Ecosystem Development

Innovation ecosystems develop when research, technology, and industry come together, supported by government initiatives and business services, to transform knowledge into solutions that can be applied to generate value and improve social and economic well-being.

In 2020-2021, NGen launched seven new initiatives designed to

enhance Canada’s advanced manufacturing workforce and strengthen the capacity of SMEs to manage the successful deployment and scale-up of advanced technologies for manufacturing.

NGen’s Advanced Manufacturing Youth Campaign

is a multi-media initiative that aims to promote awareness about the importance of advanced manufacturing in Canada and attract young people into careers in the sector.

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It educates students about advanced manufacturing and showcases young role models in the sector, what they do, and what inspires them about advanced manufacturing. It also provides students with guidance about the types of careers available in manufacturing, the academic qualifications required to pursue advanced manufacturing employment, and how to get engaged in extracurricular activities related to advanced manufacturing like youth-oriented robotics programs and maker spaces. The campaign was launched in May 2021. By the end of June, it had attracted over 75,000 engaged visits by students and parents alike to its website at

Virtual Robotics Training Academy

is a cloud-based learning platform providing students with easy and low-cost access to virtual simulations that will help hone their skills in advanced manufacturing.

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Developed by InspireTech with financial support from NGen, the platform offers a variety of simulations that allow students to program and run virtual robots. Cisco has also joined the partnership by providing access to its Net Academy network and cybersecurity simulation programs via the platform. VRTA also offers online Python coding courses that will enable students to develop their coding skills and apply them to the simulations on the platform. Discover more at

NGen is now working with InspireTech and Cisco to encourage school boards across the country to adopt the VRTA platform for practical learning purposes in their STEM, technology, and computer science courses. NGen will be encouraging its members to sponsor student seats on the platform, targeting in the first instance sponsorships for Black and Indigenous youth and youths at risk. Companies will be able to develop their own robotics simulations on the platform to engage students in customized contests, or to provide employee training or skills testing for potential employees.


Recover & Lead Supply Chain Resiliency Program

engages business leaders and supply chain executives from across NGen’s membership in developing a strategic roadmap for securing and strengthening the resiliency of advanced manufacturing supply chains.
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In 2020-2021, NGen published a report in conjunction with Deloitte on the competitiveness of Canada’s manufacturing supply chains. In June 2021, it convened an online supply chain summit to discuss the findings of the report and identify industry priorities for enhancing supply chain competitiveness in Canada.


is an open-source online education and training platform for managers and employees in advanced manufacturing.
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It provides access to high quality executive education and skills development programs relevant to advanced manufacturing offered by Canadian universities, colleges, and private sector training initiatives. Training partners provide NGen members with a discount on registration fees while NGen matches company contributions to employee training up to a maximum of $15,000 per company. The program was launched in October 2020. By the end of March 2021, it was providing access to 64 online courses offered by 17 academic and private sector partners from across Canada. Partners had discounted registration fees by $66,200 and NGen had provided $120,852 in matching funding to support 156 employees who were early registrants in the program. For more information about NGen’s workforce development initiatives, visit

NGen & MFI

In July 2021, NGen and MFI announced a partnership to develop a manufacturing component in MFI’s high school and adult Indigenous education programs that are being offered on and off reserves across Canada.
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NGen support will also allow MFI to expand its entrepreneurship and financial literacy courses into primary schools and set up a summer employment program for Indigenous youth. Our aim is to raise awareness among Indigenous students about modern manufacturing in Canada and the type of jobs that exist in the sector and prepare them with many of the skills and some of the practical experience required to take advantage of future post-secondary and career opportunities.

What's Next?

is a series of webinars and follow-up discussions intended to engage NGen members by sharing insights with industry leaders and other experts about strategic issues affecting their business.
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In 2020-2021, the program covered issues like managing workplace health and safety during the pandemic, Canada’s economic outlook, building world-class supply chains through operational excellence, using AI to drive manufacturing success, business strategies in support of the circular economy, managing IP strategies, cybersecurity in advanced manufacturing, export opportunities in a post-COVID world, and innovation funding initiatives in Europe.

NGen's Transformation Leadership Program

offers SME managers step-by-step advice, proven methodologies, and practical tools they can use to assess and improve performance along the path to successful implementation of advanced manufacturing strategies.
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The program draws on best international management practices. It provides a modular approach to online executive education that will help business leaders and senior managers identify how they can best contribute to customer value, improve critical processes, and understand their business and skills requirements for successful advanced manufacturing transformations.

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Project Portfolio