Join us for Lessons From Leaders on April 27th  from 7:15am – 9:00am 

Click here to register for this event 

This event is free for innovation Guelph clients! Please email Diana for the client discount link.

Research and Development (R&D) goes hand-in-hand with innovation, regardless of the size or sector of your business. Entrepreneurs know that their company doesn’t necessarily need the testing facilities of Proctor & Gamble or the resources of Boeing get their innovative idea to market.

But Research & Development is also about more than developing new products. R&D also means developing business processes that reduce your costs and boost your productivity. Whether you are working to serve internal problems, responding to customer requests for customization or partnering with other organizations on applied research projects – research and development can provide many benefits to your business and improve your ability to compete.

For this quarter’s “Lessons from Leaders”, we’ve brought together a panel of local business leaders to share their experiences leveraging research and development with innovative ideas to keep their businesses ahead of the game.

April’s panel features some amazing business leaders from the food, biotechnology, environmental technology & IoT sectors – With representatives from startups, small-to-medium sized businesses and large organizations.



Milena Corredig | VP R&D, Gay Lea Foods

Milena Corredig is Vice President of Research and Development at Gay Lea Foods, a cooperative owned by more than 1300 members. In her role, she champions innovation related activities such as new product development, technology innovation and commercialization.  Gay Lea Foods is one of the leading dairy ingredients manufacturers in Ontario, and in the past years has made aggressive strategic investments to increase both the domestic and export market for value added dairy products.  In a prior life, Milena had an academic role as Professor at the University of Guelph, in the Food Science Department.  She was a Canada Research Chair for two full terms, as well as the Ontario Dairy Council Industrial Research Chair in Dairy Technology. During her academic career she has published more than 200 refereed research papers and mentored graduate and undergraduate students.

About Gay Lea Foods: Gay Lea Foods is a leader in the Canadian dairy industry and the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario. Dedicated to innovation, the development of high quality products and growing the market for Canadian milk, we are 100% Canadian-owned, with members on more than 1,360 dairy farms and more than 4,250 members overall.

Phil Whiting | President & CEO, Mirexus Biotechnologies Inc.

An experienced business executive with an entrepreneurial flair who has lead small to medium sized technology businesses. His focus is on accelerating growth and profitability through effective sales and marketing, creative business planning, operational excellence, technological innovation, and execution with a sense of urgency.

About Mirexus: Mirexus is a Canadian company offering a new and sustainable source of plant-derived glycogen (phyto-glycogen) for use in personal care and cosmetics products. This unique material was discovered by researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada and is manufactured in Ontario from locally grown feedstock.

Jamie Draves | President & CEO, Katan Kitchens

Jamie Draves is the founder, president & CEO of Katan Kitchens. He is a facilitator of business innovation in health, pharmaceutical, pharmacy, natural health product, food, alternative, complimentary and retail health industries.

About Katan Kitchens: In just a few short years, Katan Kitchens has emerged as a leader in the research and development of quinoa, a nutrient-rich grain crop native to South America. Founded in 2011, the company has developed and refined a non-GMO quinoa variety that is suited to Ontario soils, growing conditions and farming practices. It’s the first commercial variety to be produced in the province and is two to four times higher in protein, iron, magnesium, fiber, zinc and calcium than the native South American variety.

Drew McIver | Founder, Can-Dairy Inc.

Drew is the founder of Can-Dairy. Drew has a wide skill set derived from several years of brand development, brand management, project management, marketing and sales. Drew’s interest in food and beverage was piqued when we worked as the USA Sales Director for Waiola Life LLC. Drew has managed and executed apparel, entertainment, professional sport, and food and beverage projects on a global scale and brings a wide breadth of skills, knowledge, experience and a unique strategic vision to Can-Dairy.

About Can-Dairy Inc.: Can-Dairy is Canadian dairy startup focusing on premium and innovative grass-fed organic dairy products. Can-Dairy is developing multiple brands – such as Emerald Grasslands and Champions of Butter. These brands will be used to support Can-Dairy’s value-based initiatives – such as driving the growth of the grass-fed organic milk segment in Canada and the importance of regenerative farming practices. 

Lara Swift | Co-founder & COO, Swift Labs

Lara is an experienced Chief Operating Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the wireless industry. Skilled in Product Lifecycle Management, Embedded Software, LTE, Embedded Systems, and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). Strong business development professional with a Master of Engineering focused in Management Science from University of Waterloo.

About Swift Labs: Swift Labs offers product engineering design, testing, and compliance / certification services. Our mission is to get a client’s products to market faster. We specialize in wireless technologies and IoT solutions for both industrial and consumer use, and we have a proven track record of helping organizations of all sizes design and deliver leading-edge, dependable solutions.

Chris Guillon | Co-Founder, VP Finance, Stormfisher Environmental

Chris has extensive experience in the commercialization and financing of innovative clean technologies. Chris co-founded StormFisher Environmental, a North American pioneer in the commercialization of biogas, where he has spearheaded the financing and sales activities of the company. He has in-depth experience in securing venture capital, project financing, term debt as well as non-dilutive government grants. Chris also has led StormFisher’s merger & acquisition activities including the sale of the company from its private equity parent to a joint venture of GE and AES, and its subsequent management buyback. In addition, Chris has led the purchase and sale of several renewable energy assets. Chris has an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business and holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in biology from McGill University.

About Stormfisher Environmental: StormFisher owns and operates a 2.85 MW biogas facility in London, Ontario that converts up to 100,000 tonnes of organic waste each year into renewable energy and organic-based fertilizer. We provide disposal services to Ontario’s food processors, food retailers, waste haulers, and any business where food is either prepared or consumed. In addition StormFisher has been involved in the development of numerous other facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

Register now to join us on April 27th as our panel shares their stories and answer your questions about Innovation, R&D, entrepreneurship and leadership. (This event includes a continental breakfast)

To register for Lessons from Leaders please visit :

This event is free for Innovation Guelph clients! Please email Diana for the client discount link.