London Inc. Weekly 02 • 21 • 2020

Fanshawe partnership aims to accelerate agri-food innovation

A Fanshawe-Bioenterprise partnership will connect agri-food innovation companies with Fanshawe’s CARIB labs

FANSHAWE COLLEGE’S CENTRE for Research and Innovation has signed a partnership agreement with Guelph-based Bioenterprise, Canada’s leading agri-tech commercialization accelerator.

The partnership aims to combine the resources of the agricultural and food innovation centres with the mandate of supporting Canada’s startup and small- to mid-size enterprises to drive economic growth. Bioenterprise will help connect innovative companies from across the country to the technology and resources offered through Fanshawe’s Centre for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARIB) laboratories.

“This is an opportunity to engage industry and academia in practical projects,” said John Kelly, CIO of Bioenterprise. “We are going to create impactful economic development by decreasing the number of technologies that get caught at the early stages of commercialization and increasing the number of companies successfully going to market, either domestically or internationally. This will be a great benefit to Ontario’s economy and Canada’s leadership position in agricultural innovation.”

“Fanshawe’s CARIB labs are at the forefront of proof of concept and product testing, two key areas that growing businesses need to achieve success,” said Colin Yates, chair of the Fanshawe’s Centre for Research and Innovation. “We connect these businesses to the laboratory services, expertise and partners they need to bring their ideas to market. Our work in food innovation is both important to the regional economy and deeply relevant to the global need to produce more food that is more nutritious with less waste.”

As the fastest growing subset of London’s manufacturing sector, more than 7,000 people are employed by over 90 local agri-food businesses, including larger operations like Dr. Oetker, Natra Chocolate Amercia, Original Cakerie and McCormick, and smaller firms like Nuts for Cheese and Forked River Brewing Company.

“With emerging strengths in health and fermented foods, cannabis and alcoholic beverages, local companies are looking for resources to test new products, expand their markets and disrupt the food industry,” added Kapil Lakhotia, president and chief executive officer of the London Economic Development Corporation. “This new partnership is poised to grow London’s food-and-beverage processing sector and support the next generation of food businesses.”


3M Canada appoints Penny Wise as new president

Photo: Penny Wise

EARLIER THIS WEEK, London-based 3M Canada announced the appointment of Penny Wise as president. Wise brings more than 20 years of international experience at 3M and began her career at the London head office.

“I am so thrilled and proud to be returning to Canada,” said Wise. “It’s an exciting time to be re-joining 3M Canada and I look forward to working alongside the incredible team here to continue creating and elevating exceptional customer experiences.”

Wise has held several senior leadership roles at the company, most recently in St. Paul, Minnesota, leading 3M’s largest business section as global marketing director of the Safety & Industrial business group.

Wise holds an MBA from York University with a specialization in marketing. She also holds a Lean Black Belt in Six Sigma, the process improvement strategy favoured by 3M.

Wise succeeds Lars Hanseid, who becomes 3M’s vice-president of corporate affairs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and managing director of the company’s north Europe region based in London, England.

Established in 1951, 3M Canada was one of the first international subsidiaries opened by 3M. About 800 of 3M Canada’s 1,900 employees work at the manufacturing facility and head office in London.

Wise’s appointment comes at a time of pointed change for the global company. In January, 3M said it initiated a restructuring that will reduce approximately 1,500 positions worldwide, spanning all business groups, functions and geographies. It also announced a new global operating model that was implemented at the beginning of 2020. The new operating model further aligns its four business groups — Safety & Industrial, Transportation & Electronics, Health Care and Consumer — with its customers and go-to-market models.

Under the prior model, area and country teams that comprised 3M’s International Operations were responsible for setting priorities in their regions. Now, all of 3M’s international employees will report into the business groups and functions they are part of, and 3M no longer has an International Operations organization.


Motif Labs completes construction, announces supply contract

Photo: Motif Labs co-founders Ian Haase and Mario Naric

YESTERDAY, CANNABIS EXTRACTION and processing firm Motif Labs announced the completion of its phase 1 construction, retrofitting 12,500 square feet of its production facility in Aylmer. The facility has been built to EU-GMP standards, paving the way for the company to access international markets for its clients, expected in 2021. 

Within the initial build, Motif will be capable of converting 200,000 kg of biomass into highly purified extracts and formulations on an annual basis. According to the company, with 70,000 square feet of additional space at its disposal, and a robust R&D pipeline, it is currently evaluating opportunities for continued growth into ancillary services and products.

Motif also announced a two-year wholesale oil agreement with Slow Ride Bakery, an edibles manufacturer based in Ottawa. The agreement will provide Slow Ride with a minimum of 1 kg/month of high-quality THC distillate oil in order to manufacture the company’s premium line of baked goods, confectioneries and spreads. Motif will work on unique formulations and terpene blends to further enhance the manufacturing process and resulting effect of Slow Ride’s products.

“Motif Labs is excited to partner with Slow Ride Bakery, and to provide their talented team with exceptional quality cannabinoids and terpenes for their infused line of baked goods,” said Motif Labs CEO, Ian Haase. “Edibles will capture a significant share of the overall cannabis market, and Slow Ride is uniquely positioned to be one of the first entrants into this exciting new space. We look forward to being a trusted partner for many years to come.”

“We are delighted to be partnering with Motif Labs,” added Karen Dhawan, founder at Slow Ride Bakery. “With the experience and expertise of the Motif team, we are confident we will be enhancing our cookies, candies and spreads with the most premium distillate on the market. We are confident in their highly skilled team to customize and create out-of-this-world cannabinoids and terpene infusions for our treats. We were very impressed touring their beautiful facility in Aylmer, and we are excited to increase our purchasing as both our companies take their place in this new market.”


TechAlliance to move into downtown heritage property

Photo: TechAlliance will move to 333 Dufferin Avenue on April 1, 2020

ON WEDNESDAY OF this week, TechAlliance announced that the organization will be moving into a downtown heritage property at 333 Dufferin Avenue at the beginning of April.

“As the Regional Innovation Centre for the Southwestern Ontario corridor, TechAlliance is committed to increasing support for innovative companies at every stage, from pre-ideation to growth and beyond – this is our promise to our stakeholders,” said TechAlliance CEO, Christina Fox. “Our new downtown location delivers on that promise.”

Currently situated at the Western University research park on Collip Circle, Fox said the new location will bring expanded office, meeting and event space, as well as providing room for potential startups and other businesses looking to grow, with support from TechAlliance staff and partner technology agencies.

The property was originally built in 1878 for Nathaniel Reid, one of London’s first entrepreneurs. Designed by William Robinson, a key figure in the early growth and style of the city, the distinctive Ontario Cottage style building has recently been restored by Design House London.

“333 Dufferin began as an entrepreneur’s retreat, and for over 140 years it has housed many other business ventures,” Fox added. “In just a few weeks, TechAlliance will transform it into a home for the next generation of entrepreneurs, a gathering place for scaling companies, and a foundation upon which we will drive Southwestern Ontario’s innovation economy.” 


Featured Business Event

5G Showcase | March 2, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., RH Accelerator, 240 Waterloo Street

Ontario Centres of Excellence is partnering with TechAlliance, ENCQOR, CENGN, RH Accelerator and the London Economic Development Corp. to host a funding program information session in London on March 2, 2020. If your company is looking to learn more or are seeking support and partnerships for your innovation, you will learn how to leverage 5G to accelerate your business, product testing and commercialization.

This session is particularly valuable to companies and entrepreneurs involved with or interested in AR/VR, mobile gaming, cloud computing, high-performance computing, Industry 4.0 and precision agriculture. 

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