Springboard Atlantic to play catalytic role in region’s new growth strategy
By Mark Randall
“If you look at the goals of the Atlantic Growth Strategy, they align directly with our own mandate and our members efforts to provide research and capabilities to solve significant problems, and help build great companies,” says Daryl Genge who took over the helm of the regional network in late 2017 after a career in government, academia and industry. “Springboard is kind of a bridge. We can bring our members together to focus on opportunities that benefit the whole region and not just individual institutions.”
Springboard is a network of academic institutions designed to accelerate innovation and commercialization in Atlantic Canada. It works with industry and government to pool the region’s expertise, knowledge and investment to better position Atlantic Canada to compete at a national and global level.
Genge also sees a role for Springboard in attracting inward investment to Atlantic Canada. He notes that most companies looking to expand into new jurisdictions are interested in more than just incentives—they’re interested in regions that can help them innovate.
“Companies are looking for places that can provide highly qualified people who can work with them to really expand their market presence,” says Genge. “They’re also looking to work with partners who can help them continuously innovate—partners who are nimble and can offer world-class research and facilities, so they can bring new products to market faster. The Springboard network is well positioned to work alongside government agencies to really position ourselves as an attractive place for this kind of investment.”
Looking ahead, Genge says Atlantic Canada is well poised to take advantage on several fronts.
“We’re scoring some exciting wins in Atlantic Canada—most recently the ocean technology supercluster funding. The number of new tech companies starting up and scaling up is growing significantly. We don’t have to look too far in other areas like medicine, or in some of our more traditional industry sectors such as agriculture, to see the impact that our researchers are having.
“We’re seeing growth in partnerships among universities, colleges and industry focused on solving real world problems and making us more competitive,” he adds. “And, we’re seeing a significant increase in investment—particularly private-sector investment which just goes to recognize the great talent and opportunities we have in this region.”