Business Briefs News

MBI Business Brief – June 10, 2022

Photo by Mike Peters

Economic Development Winnipeg and Travel Manitoba announce new brand

June 8 saw the launch of Winnipeg’s new brand – Winnipeg: Made from What’s Real – with Economic Development Winnipeg (EDW), and Travel Manitoba.

Economic Development Winnipeg and Travel Manitoba worked with McKim.Sherpa to develop the creative for the brand.

“Whether you live in Winnipeg or just come for a visit—the things you see, the people you meet, the experiences you have—we make impressions that last and connections that matter. It’s a powerful story that should be shared,” said Dayna Spiring, president & CEO at EDW.

Stay tuned for more on the new look for Winnipeg in our next issue, coming soon.

North Forge partners with Datomar Labs

North Forge Technology Exchange announced this week that it has partnered with Datomar Lands Inc. to strengthen development of tech businesses in Central Canada with the first Manitoban Venture Studio, Datomar Labs Venture Studio (DLVS). This new studio has knowledge in commercializing technology for businesses of all sizes, including capital, software development, sales, marketing, management, and advisory resources.

“Our mandate is to support the growth of innovation in Manitoba. This partnership with Datomar will allow us to provide much-needed technical expertise to our companies,” said Joelle Foster, CEO of North Forge Technology Exchange. “We have over 150 companies in various stages of growth. We believe this partnership will continue to reinforce Manitoba as a technology hub in central Canada and help create the next generation of prodigious companies.”

DVLS will help build platforms, software, and apps for technology startups and invest in them, and North Forge will work with the startups as they move through the North Forge Founders Program.

“At Datomar, we have directly benefited from the work North Forge has done to encourage and support the development of new and interesting technology businesses in Manitoba,” said Dustin Refvik, partner and CEO of Datomar. “At first, as participants of several RampUp Weekends and then when we moved on to utilizing the FabLabTM to create prototypes for one of my companies, TrapTrap.”

North Forge Technology Exchange is a not-for-profit business incubator accelerator working in Winnipeg, Pinawa and Thompson. 

The North West Company reports Q1 2022 earnings

Winnipeg-based The North West Company released its Q1 2022 earnings report on June 8 and declared a dividend of $0.37 per share. Q1 sales were up 0.2 per cent to $552.0 million, and gross profit decreased by 3.6 per cent due to changes in the company’s food and general merchandise sales blend. Net earnings decreased to $28.2 million, down from $40.3 million at the same time last year.

“I am pleased with our performance in a difficult environment and following two years of exceptional pandemic-related sales and earnings gains,” said Dan McConnell, president and CEO. “Our year over year sales remained strong as we retained customer business in the communities we serve despite substantially lower COVID-related support payments and fewer travel restrictions compared to last year. Our margins declined because of a change in sales mix and due to inflationary cost pressures that were not fully passed through in retail prices as we balance competitive factors and rapidly changing economic conditions. At the bottom line, our profitability was lower than last year but meaningfully above pre-pandemic levels. Looking ahead, we are optimistic about the strength of our business and the opportunities for growth through new stores, products and services across our Canadian and International Operations.”

Brandish Agency wins Award of Excellence

Winnipeg’s Brandish Agency picked up an Award of Excellence at the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) National Conference in Winnipeg on June 8. Brandish won Gold in the Organizational Excellence, Agency Team of the Year – Medium category.

Neighbourly to acquire prairie chain Rubicon Pharmacies

Toronto-based pharmacy chain Neighbourly has cleared the Competition Bureau’s review of its acquisition of the prairie-based Rubicon Pharmacies network. Rubicon owns 18 locations in Manitoba, including three in Winnipeg, and two in each of Flin Flon, Gimli, Brandon and Swan River.

“We are pleased that the Competition Bureau has concluded its review of this combination of Canada’s community pharmacy leaders,” said Chris Gardner, Neighbourly’s CEO on June 7. “The acquisition of Rubicon will ideally position Neighbourly to continue to grow its presence across Canada and expand its role as a leader in community pharmacy. Rubicon’s pharmacies are similar to our own, acting as the centre of healthcare delivery for smaller, underserved communities. However, our greatest similarity is our shared values: both companies place an unmatched priority upon patient-focused care.”

Neighbourly will sell two pharmacy locations in Saskatchewan as part of the requirements from the Competition Bureau. The acquisition of Rubicon Pharmacies will grow Neighbourly’s network in Western Canada, adding 100 locations to the company and bringing their total footprint to 271 across Canada.

Staples will acquire Supreme Basics

Staples Canada has struck a deal to acquire both Western Canada’s Supreme Basics and Quebec’s Denis Office Supplies and Furniture.

“We are pleased to partner with Denis and Supreme to bring together three exceptional Canadian brands to amplify the way we support businesses across the country,” said David Boone, CEO at Staples Canada on June 8. “In working together, we will strengthen and grow our product and services offering, while continuing to provide the exceptional customer service that our brands are known for.”

The family-owned Supreme Basics chain started in 1974 and has locations in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and Richmond Hill and a corporate office in Regina.

Manitoba Government releases new protein research strategy

This week saw the release of the provincial government’s new Manitoba Protein Research Strategy (MPRS). The strategy is another step in helping Manitoba become a world leader in protein production.

“One of the key pillars of the Manitoba Protein Advantage is the harnessing of the great wealth of agri-food knowledge and research expertise in our province,” said Derek Johnson, Manitoba’s Agriculture Minister . “The Manitoba Protein Research Strategy will strengthen the working relationship between Manitoba’s protein research community, industry and government, leading to collaboration between our province and global experts and institutions to advance strategic priorities in protein research and innovation.”

The strategy features 46 strategic research projects with four main themes including: climate resilience of sustainable protein food systems, novel sustainable protein product development and processing, digital agriculture to enable sustainable food systems, and waste, water, by-product and co-product utilization.

The government will also invest $1.5 million into a new Strategic Research Chair in Sustainable Protein at the University of Manitoba, to engage with researchers, businesses and industry and lead  research for economic growth and development of Manitoba’s plant and animal protein sectors.

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