – has attracted 65,000 users to its digital permission slip platform for schools and other organizations, while also raising $3 million in private equity and growing to 20 employees.

MacAulay was quick to credit the College’s Research Partnerships & Innovation (RPI) office’s College Applied Research Development (CARD) grant program for giving Permission Click a boost in its infancy.

“Permission Click built a better first version than it otherwise would have without the program’s support for our initial research needs with end users,” said MacAulay.

“And the College is a key part of the fabric of Innovation Alley.”
With initiatives like the expanding ACE Startup Space: Entrepreneur in Residence Program – which has produced Bit Space Development founder, Dan Blair – the College is set to play an even bigger role in the startup ecosystem.

“That program was instrumental to me becoming a startup entrepreneur and getting my business to where it is today,” said Blair. “And I’ve now employed tens of Red River College students from several disciplines – both as interns and full-time employees.”

RPI – the College’s research arm – is actively engaged with the startup and innovation communities in Winnipeg.

“We, along with academic leaders in the College have acknowledged the importance of the startup community and have provided boots on the ground support in terms of secondments of Scott MacAulay to Innovation Alley and previously, of Brent Wennekes to Innovate Manitoba,” said Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director of RPI. “That said, we are working on a number of initiatives to expand and leverage the College’s capacity to further support startup business in Manitoba, so stay tuned.”


Western Innovation Forum 2016

September 29, 2016 • Written by

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) is pleased to present the 3rd annual Western Innovation Forum (WIF) taking place on November 8-9, 2016 at the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia.

WIF 2016 is an industry-oriented conference aimed at connecting Western Canada’s aerospace, marine, defence and security industries to innovation-driven investment, partnership and business opportunities.

Day one will comprise of a full day conference program, networking opportunities, an innovation marketplace sponsored by OSI Maritime systems and an optional speakers lunch ($).

Day two will include an interactive innovation stage demonstrations, dedicated business to business/business to government (B2B/G) meeting sessions and an optional networking buffet lunch ($) for you to make key connections for your company necessary to allow your organization to grow and meet your business development objectives.

When: Nov 08-09, 2016
Location: The Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel, 1133 W Hastings Street Vancouver, BC
Registration Details: Register Here

$5.9 million for Red River College to bolster research in heavy vehicles and culinary innovation

September 8, 2016 • Written by

Canadian Press Images/John Woods

Canadian Press Images/John Woods

Today, Red River College received the largest influx of research funding since founding its research enterprise in 2004. This new investment will allow Red River College to boost innovation capacity in Manitoba’s vehicle technology and food development sectors.

“This is a red-letter day for the College, our partners, and for Manitoba’s innovation outlook in general,” said Paul Vogt, president and CEO of Red River College. “These national awards acknowledge not only industry needs, but the ability of the College to deliver innovation services, and Manitoba as a place where leading edge products are developed.”

The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour (on behalf of The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science) announced that Red River College will receive $3.6 million for advanced and sustainable vehicle technology research and $2.3 million for culinary innovation.

“These investments help post-secondary institutions such as Red River College build on their research strengths and forge closer ties to business partners in our community and province. Our support ensures that the work being done here will generate larger economic opportunities throughout Manitoba and will help grow the province’s middle class.”

Paul Vogt, President of Red River College Canadian Press Images/John Woods

Paul Vogt, President of Red River College Canadian Press Images/John Woods

“These new funds will be transformational for our research programs in the areas of vehicle technology and culinary innovation,” said Vogt. “Manitoba is already a major player in the world’s heavy vehicle sector, while we are undergoing a bit of a renaissance in terms of commercializing new food products. In both cases, these funds will help us work with producers to develop and test innovations.”

The awards have already sparked the establishment of a new Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) that will house MotiveLab, a 3,000 square foot research facility focused on supporting Manitoba’s heavy vehicle sector. MotiveLab will feature a 1,000 HP engine dynamometer test cell and a drive-in climatic chamber (large enough to fit a bus, or truck or farm vehicle) with an integrated 1,000 HP chassis dynamometer.

“MotiveLab will be a development and test facility that local industry partners have been asking for to support their R&D needs,” said Ray Hoemsen, executive director, Research Partnerships & Innovation, Red River College. “It will allow them to test performance in extreme climates (especially cold), the use of alternative fuels, emissions reductions, the use of new materials and components, and more – all right here in Manitoba. It will mean reduced time for product development and further incentive to innovate.”

On the culinary innovation side, the College has recently emerged as a key player in the Province – having already helped Manitoba companies and food producers to create new products , and innovative uses of locally grown food to create healthier menu items.

“Our advanced culinary research program will complement existing resources in the Province to enhance research opportunities for the entire food industry, from producers through to restaurants and cafeterias,” said Karen McDonald, chair, School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Red River College. “The skills and experiences gained by our students will impact the sector’s ability to innovate for years to come.”

The College’s culinary research program was hatched in 2014 with the construction of the Paterson GlobalFood Institute. Since then, Red River College has engaged in projects with Granny’s Poultry, the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Association, Best Cooking Pulses, as well as a handful of small and startup businesses.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is granting two awards of $2.3-million from their College and Community Innovation – Innovation Enhancement grant program and the Canada Foundation for Innovation is providing $1-million from their College Industry Innovation Fund program and an additional $300,000 from their Innovation Operating Fund.

VTEC and MotiveLab will be based in the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus.

Check out more coverage of this story:

Winnipeg Sun


Winnipeg Free Press

Top Photo – From left, Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at Red River College (RRC), Guy Levesque, Vice-President, Programs and Performance, CFI, Bettina Hamelin, Vice-President, Research Partnerships, NSERC, MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Paul Vogt, President of RRC, Karen McDonald, Chair of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at RRC and Dr. Mark Hoddenbagh, PhD, Vice-President, Strategic Development  at RRC are photographed at the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre at Red River College in Winnipeg, Wednesday, September 7, 2016. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced through the CCI Program, $32 million awarded to 32 projects that support university-college research collaboration, equipment, technology access centers and partnerships between colleges and companies. The Government of Canada is also investing nearly $3 million through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s CIIF Program. Canadian Press Images/John Woods

Vote for RRC Project in Create the Future Design Contest!

August 26, 2016 • Written by

RRC instructor and researcher, Leon Fainstein and one of his former students, Serge Broeska have been entered in the “Create the Future Design Contest.

Their innovation: Flat Plate Solar Stirling Engine

It harnesses the power of the sun, using sustainable and environmentally friendly technology. The beauty of this low cost engine is that anybody can build it at home. A trip to the local hardware store provides everything you need!

Voting closes September 9th, 2016
Learn more and vote!

Video Link:



Spilling the Beans: RRC featured in Canada’s Food & Beverage Processing Magazine

August 24, 2016 • Written by

RRC Culinary students at tasting perogies made with bean flour.

For the past two years, research chefs with RRC’s Advanced Culinary Research program have been developing new applications and recipes to show the versatility and nutritional benefits of pulses. Pulses are edible dry legume seeds such as lentils, dry peas, dry beans, and chickpeas.  They provide non-animal protein, fibre, and complex carbohydrates which play a role in weight management, maintaining good cholesterol levels, and provide a good nutritional boost to many foods.

Through funded research projects with industry partners such as  Manitoba Pulse and Soy Growers Association (MPSG), Best Cooking Pulses, and a variety of small start-up ventures, the chefs have reformulated dishes to incorporate pulses in non-conventional ways. A number of these dishes have been consumer tested at PGI with excellent results.  Research funding has been provided by NSERC, IRAP, and the MPSG research funds.  With International Year of Pulses wrapping up in December 2016, the Culinary Research team can be proud of their role in increasing pulse consumption for the health of consumers in North America.

To learn more, download the publication:

Mark Hoddenbagh – Vice-President, Strategic Development

June 22, 2016 • Written by

mark-h-headshotTransforming students, faculty, staff and clients through education, partnerships, entrepreneurship and applied research has been Mark’s focus since joining the college sector in 2007. This has been accomplished by developing strong internal and external networks with creative, driven and passionate people; leveraging the expertise of faculty and staff; engaging students in addressing real-world problems and opportunities; and collaborating closely with industry, government and community organizations.

Prior to joining Red River College, Mark worked at Algonquin College, as their Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives. Mark has also worked for the IOGEN Corporation in Ottawa, the Alberta Research Council in Edmonton, Millar Western Pulp Limited in Saskatchewan and the National Research Council of Canada.

While at Algonquin College, Mark was privileged to be involved with sustainability, entrepreneurship, applied research and commercialization, aboriginal affairs, First Generation students, experienced workers, school board programs, labour market information, partnerships and sponsorships, and immigrants.

He served on numerous committees including the Sustainable Algonquin Steering Committee, the College Budget Committee, the Entrepreneurship Working Group and the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan Advisory Team.

Mark has over twenty-five years of academic and applied research experience in chemistry, environmental sciences, advanced materials, pulp and paper, and biotechnology.

Mark holds a Ph.D. (Chemistry), a Bachelor of Science (Honours Chemistry) and a Bachelor of Arts (Chemistry/Spanish) from Queen’s University.

Partnering for Success: RRC/Manitoba Hydro Partnership featured in Globe & Mail

June 16, 2016 • Written by
Top row: Rob Spewak, RRC BETAC Manager; Lloyd Kuczek, VP with Manitoba Hydro; Jose Delos Reyes, RRC Research Manager; Bottom row: Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science; Ray Hoemsen, RRC Research director; His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada; Neil Cooke, Dean, Teaching Excellence, Innovation and Research, RRC; Mario Pinto, President of NSERC.
Credit: MCpl Vincent Carbonneau, Rideau Hall, OSGG

On May 26, 2016 Red River College (RRC) was prominently featured in a story on NSERC’s 2016 Synergy award winners, where RRC was the only college to receive the Synergy Award for Innovation.

Excerpt from the Article:

An example in the clean technology space is Manitoba Hydro Place, a collaboration between Red River College and Manitoba Hydro, says Dr. Hamelin. The challenge was to revitalize an aging downtown area in Winnipeg with emphasis on sustainability, she explains. The result? The construction of what’s considered one of the most energy-efficient office towers in North America.

“Manitoba Hydro Place is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified and has earned many awards. It’s very impressive,” says Dr. Hamelin, who toured the building recently. Her team also had a chance to ride in a zero-emissions electric battery transit bus, which represents another aspect of this collaboration.

The Red River College and Manitoba Hydro partnership was recognized with an NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation, says Dr. Hamelin, who believes raising the profile of collaborations may serve as an inspiration for others.

See the full article: Partnering for Success

RRC all electric transit bus project the product of an intelligent city

April 7, 2016 • Written by

Intelligent city

Check out this article in the Winnipeg Free Press by Martin Cash. He shares the exciting and – perhaps to some – surprising news that Winnipeg has been ranked as one of the planet’s most intelligent communities for the second time.

Red River College (RRC) evidently played a prominent role in Winnipeg achieving this distinction.

Except from the article:

Another collaboration that makes Winnipeg look intelligent is New Flyer Industries’ development of an all-electric bus as part of a project that includes the provincial government, Manitoba Hydro, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Red River College and Winnipeg Transit.

RRC Research Manager, Brent Wennekes was in attendance at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and Econimc Development Winnipeg luncheon where Robert Bell, co-founder of the New York-based Intelligent Community Forum presented to the audience a number of examples of why Winnipeg is considered an Intelligent Community.

“Robert said that he hasn’t seen anyone else achieve what the College and its partners had achieved with the all electric transit bus project,” said Wennekes. “He also quoted the Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training in his examples along with a number of other collaborative activities.”

Learn more about some of RRC’s Intelligent City contributions:

Zero Emissions Electric Transit Bus

This video shares information about North America’s first all-electric transit bus prototype and rapid charging system, which passed the the test of real-world in-transit testing and demonstration in the coldest winter that Manitoba has seen in over a century.  Learn more about the project and its international consortium of partners by checking out this professional video (produced with the support of NSERC).

Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing

This video highlights the technology, capabilities, focus areas, and resources offered by Red River College to industry via the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing which include the Centre for Aerospace Technology & Training.  Check out the video (created with the support of NSERC) to learn all about it:

RRC and Manitoba Hydro partnership recognized in Canadian Innovation News

April 6, 2016 • Written by

Green energy in one of the planet’s coldest cities

In February 2016, the RRC/Manitoba Hydro research partnership was recognized with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s prestigious Synergy Innovation Award at a ceremony held at the Governor General of Canada’s residence in Ottawa.

In its pilot issue, the Canadian Innovation News shared a few elements of this decade-long, award-winning partnership’s story.

Click the image below to access the full pilot issue to catch up on what’s been happening in Canada’s innovation scene. And don’t forget to check out RRC’s coverage on page 32!

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 4.09.57 PM



RRC supports WCIO to catalyze industry-academic partnerships across Western Canada

April 5, 2016 • Written by

brent-wennekesRed River College has joined forces with the Western Canadian Innovation Offices (WCIO) consortium as part of an effort to connect Western Canadian industry needs with the array of research and innovation resources that exist in WCIO’s nearly 40-member consortium of universities, colleges and polytechnics across the West.

The WCIO is a Western Economic Diversification (WD) Canada-funded pilot project that seeks to enhance collaboration between academic research institutions, and enhance access to these institutions by prospective industry partners. The overall goal is improved engagement between industry and academia, in order to address industry-driven needs and challenges.

“Increasing R&D investment by Canadian business enterprises is definitely an opportunity for Western Canada,” says Ray Hoemsen, Director of Applied Research & Commercialization (AR&C), and WCIO steering committee member. “The WCIO initiative is working to be part of the solution by increasing the research and innovation-related engagement between industry and the post-secondary sector.”

RRC will support the WCIO with boots on the ground. Brent Wennekes, Research Manager with AR&C, has been seconded part-time — with direct financial support from WCIO — to perform as a business development specialist working with post-secondary institutions in Manitoba. Brent’s is one of eight such positions being created across the West.

“Brent is not only connected to Manitoba’s business community, he is also recognized by many local researchers via his experience with both RRC and Innovate Manitoba, and has developed an excellent understanding of Canada’s innovation ecosystem,” says Hoemsen.

WCIO currently has funding available for energy-related projects that include more than one institutional research partner.

“Strategically, with RRC’s research themes of sustainable technology and advanced transportation, our partnership makes a lot of sense,” says Hoemsen. “More importantly, businesses now have a go-to resource for tapping into the wide array of academic research that exist in the West.”

Under the theme of ‘Energy,’ WCIO includes the following research areas: clean tech/alternative energy, remediation/reclamation, hydrocarbons, hydroelectric, grid design and distribution, and socio-economic impacts.

The results of WCIO’s first call for proposals are expected to be announced imminently. A second call for proposals is anticipated later in 2016.

The WD funding for WCIO was initiated and is held by the University of Manitoba, the lead institution in the WCIO consortium.

Do you, or does your industry or sector,
have a problem that needs solving? Want to explore your potential for research capabilities across Western Canada?

To get started or learn more, contact:

Brent Wennekes
Business Development Specialist, Western Canadian Innovation Office
204.631.3323 |