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This article was published 7/12/2016 (1745 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Fresh off winning a national Startup Canada award last week for entrepreneur support, North Forge Technology Exchange is opening its first satellite centre, in Pinawa, with more likely to come.
North Forge East opens this week in Pinawa to service communities in eastern Manitoba including Lac du Bonnet, Beausejour, Grand Beach, Anola, Dugald, Oakbank, Sagkeeng First Nation, Powerview-Pine Falls and Selkirk.
In the week its website has been up, it’s attracted applicants from across the region, including from Steinbach.
The idea is North Forge will leverage its track record of success in helping entrepreneurs in Winnipeg to the eastern region of the province to help them develop their concepts into businesses.
It will make its extensive and growing bench of expert mentors available to members of North Forge East along with a range of services, including co-working space with Wi-Fi, video conferencing equipment, meeting and event space, grant assistance, investor and market intelligence, networking opportunities, training and access to the Winnipeg Fabrication Lab’s prototyping equipment.
"North Forge is a result of meaningful collaborations, and that’s what’s behind the opening of our office in Pinawa," said president Jeff Ryzner.
Enthusiastic support from Pinawa Mayor Blair Skinner and from Canadian Nuclear Laboratories helped make North Forge’s first sub-office a reality.
Shane Li, an official with Pinawa Community Development Corp., will be the president of North Forge East.
"This is not just about Pinawa," he said.
"Entrepreneurs from across the eastern region of the province can access the same information and services provided by North Forge."
In 1963, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (now Canadian Nuclear Laboratories) built the town of Pinawa to provide a community for employees of the Whiteshell Laboratories nuclear research facility.
Over the past 20 years, Whiteshell Laboratories has been in the process of being decommissioned. The resulting job loss has impacted the economy of Pinawa and its neighbouring municipalities.
Among other things, North Forge has invested in cloud infrastructure and additional software licences so that, for example, entrepreneurs in Pinawa can access design software linked directly with 3D printers at North Forge’s Winnipeg Fabrication Lab on Adelaide Street.
There, qualified staff and volunteers can produce products generated by the designer from a remote location.
Pinawa is likely the first of multiple remote locations for North Forge. Ryzner said discussions have been ongoing to set up locations in Brandon and somewhere in the north.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.