While I begin with a warm wish for all, for a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some WEtech Alliance highlights from 2013.
WEtech’s area of service has expanded two-fold. Firstly, we have added a co-share office in Essex at the Essex Community Futures Development Corporation so that we will have a larger presence in the County, as well, we have been assigned Chatham-Kent, where we will roll out our services and programs for clients in the spring of 2014. We look forward to strong and growing relationships in those markets.
To ensure our ability to best service our existing and future clients, we are pleased to have expanded our team with the addition of Dr. Karim Amellal, who adds a wealth of knowledge and value particularly in manufacturing processes.
Beyond the well attended collaborative events that were held, WEtech is extremely pleased for this region. Windsor-Essex will be the new home of the FIRST Robotics Great Lakes Regional beginning April 2014. This tournament will bring 1500 North American youths to compete annually at a very exhilarating tournament, and will contribute to an overall awareness of the value of students participating in STEM vocations through our college and university programs- building our regional talent pool.
Our recent collaboration with HackForge, will support our ability to promote skills and opportunities in the ICT sector, and contribute to the goal of building and retaining the regional ICT talent pool. We look forward to what this will look like in 2014.
As our membership has grown to close to 600, our active client base close to 100; our EIRs, Business Analysts, Mentors and Communications, have contributed to jobs creation in new innovation and technology startups. We continue to work closely with academia to ensure that our talent pool actually continues to grow and more importantly are retained regionally. In this light we intend to expand our cross border relationships with our fellow Regional Innovation Centres and technology incubators in Michigan and Ohio to become Ontario’s first cross border Regional Innovation Centre- truly becoming a strong, competitive and vibrant Technology cluster.
2014 will bring many accelerated offerings for our clients. We have identified opportunities and weaknesses and will focus our energies on our ability to deliver existing programs and create specific solutions to best aid them, whether that is to challenges of their processes, strategy or funding.
WEtech will take a lead in communicating the potency of the future of 3D printing by hosting an event in collaboration with the University of Windsor Engineering Faculty in March 2014. This will be a very important session for our regional SMEs to best position them for this future direction.
“The times, they are a changing”, and most likely faster than many of us ever truly contemplated- but it brings with that, tremendous opportunities for our regions. As we emerge from a challenged time, we are much more likely to be willing to be open to learning to comprehend and embrace them.
To our Directors, partners, funders and my team- thank you for all the great work of 2013. I am very buoyant by the opportunities for 2014!
All the very best,