Toronto – Interactive Ontario today announced a new project, ONKidz, that is aimed at promoting Ontario’s Kids sector on a global scale. The ONKidz project will culminate with a business event focused on the interactive kids space in the spring of 2010 in Toronto, Canada. ONkidz supports the creation and commercialization of Ontario-made interactive media content and services for kids ages 4 to 15.
“It goes without saying that kids prioritize their interactions with and through digital media very differently than their parents,” said Ian Kelso, President and CEO of Interactive Ontario. “ Interactive Ontario is thrilled to present a unique event pulling together the leading creators of interactive experiences and the producers, broadcasters, and publishers who are leading the charge on building integrated cross-platform markets.”
The ONkidz event serves a catalyst for a deeper exploration of the technological and creative potential of kids content and is made possible through the Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnership Fund, administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture.. This project will be spearheaded by industry leaders including: The Alliance for Children & Television, Astral Media Inc, Bitcasters, Blue Print Entertainment, Breakthrough New Media, Capybara Games, CBC, Corus Entertainment, Decode Entertainment, Earth Rangers, Kids Can Press, marblemedia, Meridian Artists, Portfolio Entertainment, Spin Master LTD and Zinc Roe Inc.
This announcement comes on the heels of an earlier announcement from Sault Ste. Marie that more than $800 000.00 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation would be used to boost youth opportunities in northern Ontario.
“This investment is part of our government’s strategy to strengthen and diversify Northern Ontario to prepare the region for success in the knowledge economy,” said Orazietti,
“Developing innovative social enterprises aimed at youth is a new field,” said Cheechoo. “OTF is very excited to be supporting leading-edge projects focused on giving young people in Northern Ontario new opportunities. I believe these bold Future Fund initiatives will have tremendous social and economic impact.”
Sault Ste. Marie’s ProtoLaunch will receive a Future Fund grant of $461,800 over three years. This collaborative project is designed to provide invaluable training and work experience for high school students in the fast-paced video gaming industry and establishing the Sault Ste. Marie area as a key technological centre.
“The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and its project partners are thrilled to be approved for this funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” said Tom Vair, Executive Director of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. “Most of all, I am excited for the youth in the region who will have a chance to participate in an exciting initiative that will develop their skills and increase their awareness of opportunities in the video gaming sector.“
The ProtoLaunch collaborative is comprised of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre Algoma University, Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology, Anishinabek Information Technology Centre, YMCA Employment and Community Services and the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre – Algoma.
In Moose Cree First Nation, thanks to a Future Fund grant of $366,300 over four years, the Youth Opportunity Centre initiative will provide entrepreneurship training and mentoring to help local youth local overcome barriers to employment by developing their own businesses. In the initial stages local youth will be selected but the program intends to extend its reach to youth in the western James Bay and southern Hudson Bay regions.
The four-year pilot training program, offered at the new John R. Delaney Small Business and Youth Opportunity Centre, will pave the way to a brighter future for Cree youth who want to live and work in their northern communities.
“This new initiative is giving a second chance to youth who didn’t fit in mainstream education and careers,” said Doug Cheechoo, Moose Cree First Nation. “This program will give them a leg up to create their own businesses and develop important work skills. This is a dramatic change from a decade ago, when as many as 50 per cent of our young Cree had to leave their communities to earn a living.”
This Future Fund grant is one of six that have been made across Ontario in June, totaling up to nearly $2 million for a series of collaborative projects. Each is placing an emphasis on creating economic opportunities. The development of innovative, social enterprise opportunities is a new field in Canada and one which the Ontario Trillium Foundation is helping organizations explore.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation established the Future Fund in 2007 to support innovative partnerships and initiatives within a specific sector in order to strengthen their impact. This strategic funding program creates significant and sustainable opportunities for communities, networks and individuals to participate fully in Ontario’s future.
In 2007 and 2008, the Future Fund targeted leadership in the environment sector; in 2009, it will support innovative initiatives that create social and economic opportunities.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario. For over 25 years, the Foundation has supported the growth and vitality of communities across the province. OTF continues to strengthen the capacity of the volunteer sector through investments in community-based initiatives.
Profiles of latest Future Fund recipients:
Carleton University’s Carleton Centre for Community Innovation
Causeway Work Centre
LASI World Skills
Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
Moose Cree First Nation’s Youth Opportunity Centre