FREDERICTON (GNB) – Innovation Week officially kicks off on May 2 with events being held around the province designed to inspire and create a new culture of innovation among researchers, youth, businesses and entrepreneurs while also celebrating New Brunswick’s best innovators.

Premier Brian Gallant, who is also minister responsible for Innovation, started the week in 2015. He announced today this year’s agenda.

Many businesses will again be given the opportunity to sign up to meet with government officials and pitch their ideas to make public services better, faster and more efficient.

This year’s program will highlight four key elements:

  • increasing commercialization and start-ups by working with post-secondary institutions, researchers, entrepreneurs and partners to boost the number and growth of ideas into viable enterprises;
  • growing public and private research and development by growing the graduate student population and attracting more private and federal research investments;
  • promoting innovation laboratories by accelerating the Social Innovation Laboratory movement and investing in social and technical laboratory infrastructure; and
  • advancing New Brunswick’s Smart Province Initiative.

“Fostering innovation in New Brunswick will fuel the productivity and the competitiveness of our traditional industries like forestry, agriculture and fisheries,” said Gallant. “It will also allow us to take hold of emerging opportunities like our cybersecurity cluster.”

Pre-week events include the 2016 Canadian Open Data Summit in Saint John. The summit will bring together experts from all sectors, including academics, technology innovators, public sector employees and residents interested in open data to share best practices and local experiences, to learn from top international experts, and to work on growing the open data community strategically and collaboratively.

Startup Weekend NB will take place in Moncton. Young entrepreneurs will get together, pitch ideas for companies, form teams and build out the proposed venture in 54 hours.

“New Brunswickers and our businesses are innovative,” said Gallant. “Innovation Week is a time to celebrate and support New Brunswickers who continuously take on the status quo.”

Some of the week’s activities include a half-day youth event for Fredericton area high school students featuring innovation pioneers; a youth entrepreneurship and coding event in Saint John; and a conference on educational entrepreneurship at the Université de Moncton.

In addition, entrepreneurs in New Brunswick have been invited to meet with government leaders to present their innovative products, services and ideas. Participants will also have the opportunity to network and to learn about the government’s procurement tools and processes.

One of the highlights of the week will be the 18th annual KIRA awards, which recognize and promote the accomplishments of companies and individuals who are leading the way in technology, entrepreneurship and innovation in New Brunswick.

“New Brunswickers are invited to tell their stories of innovation and join us in celebrating Innovation Week,” said Gallant.

More details about the events and activities planned during the week are available online. New Brunswickers can also participate in the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #NBInnovation.