IBM, in partnership with Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Government of Ontario, has launched the IBM Innovation Space, a startup hub based in Toronto that will help entrepreneurs and startups scale up and enter the global marketplace.
The launch of the new space is the first initiative under the IBM Innovation Incubator Project, a $54 million initiative that was funded with a $24.75 million dollar contribution IBM and $22.75 million from the Government of Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund. Other partners in the fund include SOSCIP Research Consortium and members of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE).
The IBM Innovation Space will provide entrepreneurs with resources such as IBM cloud and cognitive business technologies, as well as opportunities for networking in order to help them incubate ideas and take their businesses from the research phase to commercialization.
“Access to the latest technology, including cognitive and cloud, as well as these kinds of resources and support are so often out of the reach of startups. That’s why we created this space,” said Dino Trevisani, president of IBM Canada. “We want to help them innovate, get to market, and expand more quickly to ultimately become the disruptors of tomorrow.”
IBM, which invests in incubator spaces to promote research and development projects, will work with its collaborators on the initiative to support businesses with business technologies such as cloud, mobile, analytics, and social solutions that will give them the expertise to grow their businesses. Entrepreneurs will also have access to mentorship, education, and legal counsel through the Innovation Space.
Several businesses in Ontario have already begun using the IBM Innovation Space to accelerate their businesses. While Toronto-based Big Terminal is using the space and its technologies to develop a search engine that can gather and analyze financial data in one location, Orenda is using it to create a software solution powered by IBM’s technologies to gather online data that helps businesses interpret what consumers are saying about their brands. Other companies using the space include LifeLearn, IAmI, 4D Virtual Space, and Sofie.
The launch of IBM’s Innovation Space comes at a time when the number of startups in Canada is growing and a series of new innovation hubs are being launched across the country. Last year, IBM launched the Toronto Bluemix Garage at Ryerson University’s DMZ and earlier this year, Cisco opened the Toronto Innovation Centre, to connect new startups with resources and opportunities from large institutions to help them grow.
“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to fuel home-grown innovation and leverage our world-class talents to create jobs and economic prosperity,” said Brad Duigid, the Minister of Economic Development and Growth. “The IBM Innovation Space demonstrates our commitment to increase innovation in Ontario by working collaboratively with the public and private sectors.”
Photo from IBM Canada