IBM, in partnership with the Government of Ontario, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), and ventureLAB, has announced the launch of the IBM Innovation Space at the Markham Convergence Centre.
The new space, which is meant to help startups scale and compete in the global marketplace, is the third initiative under IBM’s Innovation Incubator Project, an initiative that was funded with a $24.75 million investment from IBM and $22.75 million from the Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund. The other innovation spaces are located at the DMZ and MaRS in Toronto.
IBM’s innovation spaces provide entrepreneurs with resources such as IBM cloud and cognitive business technologies, as well as access to education, business mentorship, and legal counsel through IBM’s network, in order to help them incubate ideas and take their businesses from the research phase to commercialization.
“These kinds of collaborative spaces help entrepreneurs access expertise and advanced technologies they otherwise might not have access to.”
“Our government is committed to boosting innovation in Ontario through strategic partnerships, in order to help Ontario’s growing businesses scale up,” said Reza Moridi, the minister of research, innovation, and science. “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.”
Among the startups using the IBM Innovation Space in Markham is Studio1Labs, a startup developing bed sheets that are meant to save baby’s lives using fabric sensors that detect when a child’s breathing changes. The company is using IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence capabilities to accelerate its scalability.
“The IBM Innovation Space-Markham Convergence Centre offers 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,” said Tom Corr, the president and CEO of OCE. “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.”
IBM Innovation Spaces across the GTA are expected to leverage more than $410 million in private-sector investment and create up to 2,600 jobs by 2020.