The utilization of ICT by organizations in Northwestern Ontario is becoming of increasing importance. As a result, in order for the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to reach its goals of enhancing the entrepreneurial and innovation capacity in the North, access to competitive ICT infrastructure is a core requirement. Over the past number of years, the NWO Innovation Centre has successfully acted in the role of Regional Community Network for the Northwest. This has been done on an adhoc basis with leadership provided on many ICT projects. The ICT Network project involves formalizing this role and resourcing ICT network activities to allow this important function to be a key focus of the Innovation Centre.
The Centre’s ICT Network project will:
- Proactively engage with communities, stakeholders and partners regarding ICT gaps in infrastructure, business support, and education and awareness.
- Ensure that the region fully realizes the benefits of ICT utilization.
- Facilitate SME education and utilization of ICT solutions to enhance productivity and competitiveness, expand markets and increase revenues.
- Promote and encourage the development and innovative application of technology to further economic, community and social development in Northwestern Ontario.
- Establish a NWO Regional ICT Advisory Board with representation from each region of NWO.
- Coordinate a Peer to Peer IT Business Network.
In conducting the ICT Network Project, it is vital to not only build the tools and capacity, but provide education, awareness and training to ensure that our businesses, organizations and communities fully realize the benefits of ICT adoption. These benefits will include: productivity enhancement, expanded markets and increased revenues, competitiveness in world markets, and a growth in businesses and opportunities. ICT adoption impacts service delivery, community development and diversification of local communities. In order to evaluate this project, we will directly measure not only the tangible ICT infrastructure projects in the region but also the specific adoption and utilization of ICT in businesses, organizations and communities along with the impact in revenue growth, profitability, job creation or retention, service delivery, and community engagement.