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Ontario Marks Grand Opening of Innovation Hub in Waterloo

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Ontario Marks Grand Opening of Innovation Hub in Waterloo

Province Helping Businesses Take New Technology to Global Markets

Ontario is providing businesses in Waterloo with access to the technology and expertise they need to create jobs, grow and compete in the global marketplace.

Daiene Vernile, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science and MPP for Kitchener-Centre made the announcement today at the opening of the IBM Innovation Incubator at Communitech Data Hub. 

This centre -- made possible through a partnership with Ontario Centres of Excellence, IBM Canada and Communitech -- is part of the IBM Innovation Incubator Project. Announced in 2016, the project is helping small- and medium-sized enterprises fast-track the launch of new technologies and products to international clients by leveraging IBM's technical resources. This includes cognitive business technology and a cloud-based development platform, as well as its physical space and network of customers. The project is expected to create up to 2,600 jobs by 2020. 

Fostering innovation and growth is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario invested $22.75 million through the Jobs and Prosperity Fund for the IBM Innovation Incubator Project, supporting an additional investment of $24.75 million from IBM, for a total project value of $410 million.
  • Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) will oversee the operations of the IBM Innovation Incubator Project and coordinate industry partnerships. OCE is a provincial coordinator and member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs that works with industry, academia and government to stimulate business-led innovation.
  • Viral360 is a start-up already using the IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence capabilities and the Bluemix cloud platform at the IBM Innovation Incubator at Communitech Data Hub. The company uses predictive analytics to produce engaging video content for their clients such as Alibaba, 7up and many Ontario based start-ups and small businesses.
  • The IBM Innovation Incubator Project includes five co-located innovation spaces across Ontario.

Additional Resources


“Our government is committed to boosting innovation in Ontario through strategic partnerships, in order to help Ontario’s growing businesses scale up. These kinds of collaboration spaces help entrepreneurs access expertise and advanced technologies they otherwise might not have access to, allowing our province’s innovators to test, develop and commercialize their ideas and connect to markets worldwide.”

Reza Moridi

Minister of Research, Innovation and Science

“Entrepreneurship and innovation are at the heart of our government’s plan to create jobs and grow our economy. That's why we are pleased to support IBM Innovation Spaces, which will help Ontario businesses access the tools they need to scale up quickly to meet demand in a fiercely competitive global economy.”

Brad Duguid

Minister of Economic Development and Growth

“One of the greatest challenges for any tech start-up is scaling in scope and size. This partnership for the IBM Innovation Incubator will help support Waterloo Region businesses as they fast track new technologies while competing in the global marketplace. Providing this opportunity – technology and expert advice – our local innovators will help create up to 2,600 jobs by 2020. That's good news for our community.”

Daiene Vernile

Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Research, Innovation and Science and MPP for Kitchener-Centre

“The IBM Innovation Spaces offer small and medium-sized enterprises access to the state-of-the-art technologies that disruptors who want to participate in the innovation economy need to compete. The Government of Ontario, IBM and OCE are also providing support and mentorship, as well as access to global networks and large customers that will help Ontario SMEs to scale-up and enter markets around the world.”

Tom Corr

President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence

“This ongoing collaboration provides an opportunity to empower small businesses with cognitive and cloud technologies to deeply differentiate themselves and drive 'made in Canada' innovation. By working in an open environment where fresh ideas can collide and quickly take shape, we can more quickly transform industries and identify ongoing opportunities to disrupt the status quo.”

Allen Lalonde

Senior Innovation Executive, IBM Canada

“The IBM Innovation Incubator at the Communitech Data Hub is a great example of the Province of Ontario working with a large company to provide start-ups with just the right support at the right time to achieve scale. Not only are start-ups getting early access to and training in advanced IBM techniques and technologies, like Design Thinking and IBM Watson, but IBM is also providing the most promising start-ups with mentorship from IBM executives and access to IBM's large customers to solve their big problems.”

Iain Klugman

CEO, Communitech

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