MANITOBA'S digital media industry has launched a new initiative aimed at helping the industry grow.
The three-part initiative was unveiled at a news conference Thursday organized by New Media Manitoba, the not-for-profit association that supports the interactive digital media industry in the province.
NMM executive director Kevin Hnatiuk said the initiative, which will be rolled out over the next several years, includes launching a mentorship program for new media students and existing industry workers, developing a sales portal where industry members and prospective clients can get help in either obtaining or marketing new-media services, and establishing a co-work space in the Exchange District where new media companies and businesses can lease space and work together on projects.
Hnatiuk said a consultation process, which includes a survey of 420 local new media professionals, identified those as the top three priorities for developing a more competitive industry.
He said the mentorship program will provide subsidies to new media firms who need help in training new student employees, and in upgrading the skills of existing workers.
For example, he said there is a shortage of project managers in the industry, but many smaller firms don't have the time or the resources to train workers for those positions. So the mentorship program would provide a subsidy to help cover half the costs of bringing in someone to deliver the training.
The sales portal, which would operate through the NMM's website, would be a place where businesses needing new-media services can find a service provider. And new media freelancers and companies can also go there to obtain help to market their services.
Hnatiuk said NMM hopes to hire one or two full-time sales and marketing specialists for the new service.
He said the Exchange District is a logical place to set up the co-work space because that's where the bulk of the city's new media companies are located. He said NMM will manage it, and will also likely move its own operations into the new centre once it opens.
First, the association needs to find partners to help cover the estimated $400,000 to $500,000 in annual operating costs.
-- Murray McNeill