City economic development department moving to Grand Innovations

The City of Cambridge’s economic development department is on the move and will become part of the Grand Innovations Technology Hub being created in the former Tiger Brand building at the corner of Grand Avenue and Cedar Street.

During Tuesday’s meeting council approved the move to create the new Invest Cambridge office in leased space within the tech hub. The city will sign a five-year lease with Grand & Cedar Inc. and Grand Innovations Inc. costing $48,420 annually.

While it took decades to consolidate city operations under one roof at Cambridge city hall and out of leasing office space around the Galt core, Mayor Doug Craig said, “Things change and city hall has to change too.”

“This is really exciting,” said James Goodram, director of economic development. “It’s going to be a real game changer for the city. It will put us where the action is.”

“It’s going to be a real game changer for the city. It will put us where the action is.” — James Goodram, director of economic development

Goodram and his six-member team will work with legal, financial, accounting, marketing, research and development services to create “a one-stop shop” to assist start up businesses as well as existing businesses to grow their enterprises in the city.

“I don’t know of another city that’s done this,” he said.

In his report to council Goodram states: “The daily interaction between the city, other levels of government who provide funding support, Conestoga College, private enterprise and the nonprofit Grand Innovations will provide unparalleled support to those whom wish to establish, expand and grow their businesses in Cambridge, while providing new jobs and eventually new non-residential assessment to the city. “

Asked if the city might not have waited to see the new tech hub prove itself, Goodram is confident: “This is going to work.”

City staff will move into Grand Innovations in mid-April, where it will be joined by Conestoga College.

“They will be taking 14,000-square-feet of space and instead phasing in their programs they have decided to do it all at once,” Goodram said.

The college plans to develop an applied research and technology hub, which will expand it’s Centre for Smart Manufacturing (CSM) and build on the development of new technologies to improve e-waste recycling.

Conestoga’s CSM already conducts applied research in partnership with a growing number of local companies, including Can-Technologies, Fusion Cast and Innovative Steam Technologies.

Conestoga researchers are also working with several local companies, including Greentec, to develop new recycling technologies for waste electrical and electronic equipment, the world’s fastest growing solid waste stream.

In addition it also plans to use Grand Innovations as its base for innovation and applied research in support of the cybersecurity industry.

Still in development, the college’s cybersecurity hub will develop new solutions to help businesses adapt to change and respond to the risks associated with the ever-increasing reliance on cybertechnology.

In his report to council Goodram states: “This is a great opportunity to seize the benefits of this synergistic environment to accelerate the business and job creation possibilities.”

From the Cambridge Times