Published On: Wednesday, 08 March 2017

Private Sector-Post Secondary Collaboration Yields Profitable Partnerships

Private Sector-Post Secondary Collaboration Yields Profitable Partnerships

- Christie Ray is the CEO of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at christie.ray@pgchamber.bc.ca.

PRINCE GEORGE - From advocacy to networking to group insurance, our Chamber team works to provide opportunities for local businesses to grow and prosper. But recently, we began something new!

Together with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the College of New Caledonia (CNC), we hosted the “Collaborations…Connecting Business to Campus” launch event.

The luncheon brought together our members, as well as representatives from Prince George’s university and college. UNBC and CNC shared stories of successful collaborations between post-secondary and the business community.

For example, Smithers engineering firm Wildernest Systems Inc. partnered with CNC’s School of Trades and Technology. Together, they developed a brand-new new modular building system.  Quickly and easily, it can be used to set up temporary structures in remote work camps.

With funding and support from two federal agencies, the team successfully designed and tested a first-generation prototype.  They continue to work together to bring the building system to market. And at UNBC, students developed intuitive software that encourages the public to participate in finding solutions to social problems.

Dr. Alex Aravind's research team partnered with Goldstream Publishing Inc. to develop software to track moose populations in Northern British Columbia. Together, they created the “My Moose” app and by doing so, are providing important data for biologists.

These kinds of partnerships help local businesses tap into the expertise of post-secondary institutions. Companies collaborate with the best and brightest minds, and many end up hiring the students involved. Collaborations can transfer innovation from the academic world, into local economic success! Students also gain hands-on experience and make connections in their field of study; it’s truly a win-win.

Our launch event wrapped up with networking, so our members could meet the professionals from CNC and UNBC. Our local post-secondary institutions are truly top-notch; it was so exciting to see them reach out to our members! We can’t wait to see what partnerships stem from this initiative. We intend to keep the momentum going, and encourage future collaborations.