Posts Tagged ‘ontario’

SWODF New Application Intake Dates Announced

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) provides support for business growth projects and funding to cover up to 15% of project costs.

SWODF is maintained by The Regional Development Fund which supports eligible small- and medium-sized businesses investing in new equipment and training to expand operations in these regions, and also supports municipalities and not-for-profit organizations investing in economic development projects.

Funding

Loans

Up to 15% funding to a maximum of $5M, interest free-during the project period (up to 4 years). Up to 30% of the loan ($500,000 maximum) may be forgiven if investment and job targets are achieved.

Grants

Grants are available only for specific circumstances, up to 15% to a maximum of:

  • $500,000 for rural Ontario businesses with less than 100 employees.
  • $1.5M for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments or from companies competing against other jurisdictions.

* SWODF funding cannot be combined (“stacked”) with other provincial programs.

Eligibility

To be eligible, businesses must be:

  • Investing a minimum of $500,000 in their project ($200,000 for rural Ontario).
  • Employing at least 10 people ( 5 for rural Ontario).
  • Committed to creating at least 5 new jobs (or 30% increase for companies with fewer than 15 employees).
  • Able to provide 3 years of operations/financial statements.
  • Located, or plan to be located, in Southwestern Ontario.

Applications

There are four application intake periods per year for full applications. Applicants will be notified of decisions within 60 business days of the application deadline.

Eligibility checklists may be submitted at any time.

Application PeriodAssessment PeriodNotification Date
December 2, 2019-January 20, 2020January 21, 2020-April 16, 2020April 16, 2020
March 5, 2020-April 20, 2020April 21, 2020-July 15, 2020July 15, 2020
June 5, 2020-July 20, 2020July 21, 2020-October 15, 2020October 15, 2020
September 3, 2020-October 19, 2020October 20, 2020-January 15, 2021January 15, 2021

To find out more about SWODF and other sources of funding to offset the costs of business growth, workforce development and innovation contact us today for a free consultation.

Redefining Medical Technology in the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor

As the second-largest technology supercluster in North America, the Toronto Waterloo Corridor is a global hub of research, innovation, and talent with over 5000 tech startups, 16 universities and colleges, and 81 innovations hubs and accelerators.

The Toronto-Waterloo Region ranked in the top 20 global ecosystems for Artificial Intelligence and Life Science and one of the top six ecosystems for talent in Life Science, as per Startup Genome’s 2019 report, representing a growing competitive advantage in AI-powered medicine that was highlighted during two major innovation events, Toronto’s Elevate Tech Festival and the Waterloo Innovation Summit     

#Moonshots: Elevating Canadian Tech Startups to the Global Stage

For the third year in a row, Elevate Tech Festival hosted a global audience of technology leaders, policymakers, disruptors, celebrities, and media in celebration of the Canadian innovation ecosystem.

This year, the festival was focused around the theme of ‘Moonshots’ in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing, which had inspired a shift toward science and engineering that ushered a revolution in technology.

Highlighting this year’s theme, astronaut, Founding Fellow at the Creative Destruction Lab’s Space program, and Elevate festival Co-chair, Colonel Chris Hadfield, took the main stage. Col. Hadfield’s presentation focused on humanity’s history of setting and achieving moonshot goals and encouraging the continuation of this ideology in business. 

The festival’s theme carried through to the annual ElevateR pitch competition where 32 of Canada’s top startups pitched their moonshots ideas in a March Madness style competition. This year, the ElevateR pitch competition featured an all-female panel of world-class investors and celebrity judges. The competition showcased a diverse range of advanced new and emerging technologies, from microsatellite-enabled quantum key distribution network being developed by Qeynet, to hardware and software solutions being developed for real-time online information in the construction industry by ElevateR pitch finalist, Exact Technology Corporation. Canadian AI-powered medtech startups maintained a dominant presence throughout the pitch competition this year, highlighting Canada’s strengths in these high impact fields. This includes companies such as Conversation Health, who are innovating conversational AI solutions, Animo who are using AI to quantify and predict psychological well-being, MedStack who are delivering automation-powered developer-flexible cloud hosting, VoxNeuro who are commercializing the world’s first objective cognitive health assessments, Braze Mobility, who are developing blind spot sensors for wheelchairs, and Elevate Pitch winners, Village Technologies, with their AI-powered app for tracking infant speech development.

ElevateR Pitch Competition Winner Maryam Nabavi, Co-founder & CEO of Village Technologies pitching to the judges.

A true testament of Canadian AI-powered medtech rising to the global stage, Deep Genomics CEO and Elevate AI track panelist, Brendan Frey, revealed that the company’s proprietary AI drug discovery platform has identified a novel treatment target and corresponding drug candidate for Wilson disease, a rare and potentially life-threatening genetic disorder. “This is an important milestone for patients affected by Wilson disease and it represents a significant advance in the drug discovery community more broadly,” said Brendan Frey in a press release. “Within 18 months of initiating our target discovery effort, we identified a genetic mutation that causes the disease, the chemical properties needed in a molecule to target the mutation, and a compound that warrants further investigation. We are delighted to nominate the first ever AI-discovered therapeutic candidate and are eager to move it rapidly into the clinic for the potential benefit of patients.”

Brendan Frey, CEO of Deep Genomics presenting at the Elevate AI Track

On the Elevate AI stage, Frey posed the role of medtech innovators as “custodians of helping the patients” and explained how his company has made strides by taking advantage of the recent exponential growth in genetics data and by integrating heterogeneous datasets to tremendously increase overall performance in drug discovery.

Frey was followed on stage by Vector Institute Chair, Ed Clark, who stressed the need to combine social and economic policies in order to sustain the Canadian tech industry. He argued that while Canada had a first-mover advantage in the AI space, we are now in a race that will require Canadians to be more competitive in order to survive and prosper. 

This was echoed during a panel discussion by Carole Piovesan of INQ Data Law, Natalie Raffoul of Brion Raffoul, and Sean Silcof, technology reporter at The Globe and Mail. Alluding to Canada as an “open-source factory of ideas” the panel noted that while Canada had the first-mover advantage, our adoption rate for AI technology is slow with majority of Canadian patents ending up in the hands of foreign companies, thus stressing the need for increasing commercialization and keeping Intellectual Property (IP) in Canada. Piovesan argued that privacy compliance extends beyond legality as “a democratic value, that we are entitled to preserve our IP” and discussed patenting as part of a company’s risk management, particularly as the growth of AI and big data is spurring a shift from tangible to intangible assets and markets.

#UWBeyond: Seeding the Revolution in Predictive Medicine  

The 2019 Waterloo Innovation Summit showcased some of the leading local minds who are driving the transformation from acute to preventative and predictive medicine by leveraging cutting-edge technologies and sophisticated machine learning data algorithms to reduce healthcare costs while increasing the speed of discovery and improving patient outcomes.

For Alexander Wong, Canada Research Chair in AI & Medical Imaging, professor at the University of Waterloo, and co-inventor of DarwinAI’s Generative Synthesis AI technology, this transformation is about opening the black box of machine learning and providing more information to clinicians through augmented intelligence human-machine collaborations. The by-product of years of scholarship from the University of Waterloo, DarwinAI’s platform uses AI to understand a neural network and then learns to generate new, highly optimized, smaller and faster networks while enabling explainable deep learning. Wong’s team recently created a family of compact deep convolutional neural networks called AttoNets to demonstrate how the new human-machine collaborative design approach can be used for a broad range of tasks including video action recognition, video pose estimation, image captioning, image super-resolution, and image generation. AttoNets are faster than available neural networks and are efficient for edge computing with extensive applications in aerospace, automotive, finance, agriculture, medtech, consumer electronics sector, and more. Wong spoke at the summit about the tremendous potential of AI-enhanced health care to fill in the gaps with predictive and preventative models.

Jodie Wallis, managing director for AI in Canada at Accenture, and
Alexander Wong, Canada Research Chair in AI & Medical Imaging, in a panel discussion at the Waterloo Innovation Summit.

Illuminating the evolution of bioengineering and the future of disease modeling & drug discovery Ron Li, CEO and founder of Novoheart Inc. and a distinguished University of Waterloo alumnus, shared his journey from idea to real-world application. Li founded Novoheart in 2014 and grew it into a global stem cell biotechnology company pioneering an array of next-generation human heart tissue prototypes. Novoheart was the first company in the world to engineer a miniature living human heart pump known as “heart-in-a-jar” that can revolutionize personalized, precision medicine and drug development.

Shedding further light on the revolution in personalized medicine, Roderick Slavcev, CSO of Mediphage Bioceuticals and Cody Shirriff, co-founder and CEO of Serenity Bioworks addressed current challenges and opportunities for aligning the safety and efficacy of genetic therapies. Mediphage is currently developing world-class genetic medicines utilizing its core platform technology, Ministring DNA, to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic genetic diseases. Ministring DNA is a unique and novel gene delivery vector with the potential to cure genetic diseases for which treatments are currently limited or unavailable. Shiriff is the co-inventor of Serenity’s CargoTek™ platform technology, which improves gene therapies by inducing a state of tolerance and dampening adverse pro-inflammatory reactions. Slavcev addressed further challenges related to high risk aversion with initial funding in medtech, urging for higher investor risk tolerance and praising programs such as the Canadian Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit program as strong incentives for doing research in Canada.

This was echoed by Armen Bakirtzian, CEO and co-founder of Intellijoint Surgical, in a panel discussion on scaling up in a highly competitive sector with panelists Alexa Roeper, CEO and co-founder of Penta Medical, and Chris Wormold of Veramito. Bakirtzian noted that while early-stage grants and the SR&ED program make it easier for companies to get started in Canada, customer acquisition can be challenging. The gap that emerges after product development and before commercialization presents an adoption risk. As a result, Canada has become known for “selling too early” and there is an urgent need to build skill to scale. “There is a great startup scene when it comes to medtech and healthtech in KW,” Bakirtzian said. “I think where we could do better is investing in them and investing in them to stay and scale in Kitchener-Waterloo.”

Catherine McIntyre, Author at The Logic, Armen Bakirtzian, CEO and co-founder of Intellijoint Surgical, Alexa Roeper, CEO and co-founder of Penta Medical, Chris Wormold of Veramito in a panel discussion at the Waterloo Innovation Summit.

Intellijoint recently launched a med-tech hub in Kitchener, The Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX) that will help local medtech companies to grow their business. The purpose of MIX is to connect and unite the local medtech community, provide access to state of the art lab, manufacturing and office space, provide mentorship, and facilitate partnerships. “We wanted to focus on creating an infrastructure that really makes KW attractive for companies when they graduate from startup to scale up,” Bakirtzian explained. “There is a different set of challenges when you are scaling a company versus when you are starting a company. Intellijoint Surgical is 9 years old, we have gone from 0 employees to now 70 employees, we have done over 10,000 hips all around the world, so we want to be able to pay it forward and help the younger companies in town to build their own knowledge on how to scale up a medtech company.” 

The Waterloo Innovation Summit went behind the scenes of Waterloo’s booming medtech community with a series of pulse checks on some of today’s most promising startups.

Moazam Khan, co-founder and CEO of Curiato Inc., revealed a new skin data platform and smart technology designed to collect skin data in real-time and predict patient risk. Curiato is a Kitchener- based startup developing smart healthcare solutions to help prevent life-threatening pressure injuries. One of the initial applications of their AI platform is to manage and prevent the silent epidemic of bedsores with further applications in injury management, pain management, infection control, and even robotic surgery.

Hendrik Walther, CEO and co-founder of OcuBlink, developed an artificial eye model that is assisting research centers and pharmaceutical and medical device companies to test and develop better ophthalmic products. OcuBlink began as an initiative of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) and now operates as an affiliate. OcuBlink’s versatile model provides a physiological blink with controllable speed/rates, similar wettability to real corneas with an artificial tear film and clinical tear break up time.  

Michael Reimer, assistant professor at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), discussed the integration of quantum computing in medicine and explained its pivotal contribution to the next evolution of health care. This includes real-world applications being developed at the IQC such as the development of control electronics around sensors, fabrication of indium-gallium-arsenide (InGaAs) sensors that can detect in the infrared for dose monitoring in cancer treatment, as well as the development of multipixel nanowire arrays to integrate in a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera for ophthalmic imaging detection of blinding diseases.

Shak Lakhani, founder and head of R&D at AVRO Life Science, discussed how a polymer skin patch revolutionizes the delivery of medications. Avro is a Waterloo-based, preclinical stage pharmaceutical company developing OmniDerm™, a platform transdermal technology for the passive delivery of small drug molecules.

Morteza Ahmadi, co-founder and CEO of Qidni Labs, described a reality where renal replacement therapy is available anytime, anywhere. Qidni Labs is a Kitchener-based startup developing an artificial kidney and portable dialysis machine to help improve the lives and survival rates of kidney failure patients.

2019 Waterloo Innovation Summit Pulse Checks.
Top left to bottom right: Hendrik Walther, CEO and co-founder of OcuBlink; Shak Lakhani, Founder and Head of Research and Development at AVRO Life Science; Morteza Ahmadi, co-founder and CEO of Qidni Labs; Michael Reimer, Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC); Moazam Khan, co-founder and CEO of Curiato Inc.

The Summit wrapped up with a HealthTech pitch competition featuring very-early-stage startups from Waterloo’s Velocity incubator. Pitching companies included Insula Medical, developers of a  novel insulin delivery system with seamless smartphone integration, SheCycle, which is working to end the cycle of poverty for women in developing countries with a focus on menstrual hygiene management, Watermine Innovations, which uses a proprietary machine learning and AI algorithm to develop new therapeutics, and pitch competition winner, Bloomry, which is developing AI software to help coach educators work with their student’s mental health issues.

Velocity director and pitch competition moderator, Jay Shah, spoke about the impact of Velocity for local startups in providing the infrastructure, financial support, mentorship, and lab access to budding local companies. Shah invited the local tech and investment community to Canada’s largest seed investment event, Corridor Demo Day, where over 50 of Canada’s most investment-ready Seed to Series A startups from the Toronto Waterloo Region will be pitching to more than 150 potential investors. Corridor Demo Day is a collaboration between Corridor based organizations including Communitech, Velocity, OneEleven, Accelerator Centre, DMZ, Techstars Toronto, MaRS, NEXT Canada, Innovation Factory, RIC Centre, CDMN and more.

These accelerators and innovation hubs represent long term private and public investments in Canadian technology that are particularly critical for local medtech startups, who typically face average path to market that can exceed exceeding five years before a product sees a return on investment.  

The ability of early-stage startups to scale to the global stage, therefore, remains contingent upon the level of investment in the region with recent provincial government funding cuts to innovation hubs across Ontario threatening the future growth of the Toronto-Waterloo innovation ecosystem.

In discussion with Nora Young at the Summit, professor and Nobel Laureate in Physics, Donna Strickland, spoke about increasing dialogue and long term vision in research and encouraged the adoption of a national model where industry is willing to make long term investments together with government and academia.

Professor and Nobel Laureate in Physics 2018, Donna Strickland, in conversation with
Canadian broadcaster and writer Nora Young at the 2019 Waterloo Innovation Summit.

Alluding to the laser, which began with Einstein’s equations in 1917 but didn’t actually exist until 1960, Dr. Strickland emphasized, “There has to be time for science to keep going because it’s the body of knowledge we have that we can use to always come up with new solutions.”

Canadian Agricultural Partnership- Second Intake for Ontario Applications Opening Soon

The new Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), launched in April 2018, is a five-year, $3B federal-provincial-territorial agreement providing funding to agri-processors.

The second Ontario CAP application intake for producers, processors, and other Agri businesses will be opening from August 7 – 28, 2018.

Provincial CAP programs are being rolled out on a cost-shared (60:40) basis. Ontario’s CAP program offers various streams for agri-producers, processors and other businesses. For example, Ontario processors can apply for funding of up to:

  • $250K for integrating new or novel technological and equipment upgrades (defined as having been adopted by less than 20% of the sector in Ontario, to date) to improve labour productivity.
  • $100K for integrating Enterprise Resource Planning software.

Additional Ontario CAP streams are available to agri-processors to support other activities/initiatives, such as:

  • Food safety and traceability equipment.
  • Ingredient efficiency and waste reduction.
  • Marketing of products outside of Canada and internationally.
  • Monitoring plant pest and treat equipment and training.
  • Improving animal housing, and animal handling equipment with technology.

Is your company looking for funding to support innovation and business growth initiatives? Contact us today to find out how much funding your company could receive.

Free December 5 Waterloo Workshop- Government Funding for Start-ups

When funding growth, start-ups should always look towards non-dilutive funding sources to preserve a larger share of control over the company.

One of the main advantages of situating your start-up in Canada is the plethora of federal and provincial funding programs accessible to start-ups that can total over $20 billion each year.

This workshop will address the SR&ED tax credits, non-repayable grants, and interest-free loans available to early-stage companies, as well as how to structure your company and operations to take advantage of multiple funding opportunities.

Topics covered will include:

  • Introduction to non-dilutive government funding
  • SR&ED Tax Credits
  • Government grants and loans
  • Overlap between funding programs
  • Structuring to take advantage of funding

This educational workshop will preceed GTAN|RAW, a monthly event held by the Golden Triangle Angel Network (GTAN), where entrepreneurs that are considering raising funds from Angels and Venture Capitalists have an opportunity to present their pitch to several members of GTAN, who will offer feedback and suggestions.

Event details:

Speaker:
Gerry Fung, CPA CMA, P.Eng.
VP of Business Services at NorthBridge Consultants

Date & Time:
Tuesday, December 5 2017 from
3:00 PM to 5.00 PM  (Just before GTAN|RAW)

Location:
Accelerator Centre
295 Hagey Blvd – 1st Floor, West Entrance
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6R5
Canada (MAP LINK)

Register Online 

For more information please contact us at 1-519-623-2486  

 

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New $25M SMART Green Funding Program for Ontario SMEs

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Ontario Manufacturers & Exporters can receive a non-repayable grant of up to $200,000 for projects that will reduce Greenhouse gas emissions through the new Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) Green Smart program, scheduled to open November 2016.

The $25M CME Green SMART program is part of Ontario’s new $325-million Green Investment Fund.  If your company is implementing capital investment projects that will generate greenhouse emission reductions, leverage energy-efficient technologies, and follow best practices through process and/or product improvements, you may be eligible for a non-repayable grant up to 50% of eligible projects costs (up to $200,000) through the CME Green Smart program.

Eligible Companies:

  • Minimum of 10 full time employees.
  • Fewer than 25,000 tonnes per year of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Not participating in Ontario’s Cap & Trade program.
  • Companies with more than one facility may apply for funding for one project per facility for a maximum of 5 facilities up to $500,000.

Requirements:

  • The project must:
    • Support reduction in GHG intensity and/or avoidance through upgrades to process/production equipment, or
    • Involve implementation productivity improvements, which in turn lead to lower GHG emissions on a gross or per-production unit basis.
  • The project must be associated to the manufacturing process and cannot be a “comfort” upgrade (i.e. lighting, heating and cooling) that is not related to production.
  • A technical project assessment form will be required that includes a report of current (pre-project) GHG emissions, followed by a 12 month post-implementation verification that demonstrates GHG reduction.

The CME Green SMART application intake is expected to open on November 1, 2016 through the online system . This program will support approximately 110 projects in Ontario.

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