Genesis Centre supports commercial ingenuity
VMT's MissionQuest Dual Console fast response craft simulator
Source: Hubert Best
Life in the rugged province of Newfoundland and Labrador has historically necessitated ingenuity. Today, the province's fast-growing economy is proving that commercial success cannot only be tied to its wealth of natural resources, but also to the imagination and originality of its business community.
It's that imagination and originality that fuels the Genesis Centre, at Memorial University. A division of Genesis Group Inc., the commercialization arm of the University, this campus incubation facility brings great ideas to commercial life by assisting local start-up technology companies in the early stages of development and growth.
One of the Genesis Centre's greatest success stories is Virtual Marine Technology (VMT) of St. John's. The company develops simulators for survival craft, fast-response craft and high-speed electronic navigation training. It also offers professional services including custom simulation and training to help workers at sea understand risks and how to mitigate them. Founded in 2004, VMT grew from the research and development programs of Atlantic Canada's leading maritime institutions and is now a global provider of small-craft training simulators.
Classroom using VMT's MissionQuest and NetSim simulators
A World First
As a result of collaboration with Memorial's Genesis Centre, VMT developed the world's first survival craft operation simulator, designed to allow lifeboat coxswains to practice a variety of emergency launch conditions in a safe, focused learning environment. "We were very happy to have obtained funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) at the very beginning of this project," states Brian Veitch, Professor of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial and co-founder of VMT. "Their support was great and it filled an important gap in our funding."
Collaboration that leads to jobs and growth
"We've sold our simulators throughout Canada and have begun exporting systems to Central and South America," says Anthony Patterson, President of VMT. "I would say about three-quarters of our sales arise from the research we have done through this partnership and we've increased our staff three-fold since 2007."
A real benefit to the company, he says, is giving back. "We give funding back to the University in the form of grants and it uses those funds to leverage monies from other sources so it can continue to develop technology, research and development that comes back to us."
This collaboration has put VMT in a great position, he continues. "We're in a place in the offshore and maritime sectors that no one else is currently occupying. I feel confident that our unique position is going to bring great future success."
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