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Richmond Hill launches innovation initiative for businesses

City partners with OCAD University and eCampusOntario for the Centre for Local Innovation and Collaboration

The City of Richmond Hill, in partnership with OCAD University and eCampusOntario, are helping companies take their business to the next level through their new initiative – CLIC (the Centre for Local Innovation and Collaboration).

CLIC engages businesses with specialized expertise from city business advisors and OCAD University researchers, including faculty, students, and recent alumni of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation Master of Design program. Together, the group helps establish a platform for knowledge exchange, design review, individualized consultation, and advocacy.

Since the program launched in March this year, 17 companies have already successfully worked with CLIC to uncover market insights and develop new product/service opportunities. Three of these companies were also awarded $25,000 each to take their projects to the next level:

  • PharmaGuide, creators of a cloud-based pharmacy tool
  • HearBliss, developer of quality noise reducing earplugs for women
  • KnowMeQ, an AI enabled web-based workforce diagnostic and up-skilling assessment tool

As a result of this success, CLIC is launching a new cohort this fall with additional support from eCampusOntario. Experts from Richmond Hill’s Small Business Enterprise Centre and OCAD University will help companies review their business models through a design-thinking lens. Any company interested in working together to uncover market insights and develop new product/service opportunities is welcome to apply.

“I’m always inspired by the creativity and innovation businesses in Richmond Hill show when they build out their operations and develop new products and services. We want to see this success continue so we’ve partnered with OCAD University and eCampusOntario to offer a new level of support for businesses, helping them to innovate and thrive – which is great for our local economy and beyond," said David West, mayor of Richmond Hill.

“As educators, we are dedicated to building partnerships to help empower businesses and improve the lives of people within our communities. Through our work with the CLIC partnership, we are seeing first-hand how strategic innovation design, human-centered processes and creativity can fuel business growth and success," said Ana Serrano, president of OCAD University

“With the proven success of the first CLIC cohort, we are happy to announce that eCampusOntario will continue to support this partnership, enabling companies to tap into the expertise of OCAD U’s students and faculty, as well as Ontario’s network of higher education institutions," said Dr. Robert Luke, CEO of eCampusOntario.

“We are thrilled to have participated in CLIC and gained new perspectives, invaluable advice and connections to people and resources. Being awarded $25,000 in funding will help us to further develop an inventory management system powered by a machine-learning algorithm. This system will in turn help pharmacies to better manage their drug inventory, minimize waste, and protect the supply chain in order to deliver the best care for patients. The support of CLIC helped make this possible," said Dr. Walid Mowaswes, CEO of PharmaGuide, CLIC participant and recipient of CLIC seed funding.

Learn more about CLIC and how to get involved at