Innovation Support Members: It Takes a Village

August 19, 2019

Moving natural products from concept to customer requires a lot of help from a broad range of experts. Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster addresses this challenge with a special category of membership for those who provide expertise and services to entrepreneurs, research institutes and others who are developing innovative natural products and technologies. We talked to Sue Coueslan, VP Communications and Stakeholder Relations about this important category, and how it adds value to all Cluster members.


What exactly is an Innovation Support Member?

It’s a broad term to describe the variety of consultants, facilities, government agencies, professional services companies, associations, incubators, accelerators, and others who provide advice, services or other supports to help anyone developing and commercializing natural products.

We generally think of their expertise being applied to those who are developing products. But they can also provide valuable insights to others within the Cluster such as investors who may need external advice on a due diligence issue or a corporation who may be looking for additional help in analyzing a potential market.

It may be easier to think of who’s not included in the Innovation Support Member category–those in the other membership categories–investors, large corporations, research institutes and SMEs or start-ups that are developing natural products.

What’s the biggest benefit of becoming an Innovation Support Member?

That depends on what kind of offering you provide. A consultant may benefit most by being exposed to potential new clients and business opportunities.


“The NPC team is constantly asked for recommendations of experts to help with key projects for its members,

and many of those referrals have resulted in successful, long-term relationships.”


The new Commercialization Programs may create opportunities for Innovation Support Members as well. Applicants will be looking for experienced service providers or facilities to help them with the work that is funded through those programs.

What about the benefits for other types of Innovation Support Members?

Organizations like government agencies or incubators, may get the greatest benefit from finding helpful resources for their clients. For example, a program officer for a government agency may discover a technology facility that can perform key activities for their client. Or an accelerator may find the perfect mentor for their companies.

There are so many smart people and great organizations in the Cluster, just being a part of it is a major advantage to all of the members.

How will other members actually connect with Innovation Support Members?

Every member has a profile in the Cluster database so you can see their offering or service. Members can also use our custom sponsorships to showcase their expertise in webinars, articles or other communication vehicles. And as mentioned earlier, the NPC team will provide referrals where relevant and appropriate.

How much does it cost to become an Innovation Support Member?

Because there is such a range of entities in this member category, there is a tiered pricing system starting with those with fewer than five employees at $150 per year, up to $1000 per year for those with more than 100 employees.

Visit our website to learn more and to join online, or contact us directly.