17th September 2009

nGen Plans Growth With New Grants

nGenSt. Catharines – MP Rick Dykstra is thrilled to announce that nGen, Niagara Interactive Media Generator, will receive over $3 million from the Federal government’s Community Adjustment Fund.

The Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) is part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the Government of Canada’s strategy to ensure a quick recovery from the current economic downturn. ByEconomic Action Plan focusing on the creation of short-term employment to support communities and the sectors that contribute to their viability, CAF will play a distinctive role in relation to other economic stimulus measures included in Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

“This strategic investment is further proof of our government’s commitment to helping St. Catharines adjust to the economic realities of our time,” said Dykstra. “This money will help nGen continue to attract and retain much needed new media enterprises to our community, creating new jobs and supporting the growth of a knowledge-based economy for Niagara.”

The funds received will be allocated toward the much needed expansion of nGen, which would further capitalize on the expansion of the industry, making St. Catharines and Niagara an even more dominant player in the sector of digital interactive media. Since nGen’s inception, its programs have rapidly exceeded capacity and the initiative has now found itself in need of expansion in order to meet the needs of its emerging cluster. Through increased incubation and access to new technologies, nGen will be able to strengthen its sustainability as a hub for digital interactive media development in the St.Catharines and the Niagara Region. This is the vision of the Niagara Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) Strategic Business Plan and the St. Catharines-Thorold Prosperity Council’s Paths to Prosperity Report, to define new media as a pillar for economic growth and expansion in Niagara.

“We are ecstatic with Rick and the federal government’s announcement and their commitment to support this emerging industry in Niagara,” says Jeff Chesebrough, Executive Director of nGen. “As a support mechanism for digital interactive media companies, nGen is extremely proud of the progress made by our tenants and stakeholders. The development of a state of the art facility, possible through this funding, will accelerate nGen’s vision of cluster development in this sector – providing support for businesses from startups to major players in the industry like Silicon Knights. Opportunity provided through this fund will strengthen Niagara’s position as a leader in digital interactive media.”

“nGen is possible through the collaboration of public and private sector partners who acknowledge the importance of nurturing new digital interactive media ventures and the positive effect it will have on the future of St. Catharines, “ said Mayor Brian McMullan. “Support from the Community Adjustment Fund will help secure the future of nGen, enabling it to grow to meet the demands of this burgeoning industry and create highly-skilled jobs as part of the new knowledge-based economy.”

Trillium FoundationnGen also recently received a $54,300 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This grant will be over one year for a game designer, graphic designer and programmers to create a hybrid, downloadable reality game related to the War of 1812. This will help to develop interactive media as an economic and employment generator for Niagara.

The “1812: Interactive Niagara” game will be based on prototypes created by students in the Brock University Interactive Arts and Science Program. Tourists will explore the real world environment of Niagara, as well as virtual space, which they will access through phones such as the Apple iPhone. The medium of a hybrid reality game will be used to incorporate Niagara’s history and culture – especially those places, people and events connected to the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812 into an enjoyable, interactive, and enlightening experience for tourists.

“The last 12 months have seen immense work and progress being made on the creation of this mobile game,” says Jeff Chesebrough, Executive Director, nGen. “The Ontario Trillium Foundation funding will permit us to expand the project allowing it to spread beyond the historical parameters of Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2009 at 10:35 am and is filed under Business News, National News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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