By Nathan Rudyk

What a great evening we had last night at the launch of the new Eastern Ontario Regional Innovation Centre! We celebrated just across the hall from OCRI, where the new Centre's team polished their chops since 2007 as the Investment and Commercialization unit serving entrepeneurs in the City of Ottawa. Now with a $2.25 million boost from The Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) over the next three years, this invaluable expertise is now available to accelerate companies across the Ottawa Valley.

But don't take my word for it, check out these videos I took last night featuring the Centre's clients:

Staffed by a five-person team of experienced advisors and mentors, the Eastern Ontario Regional Innovation Centre offers a comprehensive suite of innovation and commercialization programs and services focused on guiding entrepreneurs, building companies, generating investment, and bringing new products and/or services to the global marketplace. 

“Our sweet spot is start-up and emerging companies led by one to five entrepreneurs looking to commercialize new knowledge-based products and services,” says Michelle Scarborough, Managing Director of the Eastern Ontario Regional Innovation Centre. “Our job is to dramatically accelerate their progress through hands-on mentorship, market intelligence, and direct access to both private and government sources of capital.”

As Vice President, Investment and Commercialization at OCRI since 2007, Scarborough and her team served approximately 180 companies in 2010. More than 30 of those companies became eligible for investment and secured $13.4 million from private funding sources, and $2.6 million from public funding sources.

Two of those companies are Nuvyyo Inc. and CogniLore Information Solutions Inc. Nuvyyo makes JetStreamHD, the world's first consumer electronics product to stream digital media stored anywhere on a home computer network to the iPad. CogniLore has created an innovative new eBook solution for professional publishing companies looking to deliver content with contextual search to handheld devices such as the Apple iPad/iPhone or RIM Blackberry Playbook.

“Michelle and her team have been incredibly helpful as we stick-handled the private and government funding process,” says Grant Hall, CEO of Ottawa-based Nuvyyo. “With their help we received $120,000 in Federal IRAP funding, another $25,000 in seed funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence and this timely access to funds accelerated our company’s market entry for JetStreamHD by at least six months.”

“Our company has grown over 40 percent as a result of working with OCRI’s Investment and Commercialization group since 2008,” says André Dubé, President and CEO of Gatineau-based CogniLore. “They connected us with product development talent at Algonquin College, helped us get our books in shape for investor presentations, and recently gained us entry to a gathering of angel investors in New York City, which is the holy grail for our industry. The bottom line is we expect to grow our two-person company by 8-12 employees over the coming year. I’d urge any entrepreneurial company in Eastern Ontario to take advantage of the new Regional Innovation Centre.”

Go entrepreneurs go! And if you want to meet more of them, click here to the Eastern Ontario Regional Innovation Centre Client Shout-out Channel.

(Nathan Rudyk is President and CEO with market2world communications inc., the public relations and product marketing agency for global innovators.)