U of M Smartpark Innovation Hub.
Through a competitive process, the University of Manitoba awarded the design of the Smartpark Innovation Hub at the Fort Garry Campus to the Winnipeg-based firm, Cibinel Architecture Ltd.
The University of Manitoba’s Smartpark Innovation Hub is a project of critical importance to the Province of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg. The project received 50% of federal funding under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
The Smartpark Innovation Hub will become a central gathering place for meetings, conferences and events for the Smartpark business community, province-wide university researchers and the local technology industry. The facility will provide ‘incubator space’ for start-up businesses, supporting commercialization and professional services, encouraging partnerships that will drive the creation of new technologies, and ultimately growing the number of local start-up companies.
At roughly 75,000 square feet in floor area, the new facility will provide workspace for up to 400 people by April 2018. Consistent with Smartpark’s mission of “Building a Community of Innovators”, the Innovation Hub will bring business and the University together in offices and laboratories for research, prototype development and testing; multimedia training classrooms and video conferencing in meeting spaces and other versatile working, learning and sharing environments.
The Smartpark Innovation Hub will be a place where business “incubation” takes place in stages. In the first two years (Stage 1) start-up companies begin developing their business plans and prototypes in the small suites and laboratories. After the successful completion of Stage 1, start-up companies “graduate” to the Business Centre (Stage 2) where they have more resources and larger suites to continue expanding their business over the next 5 years. In Stage 3 start-up companies reach maturity and establish a stable business that can occupy larger suites.
Two major users of the building will be North Forge and the University of Manitoba Technology Transfer Office. North Forge is an innovation-based economic development agency and a powerhouse community to fuel Manitoba’s innovation economy providing entrepreneurs with award-winning mentors, subject matter experts and startup program. The Technology Transfer Office is a component of the University of Manitoba, which increases knowledge mobilization between the University and commercial partners.
The local construction contractor, Bird Construction, has been awarded the Construction Management contract for the project. Through an integrated design process, Cibinel will work with Bird, the University of Manitoba, Smartpark and community members to realize the vision for the new facility.
“We’re excited for this opportunity to create architecture that responds to the needs of the University and the local business community,” say the design architects George Cibinel, firm President, and partner Michael Acht.