Entrepreneurs Need Workshops: Winnipeg boasts two of the best facilities in Canada

My previous post focused on how Winnipeg has a vibrant and growing start-up community. Since then, I have had the pleasure of putting one of Winnipeg’s newest maker spaces – Assentworks – through its paces and had a detailed tour of the Composite Innovation Centre.

Let’s begin with

my Assentworks experience.

I accessed Assentworks for the purpose of building a new prototype base for Oi. This meant that I needed foam and access to a shopbot. I found cheap 2″ foam through a local distributor and discovered that Assentworks had a shopbot. The process to become a member was simple, access to the 24/7 space even easier, help from a fellow Assentworker (Tina) on how to use the shopbot a little more challenging, realizing that I made a mistake in my file set up – oops!

Below are photos that I took while making my prototype (Oi 2.0 is on track to be revealed in late summer).

This is the first layer created by the Assentworks Shopbot.

This is the first layer of the prototype created by the Assentworks Shopbot.


Oi Base 2.0 Prototype 2 of 3

This is the second layer of the prototype created by the Assentworks shopbot.


The final Oi 2.0 prototype.

The final Oi 2.0 prototype.


Looks like I made a mistake setting up the file – oops!

Needless to say, without Assentworks it would have otherwise been impossible for me to create the Oi 2.0 base prototype on my own and at 50% of the cost it would have been to hire a professional tooling shop!

The process from start to completion did take some time (approx. 20 hrs). While I was there waiting for the shopbot to complete the job (15 hrs of the 20 hrs), I met a handful of other ‘makers’ and entrepreneurs busy building out their ideas.

Most recently, Assentworks announced $467,000 in funding from the

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Federal government towards additional machinery and equipment. I was on hand, along with over 75 others, who shared in the milestone announcement.

Photo courtesy of Flikr: L-R (Hon. Vice Toews, Michael Legary, Chris Johnson, Kerry Stevenson, David Berhnhardt)

Funding focused on the incubation stage of an idea is so critical to any entrepreneur. Seed stage investment enables entrepreneurs accessibility to tools that otherwise wouldn’t be. I was able to create our prototype for Oi and I was witness to other exciting ideas spawning from this investment via Assentworks.

Now let me turn my attention to the Composite Innovation Centre.

Late last month, following a speaking engagement at a Bio-Materials conference hosted by LSAM. I was treated to a detailed tour of the Composite Innovation Centre

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in Winnipeg. Prior to the tour, I was aware of the centre and broadly understood what they did – build things out of composite materials. Clearly I don’t know what I don’t know, because the tour opened my eyes and mind to the capabilities that exist in our own backyard. This centre houses a composite lab, design lab, tooling shop, and many large and expensive tools used to create composite parts for any use.

Want to build an automobile part?
Want to build the next skateboard?
Want to build a snowboard?

You can do it here.

This snowboard was first created at the Composite Innovation Centre in Winnipeg.

This snowboard was first created at the Composite Innovation Centre in Winnipeg.


This skateboard was first created at the Composite Innovation Centre in Winnipeg.

This skateboard was first created at the Composite Innovation Centre in Winnipeg.


This automobile part was first created at the Composite Innovation Centre in Winnipeg.

This automobile part was first created at the Composite Innovation Centre in Winnipeg.

These two facilities are perfect compliments for an entrepeneur. Start your idea at Assentworks, sell a few. When you see that your idea has market potential, drive across town and build out your idea so that it can be mass produced.

If you, like many others in Winnipeg, have been sitting on the sidelines with your ‘next big idea’ now more then ever is a great time for you to become engaged with Assentworks and/or the Composite Innovation Centre. Feel free to contact me or any of the above organization to learn how you can begin to build your next big idea.

Until Next Month
Jason Abbott, Founder & Lead Consultant

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