Archive for the ‘Information Technology’ Category

Elevate TechFest Sets the Stage for Canadian AI – Powered Medicine

For the second year in a row, Elevate TechFest, Canada’s largest technology and innovation festival, took over downtown Toronto in September as over 10,000 members of the tech community, including investors, government, media, start-ups, talent and next generation innovators all gathered to “disrupt together, celebrate diversity and inclusiveness, and proudly showcase the best of Canadian innovation.”

As a community driven festival, Elevate provides a shared stage for Canada’s booming high tech startup ecosystem to showcase their work, and to learn and network through numerous events, educational presentations, award ceremonies, and social gatherings. The result is an exceptionally inclusive and collaborative entrepreneurial platform which highlights Canada’s greatest competitive advantage to attract talent and investment for the next generation of innovation.

This is particularly relevant in the fields of AI and health/medical technology, with Canada being uniquely poised to drive AI innovation in the healthcare field as a global leader in AI technology with its universal healthcare system. Canada’s strength in AI and medical technology was emphasized throughout the various Elevate events and tracks by the prevalence of growing companies developing machine learning and digital health solutions with the goal of democratizing AI powered medicine.

Industry leaders such as Al Gore, Eric Schmidt, Tobias Lutke, Minister Navdeep Bains, Whitney Wolfe Herd and Wyclef Jean, shared the main stage on September 25 to discuss the role of technology and collaboration in shaping the future.

Keynote: How Technology Drives Global Change with Al Gore

Keynote: How Technology Drives Global Change with Al Gore

In a fireside chat moderated by co-founder and CEO of Canada Learning Code, Melissa Sariffodeen, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains discussed the federal Economic Strategy Table interim report and ‘How Canada Wins’ with Tobias Lutke, Shopify CEO and the Chair of the Digital Industries group (that is advising the government on improving the digital economy). The Economic Strategy Tables are a new model for industry-government collaboration that were announced as part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan to support economic growth in six key sectors: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital industries, health/bio-sciences and resources of the future. According to Lutke, Canada needs more “anchor” or “freight train” companies which have “an outsized impact on the ecosystem.”

Top Canadian AI startups were invited to pitch their ideas for a chance to win $1,000,000 and the attention of international media, investors and global tech leaders at the ElevateR pitch competition taking place as part of the Main Stage events. Finalists Elucid labs and Aifred Health pitched live before Al Gore’s keynote address. Elucid Labs, a Waterloo based company that is developing a non-invasive digital biopsy device for detecting and diagnosing dermatological disease, was named the people’s choice winner. Aifred Health, the runner-up in the competition, is a Montreal based company using machine learning to increase treatment efficacy in mental health by creating a deep-learning based clinical decision tool for physicians to bring personalized medicine to psychiatry.

ElevateR 7

2018 ElevateR Pitch Competition – AI Edition

During the event, Toronto based Daisy Intelligence, an AI software-as-a-service company targeting the retail and insurance industries, announced that they had secured a $5M investment from Espresso Capital. Daisy Intelligence CEO, Gary Saarenvirta, acknowledged government funding programs such as SR&ED in supporting the company.

Aifred’s CEO, David Benrimoh spoke about ‘A new hope for personalized Mental Health’ as part of the Elevate Educate Health track on September 26, which provided a platform for discussions emphasizing the growth and impact of technology solutions in mental health. The track featured keynote discussions on topics such as ‘Democratizing access to mental health using technology’ by Sam Duboc, Chair and CEO of Beacon, and ‘Chat Bot solution for mental health’ by Lexi Kaplin and Alexandra Reeves of Conversation Health.

Using innovation for better access to mental healthcare with Alisa Simon, Hemai Parthasarathy, Sam Duboc, and Sean Kidd.

Adjoining the Health track at Elevate Educate, the Cannabis track featured keynote speakers from federal, academic and industry policy experts, thereby providing a shared stage for an open dialogue for patients, growers, innovators, and healthcare providers on pain management, cannabis legislature, and technology solutions.

Opioid Crisis and the Cannabis Opportunity with Kelly Narine of Aurora, Ed Sellers of the University of Toronto, Dr. Bernard Le Foll, Dr. Michel Verbora from Aleafia and moderator Ying Tam Managing Director, Health Ventures at MaRS

The strength of Canadian Medtech companies was particularly emphasized at the Elevate Educate AI track by several growing startups that are pushing the boundaries of AI powered medical technology. Various companies attended, such as Phenomic AI, which is developing deep learning solutions to automate and accelerate drug discovery; BenchSci, a reagent intelligence platform; Swift Medical, which is developing  the world’s most advanced and comprehensive wound care management software; tealbook, a platform providing centralized supplier  knowledge and discovery, and Cloud DX, a medically accurate, consumer/clinical vital sign platform.

AI Spotlight: Automating Drug Discovery with Oren Kraus of Phenomic AI

AI Spotlight: Automating Drug Discovery with Oren Kraus of Phenomic AI

 

AI Spotlight: How AI Will Transform B2B with Stephany Lapierre of tealbook

AI Spotlight: How AI Will Transform B2B  with Stephany Lapierre of tealbook

The rapid growth of AI and  availability of data in the age of information also raised important ethical discussions on the Elevate AI stage in regards to ownership, trust, use of information, data breaches, questionable data practices, and privacy debates. And there could not be a better time or place for these discussions to occur than in the country that has produced some of the most well known experts in AI, such as deep Learning pioneers Geoffrey Hinton and Joshua Bengio. When discussing the role of Canada in the AI revolution at the 2017 Elevate AI track, Bengio noted that “we had the foresight to invest in something risky…and we built something in terms of critical mass.” As a global leader in disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, FinTech and Blockchain, which will radically transform how we live, work and interact, Canada is emerging as a lucrative and inclusive epicenter of the advanced technology revolution which is drawing global talent, ideas, and investment. In particular, the startup community in the Waterloo-Toronto tech Corridor has exploded over the past few years, especially in areas such as AI and Medtech, thereby attracting private and public investment. Speaking at the 2018 Elevate TechFest,  Layer 6 AI co-founder and chief AI office for TD Bank, noted that “We are at a unique moment time when this industry around artificial intelligence is first starting to grow and we need to jump on this opportunity… we have an opportunity to transform the world.”

The New Normal? Institutionalizing Ethics in the Age of Algorithm with Hessie Jones, Carolina Bessega,  Ann Cavoukian,and Carol Piovesan,

The New Normal? Institutionalizing Ethics in the Age of Algorithm with Hessie Jones, Carolina Bessega, Ann Cavoukian, and Carol Piovesan.

Trust as a Value Creator: The Georgian Impact Model with Jason Brenier of Georgian Partners
Trust as a Value Creator: The Georgian Impact Model with Jason Brenier of Georgian Partners

Elevate Main Stage, Co-founder and CEO Razor Suleman announced the festival’s 2019 theme, Moonshots, following the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Next year’s festival will welcome acclaimed Canadian astronaut and bestselling author Chris Hadfield as a keynote speaker on the Main Stage. Chris and Helene Hadfield will serve as 2019 Co-chairs of the Elevate Founders Board. “We couldn’t think of anyone better than Chris Hadfield to help us explore far-reaching ideas and the future of tech and innovation at Elevate,” said Suleman.

 

Elevate: Moonshots will run from September 23-27, 2019.

Get your tickets today!

Bridging the Commercialization Gap- Funding Opportunities

Is your company investing heavily in R&D but struggling to commercialize your innovations?

Read our latest Excellence in Manufacturing blog series to learn about various non-dilutive financing options available to Canadian companies that can help close the gap between performing R&D to commercialization in the ICT, Manufacturing, and Agri-food sectors.

To learn more about various funding options that can help your company to innovate and grow, contact us today to arrange for a free, no obligation consultation with one of our government funding experts.

Ontario Budget 2018 Highlights

The Ontario 2018 Budget, tabled on March 28, 2018, projects a growing deficit over the next three years and is predicted to resume a downward trend in 2022 with accumulated deficit expected to decline from 23.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017-18 to 22.1% by 2022.

The Ontario Budget proposes several measures and investments that impact businesses, including:

Innovation

  • An increase to the Ontario Research and Development Tax Credit (ORDTC) from 3.5% to 5.5% for eligible R&D expenditures over $1M (per taxation year) incurred on or after March 28, 2018.
  • Enhancements to the Ontario Innovation Tax Credit (OITC) for eligible R&D expenditures incurred on or after March 28, 2018 based on the ratio of R&D expenditures to gross revenues. Companies with a ratio of R&D expenditures to gross revenue of:
    • 10% or less will continue to claim the OITC at a rate of 8%;
    • 10-20% will be eligible for an enhanced OITC rate that will increase from 8% to 12% on a straight-line basis; and
    • 20% or more will be eligible to claim the OITC at a rate of 12%.
  • Expansions to the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) eligibility criteria to include broadcaster purchased or licensed film/television websites that host film, television, or Internet production content not previously assessed (before Nov 1, 2017).
  • A review of various tax incentives implemented in other jurisdictions such as preferential corporate income tax rates (i.e., patent boxes), tax refunds, tax deductions, and exemptions with the intention of developing a provincial incentive to encourage Intellectual Property (IP).
  • An additional $50M over 10 years for the New Transformative Technology Partnerships Fund for businesses, SMEs, and scale‐ups as well as post-secondary and research institutions to collaborate on new dynamic products and services in artificial intelligence (AI), 5G wireless communications, autonomous vehicles, advanced computing, and quantum technologies.

Business Growth

  • In parallel with the 2018 Federal Budget proposal to phase-out or grind the $500,000 small-business limit, the Ontario Budget proposes to phase out the small-business limit on a straight-line basis for CCPCs (and associated corporations) earning between $50,000 and $150,000 of passive investment income in taxation years beginning after 2018.
  • Ending the electricity debt retirement charge (DRC) for mid-sized commercial and industrial non-ICI or non-RRP, Class B consumers as of April 1, 2018.
  • An additional $100M over 10 years for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) and the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) to support regional economic development by creating jobs, attracting private sector investment and promoting innovation, and encouraging collaboration and cluster development.
  • An additional $500M over 10 years for the New Economy Fund for investing in priority sectors such as advanced manufacturing, information and communication technology (ICT), life sciences, and clean-tech.
  • An additional $85M over 3 years for the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund to stimulate economic development and diversification across the region.
  • An additional $100M over 10 years for a new Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area Fund to support SMEs in the GTA and Hamilton area.

Export Market

  • Work to implement a Global Trade Strategy to diversify and promote trade in Ontario. This will include the Accelerate to International Markets program, the Global Growth Fund, and the Magnet Export Business Portal.

Startup Support

  • An additional $85M over 10 years for a new Venture Technology Fund to support a select number of very high‐potential, fast‐growing firms in expanding to become globally competitive.
  • An additional $15M over the next 3 years to NextAI, a Toronto based accelerator for early stage startups that leverage AI technologies.

Workforce Development

  • An additional $170M over 3 years for the new Ontario Apprenticeship Strategy to support transition into apprenticeship from high school, make the system easier to navigate, and to improve access for apprentices to high‐quality jobs upon completion.
  • Transforming the Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (ATTC) into the new Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (GAGE) to encourage employers to ensure that apprentices complete their training.

Breakfast Seminar in Vancouver- Financing Solutions for Technology Companies

Join us for an insightful presentation with Canada’s top financial houses servicing the technology sector.
Hosted by MNP, learn about a range of alternate funding options available.

Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Time: 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Location: MNP Tower
Suite 2200 MNP Tower
1021 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, B.C.

Panelists include Jonathan Schubert from RBC, Jill Earthy from Frontfundr, Caterina Papadakos from Espresso Capital, and Jaap Siekman from NorthBridge Consultants.

A light breakfast will be served.  For more information and to RSVP, please contact us at jaap@northbridgeconsultants.com

Newfoundland and Labrador Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

Originally announced as part of the 2015 Provincial Budget released in April, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has recently finalized and implemented a new interactive digital media tax credit to support businesses in the competitive digital media industry. The Newfoundland and Labrador Interactive Digital Media (IDM) Tax Credit will offer a 40% refundable rate on eligible labour and remuneration costs incurred while developing an eligible product between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019.

The credit will be available to taxable, interactive digital media development companies with a permanent establishment in NL who have registered with the NL Film Development Corporation. For a product of such a company to be eligible for the new tax credit, the product will have to meet the following qualifications:

  • The interactive product has the primary purpose to educate, inform, or entertain;
  • The interactive product presents information using at least two of text, sound, and images;
  • The interactive product is intended to be used by individuals for purposes other than interpersonal communication and is non-promotional; and
  • The interactive product must provide feedback to the user, allow the user to control what information is presented and when, and the product must adapt to the user’s needs (if appropriate).

Not all products that meet the above criteria are eligible, so please consult the NLIDM website for a complete explanation of eligibility.

If a product is eligible, the credit can be awarded up to a value of $40,000 per employee, with a maximum of $2,000,000 in labour and remuneration claimable. While employee labour is claimable up to 100% of development time, it should be noted that remuneration costs will only be claimable to a maximum of 65%. Unlike other provincial IDM programs, the NLIDM credit must be claimed in respect of the year that the expenses were incurred and this claim must be submitted to the Minister of Finance within six months of the end of the taxation year.

While the tax credit is currently managed by the Ministry of Finance, it will transition to the CRA beginning in May 2016. This means that digital companies in Newfoundland and Labrador should try to not only take advantage of this new program, but also look at Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credits, which are also filed with the CRA. With a 15% provincial SR&ED top-up available, companies that submit claims under both these programs can benefit from significant tax returns to continue innovative product development.

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