New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF)
1) What is the vision and mission of NBIF?
We’re an independent non-profit corporation that specializes in venture capital and research investments. Dedicated to building innovation in our province, we deliver the resources and expertise required to achieve new opportunities, growth, and advancements in New Brunswick. With over $100 million invested, plus $457 million more leveraged from other sources, the NBIF has helped to create over 113 companies, fund 494 applied research projects, and recruit 75 professors to the province since its inception in 2003. All the NBIF’s investment returns go back into the Foundation to be re-invested in other start-ups and research initiatives. It’s our mission to help bring innovative research and promising new business opportunities to life. Innovation stimulates the economy, promotes productivity, and has the power to directly impact and improve the every day lives of New Brunswickers.
2) How is NBIF helping women in STEM and entrepreneurship succeed?
We offer a variety of funding programs, all of which are merit based and are thus equally open to men and women. With our funding platforms, we attempt to cover the whole of the innovation spectrum, from student up to entrepreneurs in business. We offer graduate scholarships to students doing research programs in STEM, sponsorship research internships for students who want to get involved in academic research, salary and start-up grants for research professionals and professors, funding for individual research programs and also venture capital support for new start-up businesses. If you have an innovative idea that can help grow the economy of New Brunswick, come talk to us – our mission is to help you realise it.
3) What would you like young women in STEM to know about the opportunities and careers they can pursue?
The barriers for women in STEM are strong and real, and they will not disappear in our lifetime. However, the only way to change the system is to continue to pursue our passions regardless of these barriers. There are so many great female mentors working in STEM who can act as guides, and the vast majority of the men in the field are supportive of the cause too. Therefore, our advice is that the opportunities for women in STEM are boundless, and their pursuit requires only passion and perseverance in the face of those barriers, and willingness to ask for help in overcoming them.
4) Why is diversity and inclusion important to NBIF?
Our business is fostering excellence in innovation in New Brunswick, and we recognize that having a diverse environment is a critical element in generating new ideas. This diversity can and should come in many forms, be it varied racial origins, different educational background, or a good mix of genders. Having a wide variety of people around the table, in the lab, and on the floor creates a fertile ground for new innovations to germinate and grow.
5) Who comes to mind when you think of an innovator and a woman in STEM from New Brunswick?
Too many examples to list just one!