The pandemic shook things up in incalculable ways, including creating the breeding ground for new enterprises.
One of them was Win-Shield Medical Devices, a Winnipeg company that in a matter of nine months designed, produced and shipped more than four million plastic face shields for health care workers and others
Company founder, Rob Ranson, did not settle on that and now the company has 10 full-time employees, a number of patents and more than a dozen products in development.
Win-Shield has just received a $100,000 grant in the latest tranche of recipients of the province’s Innovation Growth Program along with four other companies.
The program is designed to assist small and medium sized companies commercialize new innovative products and processes
The Innovation Growth Program funding will go towards the development of a new air filtration device that can be attached to Win-Shield’s own C-Shield mask as well as other protective face mask designs that features a proprietary powered air-purification respirator (PAPR).
Ranson said the funds will be impactful in its efforts to get the product to market although he said there may be other Win-Shield products that will get the market even before the PAPR.
“This grant is so meaningful to us,” said Ranson. “Over the past three and a half years we have been quietly striving to create a world class company here in Manitoba.”
The company has just hired another engineer and will start a quality management system early in the new year.
“We just met with some officials at one of the most advanced medical facility in North America,” he said. “We figured it would be a two hour meeting, but we were there for eight hours. They told us we’re on the right path.”
Jamie Moses, the province’s minister of economic development, investment, trade and natural resources, said his government has no problem grandfathering the Innovation Growth Program that the previous government started in 2019.
“If we can find ways to grow the economy, we are very interested in doing that,” he said. “This is an example of that.”
Since the program began it has awarded $5.2 million in grants to 60 companies which has helped create 1,700 jobs. Although the maximum award per company is only $100,000, by all accounts the funding is very impactful for the companies receiving the awards.
Win-Shield started its operations at North Forge’s FabLab where it built the first prototype for its C-Shield. It continues to lease space in the FabLab and now includes other FabLab entrepreneurs as part its full-time staff.
Among other of the products it is about to release is a device — that Ranson does not want to divulge too many details about – that it won a federal contract for through a public tender that’s designed for use by Canadian law enforcement agencies.
“It’s something that does not exist in the world right now,” was all Ranson would say about it. “We have filed patents and we’re really excited about where it’s going. The market is global, not just Canadian.”
The other Innovation Growth Program grant recipients announced on Wednesday were:
- eScribeMD Consultation: $33,000 to undertake operational field testing of their health-care technology platform, called eScribeMD, designed to streamline medical documentation through AI-assisted audio transcription;
- NSD Tech Inc.: $35,250 to commercialize their advanced information services platform called CARMIS, tailored to non-profit agencies working in immigration and settlement;
- Standard Carbon Inc.: $100,000 to commercialize their climate accounting software called SCOP3, which helps companies automate the creation of carbon footprints, track carbon input and output, and aids environmental impact mitigation strategic planning; and
- UKKÖ Robotics Inc.: $100,000 to commercialize their mobile monitored livestock shades and poultry micro barns that can move autonomously in pasture settings.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press