On November 17, 2021, the Nurse Innovator Award Committee of the Registered Nurses’ Foundation of Ontario (RNFOO) held a Virtual Reception to announce the recipients of $95,000 distributed through the 2021 Nurse Innovator Awards and the Connie Clerici Nurse Entrepreneur Award.  Funding for these awards has been raised to support nursing innovation and entrepreneurial projects.  Included in those funds is the new $25,000 Connie Clerici Nurse Entrepreneur Award.

The event was hosted by broadcast journalist Mary Ito.  Mary was joined by the nurses leading the winning projects, and nurses who serve on the RNFOO Board.   Click on the image to watch the recording of the event.

2021 NIA Awd Wnrs Collage REV

The current pandemic has clearly demonstrated to Ontarians the critical role that nurses fill.  In addition to providing quality care, nurses are often initiators and facilitators of change within the health care system.  While this has never been more evident than in the past several months, innovation and entrepreneurship are not new to nurses. 

"Innovation and entrepreneurship are alive and thriving in the Ontario nursing community."

The application deadline for 2021 has passed.  Winner will be announced at the NIA Reception November 17.  

An entrepreneur CCsurfsmis: “one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” (Merriam-Webster)

The Connie Clerici Nurse Entrepreneur Award (CCNEA) was conceived and funded by Connie Clerici, Founder and Executive Chair of the Board of Closing the Gap, a home care agency in Ontario and a nurse entrepreneur herself.

This $25,000.00 award will be given to a nurse or nurses who is/are either:
• aspiring entrepreneurs who have applied for support to enable them to establish their business OR
• career entrepreneurs who need support to expand their products or services
in an existing business

Both categories of applicants must be nurses in a business that directly or indirectly delivers or improves health services and health care to Ontarians. Applications from groups will be accepted.

In addition to the financial award, the winner will be offered the opportunity to work with a nurse entrepreneur mentor.

Applicants for the CCNEA must be an RN, RPN, or NP currently registered in good standing with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and living or working in Ontario. Applicant(s) may be an aspiring or established entrepreneur(s) whose business is focused on providing or supporting quality health care to Ontarians. Applicant(s) cannot be an employee or consultant in a business managed or owned by others.

The Application Process

The application system opened on March 22nd and closed on May 29th, 2021.
Applicants will be notified about the next step over the next few weeks.



For Longwoods Link Final The story of the Nurse Innovator Award is featured in the recently released issue of Longwood's Nursing Leadership.  In the article "Developing a Culture of Support to Advance and Accelerate Nursing Innovation", three successful examples of Canadian nursing leadership in the development of innovataion culture at the national, provincial, and local levels are highlighted.  The goal is to cultivate innovation as a way of being, thinking, and doing, ensuring that it is inherent in nursing culture and visible in nursing practice, education, and research.
Written by a team of NIA donors (pictured, top: Mary Lou Ackerman, Lianne Jeffs, bottom: Bev Simpson, Sue Williams), the article is further testament to the forward-thinking leadership in the nursing profession that RNFOO is supporting.  Subscribers to Nursing Leadership can read the article here.


The Globe and Mail newspaper recently recognized Gail Donner, Mary Wheeler, and the other Honorary Life Members of RNFOO for their amazing work that created the RNFOO Nurse Innovator Award for the Ontario nursing community.

Paul Waldie's feature 'Pitching In' provided the perfect forum to highlight this leading edge enterprise. The article has helped raise awareness of the critically important role that nurses fill in leading health care inOntario.  An unexpected, but very welcome response to the article has been further donations to the Nurse Innovator Award fund. Click here to read the article.

For Whats New Globe Article cropped

NIA Founding Donors, Friends & Supporters, Award Winners and other friends of RNFOO gathered virtually for the 2020 Nurse Innovator Award Reception on November 18.  The evening was a terrific success.  Host Mary Ito, Producer and Journalist with CBC, created an engaging tone.  The 2019 NIA winners shared updates on their progress, and the 2020 winners held viewers' attention as they shared their passion for their projects.  The lively Q&A session helped everyone better understand the crucial role that innovation plays in nursing.  

Celebrate with the winners again, by watching the event here:

Here are just a few of the attendee comments:

"The celebration was very well done. Having Mary Ito host it was brilliant. Her graciousness and sincerity were perfect for the event."

"The winners all had interesting projects and the sharing of the info gave me a great understanding of the projects."

"It was a great option given the pandemic. I continue to be amazed at the wonderful innovations we are supporting."

 Thanks are extended to everyone who helped to make the Reception happen. 

Special mention goes to Cecktor Ltd, for organizing and operating the technology platform.
  Cecktor Logo

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