New Kingston office for Ontario Centre for Innovation to support local startups

Cher Powers is the OCI’s Business Development and Commercialization Manager for the Eastern Ontario region. Photo via Cher Powers.

The Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) and Kingston Economic Development Corporation have announced the establishment of a dedicated Kingston office to support the commercialization and scale-up of start-up companies in Eastern Ontario. 

According to a joint release from the two organizations, in March 2023, OCI hired a Business Development and Commercialization Manager for the Eastern Ontario region. Cher Powers will be based out of Kingston Economic Development’s offices in Kingston and will work closely with both OCI and Kingston Economic Development’s teams to support companies “driving Ontario’s economy to greater prosperity, health and sustainability,” the organizations stated.

“We are thrilled that Cher will be engaging in extensive ecosystem networking to identify and engage potential industry and academic partners, entrepreneurs, investors, and others, fostering collaborations and linking to support programs offered by OCI and our partners,” said Claudia Krywiak, President and CEO of OCI.

Powers brings extensive experience in project management, operations management, and partnership development in the Canadian innovation ecosystem, according to the release. Prior to joining OCI, she was the Operations Manager at GreenCentre Canada for eight years and most recently, the Research Coordinator for the Applied Research and Innovation Department and part-time faculty within the School of Media, Business and Access at Loyalist College.

According to the release, Powers will also support collaborations between industry and academia, encouraging entrepreneurs and company leaders to aspire to create globally scalable products and services. She will also provide clients with insight, mentoring, and coaching, and will support entrepreneurs, start-ups, and high-growth companies, acting as a connector, and facilitating the introduction of people and companies to share business, technical knowledge, and experience.

“We work closely with OCI to support new and scaling businesses and it is exciting to see that a dedicated Kingston office and commercialization manager are now in place. We have been working towards this partnership for a number of years and co-locating OCI’s Kingston office with the Kingston Economic Development team is a natural fit and furthers centralized support and services for entrepreneurs,” noted Donna Gillespie, CEO of Kingston Economic Development Corporation.

According to the OCI, the company brings industry, academic, and government partners together to invest in collaborative research and development, technology development, and commercialization opportunities that generate the highest return on innovation for Ontarians. The OCI aims to drive economic growth and job creation through investments in the development, commercialization, and adoption of advanced technologies.

For more information about OCI’s programs visit

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!