The Manitoba government is building on its knowledge-based economy with the creation of the Manitoba Innovation Council, announced by Science, Technology, Energy and Mines Minister Jim Rondeau and Competitiveness, Training and Trade Minister Andrew Swan.

The Manitoba Innovation Council will be tasked with developing and implementing an action plan to commercialize innovation and technology projects in the province. It will also create a capital markets strategy that supports innovative companies at all stages of development.

“The council will lead the development and implementation of the strategy to keep the province’s economy strong by capitalizing on Manitobans’ ability to transform creative, cutting-edge ideas into long-lasting economic advantages,” said Rondeau. “The future of this province’s economy depends on the ability of Manitoba to compete in the global marketplace.”

“Council members will bring a wealth of expertise to the table,” said Swan. “Their knowledge will help strengthen the ties between business, research and the investment community. I look forward to working with them as they lead in the development and implementation of a stronger culture of innovation in Manitoba.”

The council will also provide advice to government on the role of the public sector in stimulating innovation, commercializing technology and supporting capital pools.

“Manitoba’s future prosperity depends on the province’s ability to create an environment that supports and rewards innovation,” said Bert Friesen, co-chair of the council. “We need to encourage entrepreneurship and help our companies grow by improving research and development investment in academia and industry.”

Appointed to the Manitoba Innovation Council are Bert Friesen (co-chair), Joanne Keselman (co-chair), Doneta Brotchie, Marilyn Kapitany, Sandra Kirby, John Langstaff, Jan Lederman, Ian Smith, Paul Soubry, Heather Reichert, Sandy Riley and Jeff Zabudsky.

“It’s important for government to continue to build business and innovation opportunities,” said Rondeau. “Research makes innovation possible.”

The government of Manitoba committed in the 2008 budget and throne speech to create the new Manitoba Innovation Council.

Council members’ biographies can be viewed at www.gov.mb.ca/stem/sibd/index.html.