$3 million in funding announced for Niagara Falls-Ryerson Innovation Hub

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By Nathaniel Crouch

The Niagara Falls-Ryerson Innovation Hub has received $3 million dollars from FedDev Ontario, a program that supports business and innovation developments in the province.

The donation, announced on Sept. 3 2019, was part of a larger funding announcement, which totalled $13 million toward revamping the Niagara Falls economic sector. 

“By making strategic investments like these to diversify our regional economies, we are sharpening Canada’s competitive edge in the new global economy,” said Navdeep Bains, the Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, in a news release. 

The project has a long history of will they or won’t they. Ryerson submitted a statement of intent in 2015 to FedDev Ontario, but FedDev turned down the application. Last year The Eyeopener reported on the second proposal which the City of Niagara Falls submitted in December 2018 to implement a Ryerson-partnered research innovation zone in the area.

As previously reported, Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi said if Niagara’s proposal is successful, the university will work with the City of Niagara Falls to implement a model of Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) in the area. There are no updates yet as to whether or not Niagara’s second proposal will be successful now with new FedDev funding. 

Ryerson spokesperson did not respond to our requests for comment regarding whether or not the second proposal will be accepted as FedDev’s new funding is released. 

The purpose of the money is the construction of the hub as no building is in place for Ryerson to take over. Ryerson spokesperson did not respond to our requests for comment regarding whether or not Ryerson has a timeline in place until the Hub is fully operational. 

“The Ryerson Innovation Hub will elevate Niagara Falls, bring us an esteemed educational partner in Ryerson and bring critical mass downtown again, as we support students, education and young entrepreneurs in our city,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati. 

With files from Heidi Lee