On Friday, Stephen Harper toured the Communitech Hub in Waterloo, prior to announcing a $100 million fund, called the Canadian Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), intended to help established start-up hubs grow the next wave of Canadian tech talent.
“It is critical for Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses to harness innovation and get their ideas to the marketplace so that they can grow, create jobs and contribute to the economy,” Harper said. “Accelerators and incubators have the experience, tools and know-how to help get small Canadian start-up businesses up and running.”
Four Waterloo area hubs have been selected to advance to the next stage in the selection process, including Communitech, Velocity Garage, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Launchpad program and Waterloo’s Accelerator Program.
CAIP will disburse $5 million per year over five years in non-repayable contributions to the final list of selected start-up hubs. Recipients of CAIP money will be required to match the contribution on a one-to-one basis.
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On his way through the 44,000 square foot facility, he stopped by Thalmic Labs to take a gander at a Parrot drone being controlled by a Myo armband.
The prime minister’s tour was arranged by Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid, and included stops at Thalmic Labs, at the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, and Open Text in Waterloo.
CAIP will be administered by the Industrial Research Assistance Program of the National Research Council (NRC-IRAP) under the aegis of the government’s Venture Capital Action Plan.
“I’ve seen a lot of really interesting innovation and a lot of really interesting, smart young people who are working on them,” Harper said after touring the facility. “These are advanced products that will really be driving the jobs of the future and so I think it’s a very exciting development.”
Mike Kirkup, director of the Velocity Garage in the Communitech Hub, remarked that available space was already filling up in the Foundry, yet another start-up hub slated to open later this year on Water Street in Kitchener. “It seems like the Foundry is actually going to be full before we open it,” he said.
Having already said that he had been hearing good things about the goings-on in Waterloo, Harper remarked, “It’s even more exciting in person.”
The list of incubators currently stands at 15, and will be whittled down further before a final decision is made regarding the disbursement of CAIP money.
- BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) (Accelerator)
- Bioenterprise Corporation (Accelerator)
- Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal (CEIM) (Incubator)
- Centre for Drug Research & Development (CDRD), in collaboration with CDRD Venture Inc. (Accelerator/Incubator)
- Communitech Hub (Accelerator)
- Corporation Inno-Centre du Québec (Accelerator/Incubator)
- GrowLab Ventures Inc., in collaboration with Extreme Startups (Accelerator)
- Invest Ottawa, in collaboration with Wesley Clover, PARTEQ Innovations and Innovation Park at Queen’s University (Accelerator/Incubator)
- Manitoba Technology Accelerator (MTA) (Incubator)
- Prince Edward Island BioAlliance Inc. (Incubator)
- Propel ICT (Accelerator)
- Ryerson University, in collaboration with Simon Fraser University and University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Accelerator/Incubator)
- The Next 36 (Accelerator/Incubator)
- University of Alberta, in collaboration with TEC Edmonton and Innovate Calgary (Accelerator/Incubator)
- Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre Society (Accelerator/Incubator)