If small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in the telecom industry need an extra push to commercialize their tech, a roadshow may be en route to their city to help.
In January, the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) started its trek across Canada, promoting itself as a resource for SMBs that work with technologies like software defined networks and network functions virtualization. The first stop of its tour was in Vancouver, then moved onto Edmonton before it began wending its way eastward to Montreal, where it will land Feb. 5. The tour wraps up in Ontario, visiting Toronto Feb. 6 and Ottawa Feb. 10.
Based in Ottawa, the CENGN is made up of a group of academics, researchers, and corporations, all looking to promote the telecom industry in Canada. Companies that are part of CENGN include Alcatel-Lucent, Allstream, Cisco, Rogers, and Telus, among others. Altogether, these organizations spend about 90 per cent of the money put into the telecom industry in Canada.
In November 2014, the CENGN announced it had received $11.7 million in funding, spread over five years, from the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada, an arm of the federal government that promotes the country’s ability to do research and compete with other countries.
As part of its mandate, the organization hopes to use its funding to help SMBs. Companies would need to go through a submissions process to receive help from CENGN, but if it’s selected, an SMB can receive commercialization acceleration support worth anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. The goal would be to get its technology to market within three to 15 months.
If SMBs are interested, they can attend one of the CENGN’s events on its cross-country tour, where the organization will give them an overview of how it selects telecom projects for funding and help. Afterwards, there will be a panel and networking session. As part of its tour, the CENGN is also visiting colleges and universities, and it will be looking to hire its own researchers for its multi-vendor test and verification lab in Ottawa.
The CENGN also wants to help SMBs get access to testing facilities that work with different vendors, and it will provide support from an engineering team that has expertise in software defined networks and network functions virtualization.
It also provides access to high-speed fibre networks, and other services that will help small businesses with testing their performance, getting their certifications, and testing for verification and conformance. And on a less technical level, the CENGN wants to help provide legal and business-related support, while helping out with marketing efforts and mentorship.
So far, more than 100 SMBs have attended the Edmonton and Vancouver events, according to a press release.