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August 10, 2001
(Executive Council)


EXCITE Centre opens in Grand Falls–Windsor

The Exploits Centre for Information Technology Excellence (EXCITE) Corporation today officially opened its new facility as the cornerstone of the EXCITE technology business park in Grand Falls-Windsor. The centre is designed to house technology-based companies as part of an economic development strategy to create an IT-based economy in the Exploits region of the province.

"The provincial government has made an investment in this centre consistent with its Renewal Strategy for Jobs and Growth," said Premier Roger Grimes. "We recognize the need to create an environment to attract new investment and new jobs in new industries. That is why we participated financially in the development of this centre last year, and it is why I am pleased to announce today that we are providing additional financial incentives to get Help Desk Now Inc., a new call centre in the facility, fully operational."

"Today, we see the opening of an IT centre of excellence that will transform this region of Newfoundland," said Industry Minister Brian Tobin. "Technology companies looking to set up or expand in Newfoundland and Labrador will find the EXCITE Corporation to be a major selling feature."

Help Desk Now Inc. operates a customer contact centre within the EXCITE building that currently employs 330 people providing customer service and technical help to a United States cell phone company. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador will provide a performance-based incentive for each job created up to a maximum of 450 jobs. The incentive will be a wage rebate based on gross payroll, to be spread out over 30 months after the jobs have been created and verified.

"We are creating here the foundation of a new knowledge-based industry for Central Newfoundland," said Beaton Tulk, Minister of Industry, Trade and Rural Development, whose department is providing the funding for Health Desk Now Inc. "This initiative is a tribute to the organizing abilities of the Town and the Exploits Valley Economic Development Corporation which first identified information technology as a key industry for development of the region."

The EXCITE building is fully occupied with two technology-based firms. DPSI Inc. and Help Desk Now Inc., a subsidiary of DPSI, currently employ more than 400 people and contribute over $6 million to the economy of the Exploits region annually.

"In 33 years in the IT industry, I never made a better decision than the one to open an office in Central Newfoundland," said Fred Riek, CEO of DPSI Inc. "Strong support from governments, a well-educated work force, and the community's willingness to build a state-of-the-art building for our use means we now have over 400 employees in Central Newfoundland. I would encourage other U.S. IT companies to explore the significant advantages of establishing technology centres in Newfoundland."

"The EXCITE project is a true partnership among all three levels of government, supported by private industry, resulting in economic benefits for all participants," said Mayor Walwin Blackmore. "As team leaders, the municipality of Grand Falls–Windsor appreciates this support in its efforts to enhance employment opportunities in the area."

"Today marks the beginning of a new industry for Central Newfoundland that will result in a stronger economy for our region and province," said Anna Thistle, MHA-Grand Falls-Buchans. "The technology sector continues to be one of the most important, dynamic and growing industries, and Grand Falls-Windsor is now positioned as a centre for excellence on the global IT map."

Funding for the EXCITE facility was provided by the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor, the Department of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. 
The Department of Industry, Trade and Rural Development is providing separate financial assistance to Help Desk Now Incorporated.

Media contact:
Stanley Singh, Director, Exploits Centre for Information Technology Excellence, (709) 489-4628, Fax (709) 489-8711, E-mail: 
Carl Cooper, Office of the Premier, (709) 729-3960
Heidi Bonnell, Office of the Minister of Industry, (613) 995-9001
Doug Burgess, Director, Public Affairs and Analysis, ACOA, (709) 772-2935
Clifford Grinling, Industry, Trade and Rural Development, (709) 729-7066.

2001 08 10                                                               11:05 a.m.

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