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New leadership

Genesis Centre appoints new president and CEO

Campus and Community

By Jeff Green

A familiar name to the Newfoundland and Labrador business community is taking on a new leadership role with an organization she’s helped grow over the past decade.

Michelle Simms is the new president and chief executive officer of the Genesis Centre, Memorial’s business incubator for technology-based ventures.

“Now more than ever, we should be supporting Newfoundland and Labrador companies.” — Michelle Simms

Passionate approach

Ms. Simms was appointed by the centre’s Board of Directors earlier this month. She replaces Greg Hood who resigned in July and relocated back to his home province of Ontario for a new career opportunity.

“I don’t think it’s a big secret that I have a strong passion for the Genesis Centre and for entrepreneurship,” said Ms. Simms, a Memorial alumna who graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2000.

“We have a very active Board of Directors that wants to see Genesis continue to grow. I’m really looking forward to working with the Genesis team to grow the centre’s suite of programs so that we can help more companies reach new heights.”

Former VP

No stranger to the Genesis Centre, Ms. Simms first joined the organization in 2002 and was promoted to vice president in 2015.

She’s proud of the role the centre has played in strengthening the province’s economy. She points to the fact it has assisted more than 150 technology companies in its 19-year history. Collectively, these companies have raised more than $90 million and are currently employing more than 650 people in this province.

“I believe that Genesis has a unique opportunity now to help in the diversification of the provincial economy by encouraging people to think innovatively and act innovatively,” said Ms. Simms, who is also a member of the board of directors of OceansAdvance and the Canadian Digital Media Network’s advisory board.

“We need to support our entrepreneurs and those considering entrepreneurship as a career option and provide them with the tools and programs they need to be successful. We need to seek out investment options for them and shine a light on our entrepreneurs so that the world sees them.”

Entrepreneurial DNA

When it comes to entrepreneurship, Ms. Simms knows a thing or two. In additional to her professional career with the Genesis Centre, she grew up in and around her parent’s business, seeing first-hand the important role small businesses play in rural parts of the province.

“I was born and raised in St. Anthony on the Northern Peninsula,” she noted. “Both of my parents are entrepreneurs and my grandfather was an entrepreneur, so I think my passion for business is derived from them.”

Genesis ‘momentum’

Alumnus Fred Cahill, chairman of the Genesis Group’s Board of Directors, says Ms. Simms is a natural fit to help lead the Genesis Centre.

“With the experience she has gained with the Genesis Group in the last decade and most recently as vice-president of operations in the last 18 months under our former CEO, we strongly believe that Michelle is quite ready to take on this new and challenging role and will build on the momentum and great strides the group has made in the last year.”

For her part, Ms. Simms is excited about the role the Genesis Centre is playing in fostering entrepreneurship in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Now more than ever, we should be supporting Newfoundland and Labrador companies, buying their products and services, mentoring their founders and seeking out innovative opportunities in our own companies and organizations to develop.”

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