As we all navigated the many challenges brought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2021, Opportunities NB (ONB) remained committed to working with businesses to help them grow and succeed. And succeed they did – in all regions and communities across the province.

With 2022 now in full swing, we are excited to begin our look back at the many successes our province had in 2021, highlighting some of the most notable success stories that we have been a part of along the way. ONB is dedicated to continuing to work with our federal, provincial, and sectoral partners to drive continued success this year and into the future.

We begin our region-by-region success snapshots with the Central region of New Brunswick.

The Central Region (Queens, Sunbury, York counties)

February 2021 saw Centreville’s BWS Manufacturing and New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), in collaboration with WorkingNB and ONB, launch a unique shared approach to strengthening New Brunswick’s workforce. Together, the working group created a specialized, in-house training program for welders that launched in January.  Multiple cohorts have already graduated from the course (Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding Production Program). The program will help meet the needs of BWS, which has plans to hire an average of 20 to 25 new welders per year over the next decade.

Hartland’s Craig Manufacturing celebrated 75 years in business in 2021 and continued to grow thanks in part to supply chain optimization. “We have a really deep working relationship with the team at ONB. They’ve worked with us and our supply chain partners. By making them stronger they’ve made us stronger. And by building these deep relationships across New Brunswick they’ve helped us compete,” said President Ben Craig in October. (Watch he and others discuss the NB First Procurement Strategy here).

It wasn’t only heavy equipment makers reaching new heights in 2021. Fredericton’s Corey Nutrition, one of Canada’s top pet food manufacturers, spoke to ONB last year about the success they are seeing in reaching new export markets. “Our international hires really understand the nuances of our various export markets and target customers in those regions,” noted Shannon Daley, then Director of Human Resources. One of those hires, Jay Yang, an Export Manager originally from Beijing, has become a key player in the company’s Asian market strategy. Check out ONB’s chat with Jay here.

Central Region Technology Companies Continue to Thrive

New Brunswick’s robust technology sector continued to grow in 2021, with several Fredericton-based companies landing impressive funding rounds.

June saw Introhive announce $100-million (USD, $121.3 million CAD) in investments as part of a Series C funding round, the biggest of its kind in New Brunswick history. The funding means continued workforce growth, which as Director of Human resources Trish Rueda noted came at an opportune time, with the company also being recognized as a desirable employer. “Not only did we win Best Workplaces for Start-ups, we were then named one of the Best Workplaces for Women in 2021, we really value that particular honour,” she told ONB in July.

Smart Skin Technologies, meanwhile, closed its own $10.7 M funding round led by BDC Capital. The company intends to ultimately double its existing headcount of about 50 to 100, all thanks to the new funding. While Smart Skin’s core customers are beverage makers, their technology has been adopted by some pharmaceutical companies for the packaging of vaccines for several viruses including SARS-CoV-2.

October saw Sonrai Security close a $50 M USD ($61.9 M CAD) Series C funding round, making for a total of $88 M USD in less than three years. This latest funding round was led by London-based cybersecurity firm Istari, with other investors including the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation joining as well. Sonrai’s CEO Brendan Hannigan and CTO Sandy Bird both held similar positions with Q1 Labs, a Fredericton cybersecurity firm sold to IBM in 2011.

Another great cybersecurity startup Beauceron Security began 2021 with a bang, announcing it had reached $2 million in sales in 2020. Beauceron Security spent this year in growth mode with plans to double their workforce over the next two years. They have seen impressive growth in their short existence, with over 450 customers worldwide, including 2 Fortune 500 banks and several of Canada’s major telecommunications providers. The company now has customers in Finance, Technology, Critical Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Higher Education, and Government.

LuminUltra joined the fight against COVID-19 early in 2020, increasing production of reagents needed to supply COVID-19 tests across Canada. The company’s momentum continued into 2021 with a Company of the Year award from the Water’s Next Awards, which recognizes “individuals, projects, and technologies that have made significant contributions to the water industry in Canada and beyond.”

Teledyne CARIS has been a leading developer of marine mapping software for over four decades. Their CARIS Cloud Technology (CCT) Project, announced in November 2020 with Canada’s Ocean Supercluster initiative, has a value of $2.1 million and will support remote operations for ocean mapping and charting. In 2021, ONB approved support for the creation of up to 30 new positions in their Fredericton office over the course of five years.

A major fire struck TRACC’s tire recycling facility in Minto in 2019, damaging equipment and destroying the building. The company has since rebounded in the face of tragedy, rebuilding in a newly renovated facility adjacent to their original property. As one of New Brunswick’s many export-focused manufacturers, TRACC continued to see strong sales throughout 2021 and currently employs over 40 people in full-time positions.

ONB will continue to tell the stories of the New Brunswick companies thriving in 2022. Watch this space and our social media for more: Twitter – Facebook – LinkedIn – YouTube