College helps local businesses with websites
An Ontario Centres of Excellence grant worth $40,000 will allow Niagara College to help up to 16 companies with their websites, to help them increase their online presence.
The 2014 funding comes after a successful pilot phase carried out by the college’s research and innovation division in 2013.
Last year’s grant from Ontario Centres of Excellence saw the college provide website solutions to several small- and medium-sized businesses in Ontario.
In all, eight companies, most in the Niagara region, received a voucher for e-business, entitling them to five weeks collaboration with Niagara Research’s digital media and web solutions team, made up of expert faculty, researchers and students from the college’s New Media Web Design program, a release from the college said.
“In some cases, the business needed search engine optimization, an e-commerce component, or just an update in style and content,” said David Natalie, senior research associate, and lead on the projects.
“We essentially helped them learn how people use their sites, and then optimize what they offer on the website to satisfy their customers.”
Niagara Research worked with Delta 1 Collision in Welland — www.delta1collision.com — to enhance its website for mobile users, since a key use for the site involved people who had been in an accident and used their phones to search for Delta 1’s address.
Niagara Falls Rowing Club — niagarafallsrowingclub.com — needed help getting a site created, and came to the college looking for help
“The team at Niagara Research built us a website that has dramatically increased our exposure and provided us growth,” said Wernher Verbraeken, Niagara Falls Rowing Club.
“The team was professional, creative and supportive throughout the website creation process,” he said.
CTAR Corp. — www.ctarcorp.com — based in southwestern Ontario, has two key divisions within its business, providing telecommunications services, but also providing asset recovery for out-of-date electronic services.
The website solution for the company involved making sure the two key divisions were defined and the content streamed accordingly right from the company’s home page, said the college’s release.
“Niagara Research listened to our requirements and provided us with excellent options for our website revamp,” said Marg VanderBurgt, administrative manager at CTAR. “We found them to be professional, patient, responsive. We had a fantastic experience.”
The digital media team met with the industry partners several times during the project, assessing the business’s needs, proposing solutions, and then populating the pages with the relevant content. Using WordPress themes, the team was able to deliver high quality websites in a short amount of time. The final part of each project included training on the new system, led by Niagara Research team members, so the partner can maintain the content and system moving forward.
The industry partners for the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s voucher for e-business through Niagara College included: CRI Fire Systems (crifireprotection.com), CTAR, Delta 1 Collision, Fab-Tech Industries Inc.(fabtech.ca/), Foreign Affair Winery (foreignaffairwinery.com/), Niagara Falls Rowing Club, Organic General Store (ogsniagara.com/) and Planet 1 consulting company (www.planet1.ca/).
More information about the funding program, including details for potential industry partners, is available on Niagara Research’s program information page at niagararesearch.ca/Default/OCEVoucher
• The Ontario Centres of Excellence’s voucher for e-business program engages eligible Ontario companies to partner with college faculty and students to work together on solutions for e-business challenges. Eligible Ontario companies receive a voucher, which is a credit that they can redeem for access to this expertise and resources. For more information on OCE, visit www.oce-ontario.org.
• Niagara Research, the Research and Innovation Division of Niagara College, provides real-world solutions for business, industry and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities. Niagara Research conducts projects that provide innovative solutions, such as producing and testing prototypes, evaluating new technologies, and developing new or improved products or processes for small- and medium-sized businesses. With funding support from various provincial and federal agencies, students and graduates are hired to work alongside faculty researchers to assist industry partners leap forward in the marketplace. For more information, visit NiagaraCollege.ca/Research