Thunder Bay’s new Business Incubation Zone
THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Over the past several years, under stewardship from the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission, the region is seeing growth in the entrepreneurial sector of our economy.
Today, Thunder Bay’s new small business incubation zone was unveiled at the Waverley branch of the Thunder Bay Public Library.
Aptly named hub:north, it is a low-cost to free resources for local entrepreneurs, innovators and start-up companies. It is a collaborative project between Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre, Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL), and the City of Thunder Bay. It is also supported by the Ontario government.
“hub: north is meant to fast-track new businesses and innovations by providing entrepreneurs a space to work and grow their start-ups into full-fledged operations,” said Piero Pucci, Development Officer at CEDC. “As an incubator, it is designed to facilitate innovation and small business growth, and it is set to increase innovation and collaboration in our region.”
Located downstairs at the Waverley Resource Library, hub:north is open to anyone to use and provides spaces and services conducive to innovation and business development including the consulting, training, mentoring, and market research services. hub:north will allow entrepreneurs to move their businesses out of their homes and into an environment that will enhance the development of their projects.
Stephen Hurrell, Head of Automation at TBPL said at the launch, “Not only will hub: north provide a functional area for entrepreneurs to cultivate their projects, but it will also serve as a comfortable and inviting space for them to share ideas and develop relationships, partnerships, and products with fellow innovators.”
“The City of Thunder Bay realizes the importance of these community partnerships in building an environment that helps new businesses,” adds Councillor Rebecca Johnson. “The Library’s expanding programs speaks to the creative and innovative manner in which we’re able to address the needs of small businesses, and we wish the best to these start-ups on their ventures.”
hub:north will be home to at least five start-ups over the next few months as part of Costarter, an intensive build-by-doing accelerator program designed to get early-stage products off the ground. Along with start-up space within hub:north, these companies will receive $15,000 in investment funding, mentorship from local experts, as well as training, information, and services from the Innovation Centre, CEDC and Entrepreneur Centre, and TBPL.
The Costarter participants are:
Bee Meety – mobile application used to set up meetings and connect professionals
Easy Health – mobile application for specific sectors within the healthcare industry
Ski-Lines.com – online skiing news content and market place
CTRL Cosmetics – organic and environmentally friendly beauty products
Microbiate – chemical and contaminant neutralizer used for cleaning hazardous spills safely
James Ellard, Business Development Officer of the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre says, “Costarter attracts both local start-ups and international entrepreneurs. We’re excited to work with this new group of Costarter companies and look forward to helping their innovative early stage products get off the ground and into the market.”
hub:north includes furnished areas, online bookable desks, storage lockers, meeting rooms, and access to the Library’s Makerspace, which features tech-related workshops, demonstrations, and the use of a 3D printer. It provides free Wi-Fi as well as mailing, faxing, scanning, and printing services on a cost recovery basis.