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Small Town, Big Sky Series Profiles Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Region

Grande Prairie’s Centre for Research and Innovation is showcased as champion of Alberta innovation 

Edmonton, AB - The Rural Alberta Development Fund proudly promotes the success of rural projects with the release of a second case study, focused on the explosion of innovation in the Peace Region thanks to the successful contributions of Grande Prairie’s Centre for Research & Innovation (CRI).

The Small Town, Big Sky series showcases the tenacity of Alberta’s rural communities and the leaders who have brought big sky ideas to fruition. Local, innovative organizations like Grand Prairie’s CRI are compelling examples of the potential and success of Alberta’s rural communities. The latest case study highlights the successful relationship between the CRI and Peace Region innovators, and demonstrates the flourishing results businesses are achieving with the CRI’s support and guidance.

In 2008, the Rural Alberta Development Fund committed $3.4 million to create the CRI, which was designed to serve as a resource for innovators. The CRI connects entrepreneurs and inventors with scientists, researchers, investors and mentors to ease the initial stages of business development and encourage additional innovation.

Bruce Rutley, Director of the CRI, commented on the CRI’s success, noting that “The CRI has worked with over 200 clients, assisted with over 100 Intellectual Property requests, helped commercialize 18 products and services and are helping with another 7 prototypes.  New businesses are being developed and existing businesses are hiring new employees. The CRI has attracted over $5 million in revenue – almost all of which has been expended at home, in the Peace Country.”

 CRI’s resources have bolstered the innovative capacity of the Grande Prairie region beyond all expectations. In 2010, Alberta had more patent applications per capita than any other Canadian province, and 40% of those applications came from the Peace Country, a region with only 5% of Alberta’s population.  This success isn’t going unnoticed: The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses named Grande Prairie the top entrepreneurial city in Canada in 2010.

Read the full story of the CRI and the rest of the Small Town, Big Sky features at www.radf.ca/be_inspired


Background on Centre for Research and Innovation

The Centre for research and Innovation (CRI) is helping entrepreneurs in the Peace Region turn ideas and innovations into commercially viable services or products. The CRI in Grande Prairie is managing the project, systems, operations and people necessary to develop a "culture of innovation" amongst Peace Region residents. CRI provides a robust suite of innovation and applied research services for inventors and innovators while providing core resources for innovators to connect with scientists, researchers, investors and mentors.

Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $77.5 million has been committed to 71 projects. Applications are now being accepted for the remaining $22.5 million, which must be committed by March 31, 2012.


Attachment: Electronic Media Kit

For more information, contact:
Courtney Mosentine
Director of Communications
Rural Alberta Development Fund
780.436.9585 office; 780.399.7336 cell
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)