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Successful partnerships

Grenfell welcomes funding for functional foods, entrepreneurism


By Pamela Gill

Two important areas of research and entrepreneurial development have received support through the Government of Canada and Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Natalia Prieto Vidal stands in front of a white wall of computer cubicles behind and a white desk in front in the Functional Foods Lab at Grenfell Campus.
Researcher Natalia Prieto Vidal in the Functional Foods Lab at Grenfell Campus.
Photo: Submitted

The Functional Foods Sensory Laboratory, located at Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook, and the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre, a partnership of Grenfell Campus and College of the North Atlantic, will receive funding to increase their capacity as supports for Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The continued support of our federal and provincial governments demonstrates their commitment to facilitating our agri-food research and entrepreneurial activities,” said Dr. Ian Sutherland, vice-president (Grenfell Campus) Memorial University.

“Both facilities are critical to sustainable regional development for the western region of Newfoundland by strengthening collaboration between industry, post-secondary institutions, government, community partners and entrepreneurs.”

Food processing capacity

The functional foods lab will receive a $534,093 non-repayable contribution from the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and $549,314 from the provincial Department of Industry, Energy and Technology to expand the capacity of the functional foods research program.

New analytical and processing equipment, as well as several new positions — a food scientist, analytical chemist, food developer, an industry liaison officer and two graduate students — will allow the development of significant new industry partnerships to support and grow the province’s food processing capacity

Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre will receive a $271,650 non-repayable contribution from the Government of Canada through ACOA and $58,250 from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to conduct promotional activities and counselling to support entrepreneurs at the centre.


Navigate champions a culture of entrepreneurship by helping aspiring entrepreneurs, with a focus on student entrepreneurs, from the pre-startup or idea phase through to the development of fully fledged business models and plans.

The centre provides access to business tools, one-on-one business counselling, financial resources, startup programming, events and opportunities for networking, mentorship and learning.

“Over the last year, we have learned the importance of self-sufficiency and innovation; and we have admired and supported the incredible tenacity, creativity and resourcefulness of our entrepreneurs,” said Gudie Hutchings, member of Parliament, Long Range Mountains, on behalf of Mélanie Joly, minister, Economic Development and Official Languages and minister responsible for ACOA.

“Through investments like these in Grenfell Campus of Memorial University, the Government of Canada is working to help boost food security, nurture entrepreneurship and foster important research and development. Together, we will continue building a sustainable, prosperous future for all of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Tools, support and knowledge

Andrew Parsons, minister, Industry, Energy and Technology, said the investments are positive examples of the success that is possible when all partners work together.

“Our government is proud to invest in applied research and innovation in order to diversify and grow our economy, in this region and throughout the province,” he said.

“Through this support, we will see the further growth of the Functional Foods Sensory Lab and the province’s food processing capacity. At the same time, the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre will continue to promote innovation and entrepreneurial activity in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Trudy Barnes, vice-president, College of the North Atlantic, and vice-president, partnerships and innovation, echoed Minister Parson’s sentiment about collaboration.

“Success stories are often based on partnerships,” she said. “CNA is committed to supporting the province and our eco-system partners through initiatives that foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and create collaborations on applied research initiatives. They promote the diversification of our economy and provide the essential tools, support and knowledge for those creating business opportunities in this province. We look forward to working with our partners at Grenfell on the continuation of the Navigate mandate.”

For more information, visit the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre and Functional Foods Sensory Lab websites.

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