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October 2, 2011

Lakeland and Portage partner to build East Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network

(Oct. 3, 2011 - Vermilion, AB) Budding technology entrepreneurs in eastern Alberta may soon have an innovation network to tap into for business advice, product design, venture capital financing and much more.

Lakeland College and Portage College recently received nearly $20,000 as an investment from the Alberta Rural Development Network to lay the groundwork for the development of a Regional Innovation Network (RIN) in east central Alberta. The region spans from Provost north to Lac La Biche, and from Lloydminster west to Vegreville. There are currently six other RINs in Alberta.

The purpose of a RIN is to help small and medium sized companies develop and increase innovation in the fields of health, energy, environment, bio-industries, manufacturing, and information and communication technologies, explains Diane Harms, director of applied research and innovation at Lakeland College.

Standard services within a RIN include technology and market evaluations, business advisory services, productivity assessment, product design and performance assessments, and access to technology development advisors plus mentor and angel investor networks.

Lakeland College and Portage College are collaborating on this project to ensure people in the regions they serve will one day have access to the specialized help
available through a RIN.

“This area of the province is home to a lot of talented and entrepreneurial people with great ideas. We want to help them convert their ideas into successful products or services by making it easier for them to access the information and expertise they need to enter the marketplace,” says Glenn Charlesworth, president of Lakeland College.

“Having a RIN in this region creates capacity for local businesses and bourgeoning entrepreneurs to get the advice and the infrastructure support needed to turn their ideas into profits. Portage is pleased to be working with Lakeland College on this community-based initiative,” said Dr. Trent Keough, president of Portage College.

Preparation for the creation of a RIN in east central Alberta is now underway. During the next few months a number of events and planning meetings will be held throughout the region to gather input. A development plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year. For more information on the project, contact Diane Harms at Lakeland College at 780 581 0656 or Guy Gervais at Portage College at 780 639 0039, ext. 105.

Established in 1913, Lakeland College has campuses in Vermilion and Lloydminster and serves more than 8,000 learners each year. In addition to offering more than 50 credit programs, Lakeland College is active in energy, agricultural sciences, environmental sciences, health and human services, business and manufacturing research.

Established in 1968, Portage College services the north eastern region of Alberta. Portage offers their communities learning opportunities with programs in business, arts and humanities, academic upgrading, environment, cultural arts, health and wellness, and trades and technologies.

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