Ottawa startups have a new helping hand to support their efforts to scale up.
In a joint conference on Friday, the Ontario government, IBM Corp., and economic development agency Invest Ottawa announced the opening of the IBM Innovation Incubator Project at Invest Ottawa, a facility designed to provide local small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with access to IBM resources including cognitive business technology, a cloud-based development platform, and the company’s substantial customer network – everything they need to grow and compete in today’s global marketplace.
As its name implies, the facility is part of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)’s IBM Innovation Incubator Project, and according to the provincial government is expected to help SMBs create up to 2600 jobs by 2020.
In a Sept. 29 statement, IBM Canada senior innovation executive Allen Lalonde said his company was pleased to help small and medium-sized business owners turn their ideas into reality.
“At IBM, we believe the path forward is that of engagement and openness to the world,” he said. “By bringing together entrepreneurs, developers and organizations from all sectors, we can together transform industries and solve some of Canada’s most complex problems.”
Research, innovation, and science minister Reza Moridi and economic development and growth minister Brad Duguid expressed similar hope for the new space, with Moridi noting that “these kinds of collaboration spaces help entrepreneurs access expertise and advanced technologies they otherwise might not have access to” and Duguid emphasizing that the incubator “will help Ontario businesses access the tools they need to scale up quickly to meet demand in a fiercely competitive global economy.”
The incubator is located at Bayview Yards, a former City of Ottawa turned historic landmark west of downtown now dedicated to innovation spaces.
Thus far, tenants include Larus Technologies, an Ottawa-based startup that specializes in predictive analytics, machine learning, network-enabled real-time systems, and developing modeling and simulation environments for clients and technology partners including the Canadian Forces, Canadian Space Agency, and NATO; and ChangeJar, developers of a mobile cash payment platform that incorporates IBM’s Cloud and Watson software, and whose partners already include Interac and Canada Post.
Funding for the IBM Innovation Incubator Project at Invest Ottawa is expected to exceed $410 million, including $24.75 million from IBM and $22.75 million through the Ontario government’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund.
Meanwhile, the incubator’s day-to-day operations will be overseen by the OCE, which will also coordinate industry partnerships for the participants.
The Ottawa IBM Innovation Incubator Project is one of five innovation spaces using the name and receiving its associated funds across Ontario.