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Announcement of New Downtown Business Hub

By Kelly Jessup
group shot of people with big C logo on the wall behind them

The former Promenade Building located at 270 George Street North, will soon be home to a new downtown business hub with the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster (Innovation Cluster) and Peterborough Economic Development (PED) as anchor tenants.

The hub, known as VentureNorth, aims to make doing business in Peterborough easier for start-ups and existing businesses, allowing clients to access a suite of services and resources in a single location. With the Innovation Cluster and PED together in the same building, there is an excellent opportunity for more collaboration between the two organizations.

“This initiative is about creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem that fosters collaboration, mentorship and opportunity,” said Cam Taylor, one of the partners behind the VentureNorth collaboration. “By bringing partners such as Peterborough Economic Development and GPIC together under one roof with our community’s talented and passionate entrepreneurs, we’ll be successful in helping businesses start, grow and thrive. It’s an amazing opportunity to highlight the momentum of Peterborough’s innovation economy.”

GPIC is already setting up in their secondary location on the third floor at 270 George. Selected Innovation Cluster clients were invited into the space, known as The Cube, during renovations to continue working on their companies. Rick Dolishny, founder of BlushDrop and Bears’ Lair 2016 winner, is a client of both PED and the Innovation Cluster who is utilizing The Cube.

“I have accomplished more in my business in the past two weeks than I have in the past several months,” notes Dolishny who was one of the first clients to take residence in the downtown incubator. “BlushDrop has relaunched its revamped product, and with the Innovation Cluster’s support, advice and collaborative space, I feel that I am set up for success.”

The Innovation Cluster’s new space will include a new 10,000 square foot incubator, which has capacity to hold 40-50 client companies and will feature office space, two smaller meeting rooms, open common areas, shared kitchen space, a large boardroom and a copy and print area.

“We are excited to get start-ups out of their basement and sharing ideas,” stated Michael Skinner, President & CEO of the Innovation Cluster. “Peterborough is primed to become an entrepreneurial hub and the Innovation Cluster is excited to be a part of it.”

The Innovation Cluster will continue to maintain their presence at Trent University with the current 1,000 square foot incubator located in the DNA Building. The original incubator will specialize in supporting young entrepreneurs, cleantech, ag-tech and healthcare solutions.

For PED, this hub is an opportunity to consolidate two locations – the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Visitor Centre located at 1400 Crawford Drive, and the PED office at 210 Wolfe Street, which includes the Business Advisory Centre.

Rhonda, President and CEO of PED speaking at press announcement

“We recognize the cost savings and operational benefits of streamlining services under one roof,” said PED President & CEO Rhonda Keenan, regarding the plans to relocate the corporation, “There is also a substantial benefit to having our entire team of experts in one location. We will continue to provide excellent business development, advice and support services, destination marketing services and visitor services at this new location.”

Bringing PED’s services to a centralized hub allows for the PED team to work more closely with community partners and offers a more convenient location for entrepreneurs in the downtown core.

From a tourism perspective, PED is looking at changing visitor services in 2017 and beyond, in line with trends in the travel industry. This includes investigating opportunities for mobile visitor services.

With the move to a downtown location, PED is allowing for clients to access their services in a convenient one-stop-shop environment. It is anticipated that Peterborough Economic Development will open the doors at their new location in early 2017.