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NS Researchers And Businesses Hook Up At The ILO Food Connector Event

In an energized event that resembled speed dating, six growing Nova Scotia businesses met with researchers from the Applied Human Nutrition program at Mount Saint Vincent University (The Mount), all vying for the perfect business-research match-up.

“Businesses are not always aware of the opportunities they have through universities to test products or strategies – we’d like to change that,” says Gina Funicelli, Director of The Mount’s Industry Liaison Office (ILO).

ILO Administrator Tanya Moxley used a stopwatch to time the three-minute pitches as local businesses wooed researchers with their growth and innovation potential. Businesses also promoted current products and services, from Nova Scotia cranberry juice to dietary consultation. Researchers from The Mount, Acadia, SMU, and Holland College also showcased their services, projects and ideas.

The ILO, in partnership with the Centre for Women in Business (CWB), organized the Food Connector Event, pairing business owners with academic researchers. The goal is to create mutually beneficial collaborations that build business growth and supplier capacity as well as applied R&D capabilities within the Atlantic Canadian food industry. Ideas ranged from the development and testing of innovative products and tools to ensuring that Nova Scotians have equal access to nutritious food sources.
“Our clients are very excited about the potential leads and ideas generated by this event,” says Cindy Russell, Business Development Officer at the Centre for Women in Business (CWB). “These relationships create the R&D opportunities our Atlantic businesses need.”

Participating businesses included Taproot Farms, Terra Beata, Steep Hill Solutions: Omega Crunch, Local Source, Complete Health and Nutrition, and Corkum and Associates.

Dr. Ardra Cole, Associate Vice President, Academic and Research at The Mount, explained that with the support of the ILO, the university is expanding the whole notion of business/university R&D. Applied research projects will pair all academic disciplines — not just science — with all sectors of industry, in order to translate knowledge into the information and products that will benefit our communities.
“The value and application of research across the arts and social sciences is essential to economic growth and development in the province,” says Dr. Cole. “There is also a strong link between commitment and social responsibility in these disciplines, which is at the heart of what we do here at Mount Saint Vincent University.”

CWB agrees. “We’re looking at this type of R&D collaboration for clients representing all industries,” says Tanya Priske, the Centre’s executive director. “As CWB celebrates our 20th anniversary, one of our mandates is to make sure our clients have the tools they need to increase their growth, capacity, and connections in a way that helps them compete internationally.”

Future industry-research events will be announced through the Centre.

The Centre for Women in Business is dedicated to advancing women-owned business locally, nationally, and internationally through innovative business training, mentorship, networking, and R&D opportunities. Founded in 1992, in partnership with Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the CWB is Canada’s only university development centre that’s focused on women.