Support to help innovative companies grow more quickly and create 18,000 jobs
Hello everyone, it’s always a pleasure to be back in Kitchener, especially when we have some great news to share. But before we begin, I want to thank Communitech’s President and CEO, Iain Klugman, for that warm welcome. Thank you for everything you do, and to the whole team.
It’s always great to come back to Communitech. I also want to thank my colleagues, Government House Leader Chagger and Raj Saini, who are here with me today, along with Bryan May and Marwan Tabbara, and I want to give a big shout out to our friends in the municipal level, Barry, Catherine, Dave and Karen, it’s great to see you guys working as a team, always there to be partners with us in the exciting developments for this region; so thank you for all of your leadership.
When it comes to innovation, Canada is home to countless success stories, from the gaming industry, to aerospace, to artificial intelligence; Canadians are leading the way.
The technologies of the future are being imagined and developed in places like Waterloo, Ottawa and Montréal, which are becoming innovation hubs. These hubs are attracting not just economic growth, but also investments and opportunities for people and their communities. When businesses start up here, that means new jobs for workers, new clients for business owners, and new learning opportunities for students.
Today, Canada is on the verge of becoming a global leader in innovation. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise -- Canadians are among the best trained people in the world. Our colleges and universities are perfect environments for learning and innovation, for students and researchers, and our entrepreneurs continue to grow their businesses here at home, create jobs and strengthen our communities.
We have all the right ingredients to lead the future, a future where technology and innovation are engines of prosperity. Now, Communitech knows this. In fact, you’ve been way ahead of the game for a long time. More than 20 years ago, you knew that this region had what it takes to become an innovation hub, so you set out to make what once seemed like a distant dream, a reality. You’ve played an important role in helping local firms like Vidyard, Geotab and Bridgit succeed, and today you support a community of more than 1400 companies -- companies that grow and thrive because of your hard work. This is great news, not only for the sector, but for the entire community; for small business owners looking for new solutions, for colleges and universities seeking new partnerships, for working people wanting to switch careers.
But when it comes to innovation, we can’t afford to get complacent. Countries around the world are trying to earn a top spot in the new economy, and while Canadian innovators have given us a head start, we need to keep up the pace. Organizations like Communitech need a strong partner, ready to support the important work you do. A partner that understands that growing more world class companies is critical to the strength of our economy. So, today, our government is stepping up. We will invest more than $50 million over five years to implement the new Scale-Up Platform, which will bring together Ontario’s three leading innovation hubs: Communitech here in Waterloo, MaRS Innovation District in Toronto, and Invest Ottawa in the National Capital Region.
Each of these hubs has its own way of doing things. They offer slightly different services and tools to their clients. Some are more focused on market access, while others help with things like finding the right talent or raising capital. They each have their own approach and their own expertise. With this new Scale-Up Platform, we’ll be leveraging the respective resources and strengths to help 30 tech companies in southern Ontario grow and achieve revenues of $100 million or more by 2024.
As one of the pillars of the overall Scale-Up Platform, the Waterloo Scale-Up project will be led by Communitech and its partners at the University of Waterloo, Velocity, the Waterloo Accelerator Centre, and Wilfrid Laurier University’s LaunchPad. These partners will offer various programs to get local companies to really take off.
So, say you just graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in engineering. You and a few of your former classmates have this great idea for a new product, but you’re not sure how to build your business. Well, you can turn to something like the University of Waterloo’s Velocity Garage and get business advice or coaching from people who have the right experience. The new Scale-Up Platform will now give more start-ups the support they need to grow. Overall, we expect these investments to create 18,000 good, well-paying middle-class jobs, generate $11 billion in revenues, and attract more than $4 billion in investment.
Today’s announcement is good news not just for the 30 companies that will be chose, but for southern Ontario’s entire innovation ecosystem. It is exactly this type of investment that will help small companies grow and become giants in their industry in the years to come.
My friends, Canada has a remarkable history of innovation and entrepreneurship. Time and again, Canadians have pushed the boundaries of what they thought possible, and revolutionized the way we live, work, and think. And, with smart, targeted investments like the one we’re making today, we will, together, write the next chapter of this great story.