George Brown joins the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI)

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George Brown College stands ready to lend expertise and provide access to technology to small and medium-sized enterprises as a new member of a manufacturing innovation network. 

On March 31, George Brown joined the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), a group comprised of nine post-secondary institutions with the goal of helping local manufacturers in a range of industries develop innovative solutions to adapt to disruption and increase competitiveness. 

SONAMI is led by Niagara College and includes Centennial, Conestoga, Fanshawe, George Brown, Lambton, Mohawk, Niagara and Sheridan colleges and McMaster University. 

“We are so pleased to join SONAMI and stand alongside such strong players in the innovation ecosystem. This membership will allow us to sustain a pipeline of steady, reliable support for our partners—past, present and future,” said Dr. Krista Holmes, Associate Vice-President, Research & Innovation at George Brown. “To stay relevant in an ever-changing market, industry has long needed to evolve quickly, but the difficulty in doing so has been magnified by the last two years. 

“This is our goal: to support our partners’ resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges, whether it’s in launching new products, adopting new technologies or building robust regional supply chains.” 

A wide range of industry partners and opportunities for students 

SONAMI has helped its industry partners in many ways including reducing manufacturing costs, expanding product lines and increasing sales. It has worked with more than 200 SMEs and provided real-world training opportunities for hundreds of students. 

“George Brown College’s focus on product design and innovation brings a unique set of capabilities to SONAMI, further enhancing support for manufacturers,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, Chair of the SONAMI Steering Committee and Vice-President, Research & External Relations at Niagara College. 

“By welcoming this institution – with its strong history of applied research – to the partnership, the network will advance its resources available to assist SMEs to remain competitive by offering leading-edge solutions for industry partners.” 

Some of SONAMI’s targeted industries include the following:  

  • Agri-food 
  • Computer and electronics automation 
  • Energy systems
  • Environmental 
  • Health 
  • Industrial internet of things technology 
  • Traditional manufacturing  

Learn more about Research and Innovation at George Brown College. 

Support from the federal government 

In 2019, SONAMI entered its second phase after receiving a reinvestment of $14 million from the Government of Canada through FedDev Ontario (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario). This continued federal support means the network can expand its membership to 10 post-secondary institutions. 

“The Government of Canada is proud to support southern Ontario’s advanced manufacturing sector,” said Helena Jaczek, the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “The SONAMI network is delivering vital resources and support to manufacturing businesses so they can innovate and grow, creating good jobs for Canadians and driving strong and resilient economic growth.”