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MBI Business Brief – July 22, 2022

Government of Canada invests in clean tech for farmers

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced  $8.7 million in funding for 28 projects under the Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program in Winnipeg on July 18.

Manitoba will see $2.5 million in funding for five projects that farmers and agri-businesses can access to develop and adopt clean technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost their competitiveness.

“Here in Manitoba, we are working closely with farmers to develop and implement farming practices to sequester carbon and tackle greenhouse gas emissions. Through investments in local projects, such as Baker Farms’ new grain dryer, we continue to enable the adoption of practices that will accelerate emission reductions in the agricultural sector. With pivotal research and development under way, such as the work in the lab at Hylife Ltd. to offset fertilizer emissions, the future of farming in Canada is promising,” said Hon. Jim Carr, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre.

Laivly launches AI platform for call centres

July 18 saw Winnipeg tech firm Laivly launch its attended AI platform, designed to use artificial intelligence to drive higher productivity, increase ROI and improve customer experience.

According to the company, the platform “adds a layer of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and automation to any existing technology or across the entire tech stack to streamline workflows, analyze customers on the fly and guide agents to the best possible outcomes.”

Laivly was founded in 2017 as a spin-off company from 24-7 Intouch.

“Laivly represents a significant leap forward for call centers worldwide,” said Jeff Fettes, CEO and founder of Laivly and co-founder of 24-7 Intouch. “There hasn’t been a meaningful change in call center technology or work in more than a decade, and customer service has suffered as a result. Laivly’s platform changes all of this with a tool that improves customer care and call center jobs almost overnight —  ultimately leading to happier customers, call center agents and companies.”

Pollard Banknote welcomes new executive

Pollard Banknote announced on July 20 that May Scheve Reardon will join the company as vice president, government relations.

“We are thrilled to welcome May Scheve Reardon to our team,” said Jennifer Westbury, executive vice president, sales & customer development at Pollard Banknote. “May’s stellar reputation precedes her as she brings an unmatched wealth of knowledge and expertise to this role and will serve as a valuable resource to our customers. Her in-depth understanding of the industry and all facets of the lottery business will ensure that Pollard Banknote continues to offer the best support to our lottery partners in order to maximize funds for the good causes they support.”

Ms. Scheve Reardon has served director of the Missouri Lottery for 13 years, and held various leadership positions within the lottery sector, including president of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries and the Multi-State Lottery Association.

“After working closely with Pollard Banknote for many years in various roles throughout the lottery industry, I am excited to be joining their organization,” said Ms. Reardon. “Pollard Banknote has always proven to be a forward-thinking company that continuously provides outstanding products and services to lotteries around the world, and I look forward to being a part of that.”

Winpak reports Q2 results

Winnipeg-base Winpak Ltd. released its Q2 earnings on July 21, reporting a net income of $33.7 million or 52 cents in earnings per share (EPS), up from $28.5 million (44 cents per share) in the same quarter last year.

Winpak manufactures and distributes packaging materials and packaging machines, used primarily for perishable foods, beverages and in healthcare.

Smack Pet Food partners with service dogs

Raw pet food manufacturer Smack Pet Food announced on July 19 that it has partnered with MSAR Service Dogs, a Winnipeg-based organization which provides service dogs, working dogs and therapy dogs. Under the partnership, Smack will provide pet food to MSAR, donating thousands of free meals to their animals.

MSAR was founded to help provide treatment for returning soldiers suffering from PTSD. MSAR service dogs are trained to assist people who suffer from a wide variety of physical and mental conditions. It is the only agency directed by aboriginal elders, advisors and First Nations leadership. MSAR has trainers in 13 countries with approximately 6300 service dogs working globally.

Next week: Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough and Hon. Jim Carr, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre will announce a federal investment in a new local initiative that will provide skills training to workers in Manitoba on July 25, 2022.

Government of Manitoba and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce partner to support Winnipeg’s downtown businesses

The Manitoba government has partnered with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) to fund the Downtown Building Business Program, designed to help businesses in downtown Winnipeg recover from the pandemic.

“A strong and vibrant downtown Winnipeg means new jobs will be created as new and existing businesses open or relocate to the area, supporting our province’s economic recovery from the
pandemic,” said Cliff Cullen, Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister. “This investment will provide funding for creative ideas that will help make downtown an attractive place to live, work and play, every day.”

The $2.5-million Building Business Fund administered by the Downtown Action Team and the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. The funding is part of the Manitoba Government’s $50-million Pandemic Long-Term Recovery Fund. The program has three streams: business improvement grants, ground floor incubation and strategy program, and a “Support Downtown” marketing campaign.

“The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is so proud to recommend funding and working with the Downtown Action Team in executing on this critical proposal, and to continue upholding a
commitment to accelerating downtown revitalization,” said Chuck Davidson, president and CEO, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “This fund will create and maintain jobs, support existing
businesses and attract new businesses to support downtown growth.”

Applications for the programs will open later this summer.

Redevelopment of former Kapyong Barracks advances

July 20 saw the signing of the Gaawijijigemangit Agreement – a municipal development and services agreement for Naawi-Oodena (formerly Kapyong Barracks) between Treaty One First Nations and the City of Winnipeg.

The agreement will see the City provide municipal services to the proposed urban reserve at Naawi-Oodena. The development will be the largest Urban Indigenous Economic Zone in Canada. The redevelopment will “turn the 160-acre site into a diverse and vibrant mixed-use community that emphasizes Indigenous design excellence and connectivity with surrounding established neighbourhoods.”

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