Innovation Rewarded: Creating Opportunity in the Biotechnology Sector

Jason Leibert was an entrepreneurial business graduate looking for opportunities when he discovered life sciences and realized his business education and entrepreneurial spirit would enable him to make a contribution to the industry. Mr. Leibert helped write a business plan for an organ preservation solution while completing his university education, subsequently traveling to various schools across North America entering business plan competitions.

Drawn to the field of life sciences both because of its medical and its social importance, he decided to seek out opportunities in the industry. That’s where BioTalent Canada’s Career Focus Wage Subsidy Program came in. With the financial support of Career Focus, Leibert was able to join the industry, first at Genesys Venture Inc, and ultimately at Kane Biotech in Winnipeg. The program enables people who are starting out in their career to gain valuable real-world work experience and skills by offering financial incentives to biotechnology firms. Specifically, the companies receive subsidies to offset salary and other associated costs with hiring new employees. “Job seekers can approach prospective employers with a subsidized wage offer, which greatly increases their opportunities for success,” notes Mr. Leibert.

Kane Biotech researches and develops products to prevent and disperse microbial biofilms. “I am part of a very exciting industry, and I’ve helped take products from the lab bench to the marketplace, which is very rewarding,” Mr. Leibert says, “and I work with talented people who share my entrepreneurial spirit.”

Mr. Leibert stays closely connected to different aspects of the industry, while maintaining a clear focus on development and networking. “My advice to people entering the field is to create a strong network of colleagues and to understand that success is not delivered on a silver platter.” He looks for people who are driven and inquisitive, as well as eager to make a difference and determined to succeed. Like many professionals in the field, Mr. Leibert actively works with students to help them get established and “start them on the journey of innovation that defines the industry.”

Mr. Leibert has been involved with a number of different products from conception to development. “Knowing that I helped in the commercialisation of science and innovation is a fantastic reward. Seeing individuals helped by the products I’ve been involved with is wonderful.” He believes that it is the opportunity for accomplishment that convinces people to join the fast-paced but rewarding biotechnology field, and encourages people entering the sector to “bring their energy and ideas with them to create opportunities for themselves that benefit other people. Innovation is rewarded in this industry.”

Mr. Leibert encourages people new to the sector to understand the time and resources necessary to bring a project to market and achieve the success they are searching for. “People want to be successful quickly but they need to remain focused on achieving milestones and staying aggressive. The future of biotech careers will remain strong, as an aging population will require innovation to meet the healthcare needs of the future.”