The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, joined Manitoba Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart and Paul Vogt, President and CEO of Red River College (RRC), to announce support for the construction of the $95.4-million Innovation Centre at RRC’s Exchange District Campus.
RRC will use government and private-sector funding to develop the new Innovation Centre, the first of its kind in Western Canada. The Innovation Centre will attract an additional 1,200 students to the Exchange District, stimulating economic development and further growth of this historic part of downtown Winnipeg. It will bring together industry, students, instructors, researchers and community members to work on commercialization projects for start-ups and SMEs. The Centre will also enable social enterprise and indigenous entrepreneurship and will help ensure students are job-ready and able to thrive in the new economy.
“This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation,” said Carr. “That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into middle-class jobs and start-up companies into global successes.”
Of the $95.4-million investment, $40.6 million will come from the federal government and $54.8 million from RRC, which will be launching a major fundraising campaign in the coming months. Manitoba is supporting the Innovation Centre through a loan guarantee to RRC for up to $54.8 million. This guarantee will help move the project forward by enabling RRC to secure a better interest rate on its project financing as it implements its fundraising campaign.
“Creating stronger linkages between post-secondary, local industry and research groups will create new opportunities for Manitoba students to gain hands-on experience and build a rewarding career,” said Wishart. “Red River College is helping to lead the way in this regard. The Province is pleased to support this innovative initiative to enable the training of highly skilled workers while providing a competitive edge to Manitoba’s economy.”
“This is a major step forward for the future of Red River College,” added Vogt. “It represents a modernization and a new approach to teaching and partnerships while still doing what RRC does best – providing job-ready grads to industry and helping drive economic growth. We greatly appreciate the support of our federal and provincial government partners. We know we that we still have a lot of work to do and look forward to launching our first-ever major fundraising campaign and engaging the business community, philanthropic leaders, our alumni and other stakeholders to bring our vision to reality.”
Federal funding for this project is being provided through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. This fund is designed to promote economic activity across Canada and help Canada’s universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, act as engines of discovery and collaborate on innovations that help Canadian companies compete and grow internationally.