Research is my business partner

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Research is my business partner

Businesses across Canada innovate, grow and prosper when they partner with cutting-edge research labs
January 27, 2020

For small- and medium-sized enterprises, the crux of staying competitive is change.

It’s rethinking previously accepted ideas to unlock new opportunities, reimagining how we do things to find more sustainable, and therefore more profitable, solutions or reinventing the technologies we take for granted to make them more powerful and open up new markets.

And since the world is changing faster than ever, businesses that embrace evolution will rise to the top, and economies that support the research that fuels those transformations will be the ones to flourish.

In this collection, find Canadian companies that have found the path to change by collaborating with world-class research labs.

  • Catastrophic failure was the fate of the first prototype plastic control bars created by Victoria-based kiteboarding company Ocean Rodeo. Under tests simulating the force of wind, the weight of a kiteboarder and the torque of performing tricks, the bars broke, cracked and exploded. Experts at Camosun College fixed the problems and tested the new bars to prove they exceeded industry-standard strength tests. Now, Ocean Rodeo has increased sales by incorporating the rust- and corrosion-resistant bars not only into its own kiteboards, but also as components for other kiteboard makers. Return to...
  • The Niagara peninsula is Canada’s largest wine-producing region, despite the fact that its geography and climate present unique challenges. Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) conducts research to help winemakers overcome those challenges, including helping Fielding Estate Winery grow its sparkling wine sales by 30 percent. Return to the "Research is my business partner" collection...
  • Jill and Derrick Green were happily living in Cleveland, Ohio, when they got a call from Derrick’s former professor at the University of New Brunswick. Bruce Balcom, an expert in materials science, had discovered a way to use magnetic resonance imaging to analyse the behaviour of oil and gas inside rocks, and he wanted them to move back to New Brunswick to commercialize it.  “We laughed, because we had a pretty great life down there and thought, ‘no way,’” recalls Jill, a civil engineer. They both had good jobs and had just started a family.  But the couple was intrigued and...
  • At the turn of the century, Chantiers Chibougamau faced a dilemma: demand for traditional softwood lumber products – their main line of business – was on the decline and the ongoing softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the United States put the pressure on to find new revenue streams. Since trees harvested in northern Québec are often relatively small, the company needed to be innovative to remain profitable. Through their partnership with FPInnovations, the company developed a new line of value-added engineered wood products, which opened up new building design and construction...
  • There are 67,000 kilometres of unpaved roads in Manitoba, enough to wrap around the Earth about one-and-a-half times. That’s a 67,000-kilometre risk of ruts, potholes and giant dust-clouds. Brandon University geology professor Hamid Mumin lives beside one of those roads just outside Brandon, Man., and understands the problem well. When he learned about Cypher Environmental at a mining convention, he saw a solution.  Cypher produces EarthZyme, a liquid catalyst which, when mixed with clay, creates a strong, damage-resistant surface. While the Winnipeg-based company sells the catalyst in...