TechAlliance, the Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) for Southwestern Ontario, announced Wednesday that it will be moving into a new, larger space in downtown London, Ont.
The downtown location sees TechAlliance growing out of its small office space at the Western University and marks a significant milestone for the RIC as it looks to grow and increase support for the region’s tech ecosystem.
“Space for our companies was a major next step in our focused strategy to support growing businesses in the region.”
“This move further advances our bold, new vision for building a future-ready, globally-competitive innovation economy that enables entrepreneurship, spurs accelerated growth, and attracts ambitious talent and new companies for hyper-local impact,” said TechAlliance CEO Christina Fox.
By expanding its physical space, TechAlliance hopes to offer more services and opportunities for both local startups and entrepreneurs. In an interview with BetaKit, Fox called the new location a “heartbeat” for TechAlliance and an indicator that the organization is ready to be collaborative and involve others in ways that it hasn’t been able to since it was founded in 2002.
TechAlliance is one of 17 RICs spread across Ontario that support tech entrepreneurship locally. Communitech, MaRS, and Invest Ottawa are three of the most well known RICs, all of which received a collective $52.4 million from the federal government last year to develop scaleup programming.
TechAlliance is set to take over a heritage property in downtown London, at 333 Dufferin Avenue. The building is currently under renovation in order to meet the organizations’ physical needs and TechAlliance is set to move in April 1.
“[The new space is] this idea of this unique lens of our rich entrepreneurial past with the concept of a vibrant future as we put our stake in the ground and we will continue to accelerate that in our region,” said Fox. “We are open for business and ready to shift service to our entrepreneurs in ways we haven’t had before.”
In addition to an expanded office, the location will offer meeting and event spaces and co-working space for high-potential startups and scale-ups. Similar to MaRS or Communitech, the idea is to provide companies that work with TechAlliance immediate access to TechAlliance’s team, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and partner organizations such as SWO Angels and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).
The location will also offer space to host TechAlliance’s Grow Accelerator and opportunity for incubation programming.
“Space for our companies was a major next step in our focused strategy to support growing businesses in the region,” said Anita Sutton, founder of TechAlliance’s Grow Accelerator. “Co-location is a key factor in a startup’s survival and traction, enabling them to work faster, quicker, and better together.”
“Every successful entrepreneurial community around the world has that centre ice location.”
The mayor of London, Ed Holder, added, “This move by TechAlliance demonstrates a significant commitment to the heart of our city. Their new home is just a stone’s throw from London City Hall, and within walking distance of numerous other tech companies located in downtown London.”
“This not only allows TechAlliance to become an even stronger partner in job creation, while driving continued prosperity in our innovation economy, it also contributes to a thriving and vibrant core,” he stated.
TechAlliance currently works with hundreds of companies every year, offering a variety of programming from early stage to scale-up, and more. In addition to its accelerator, TechAlliance’s offerings include business bootcamps, pitch challenges, workshops, clinics, networking opportunities, and more.
Noting that Southwestern Ontario’s tech ecosystem is often “in the shadow” of Kitchener-Waterloo, Fox explained that TechAlliance’s ultimate goal is to stretch the innovation corridor from Toronto through to Windsor. She added that this new space marks a first move for TechAlliance and she sees the organization growing into new, larger spaces in the future.
Along with moving into a larger location, TechAlliance also recently added five new technology and business leaders to its board of directors.
David Strucke, CEO of Media Sonar and vice-chair of TechAlliance’s board of directors likened TechAlliance’s new space to centre-ice in hockey. “Every successful entrepreneurial community around the world has that centre ice location where all activity moves through, building a critical mass and boosting prosperity,” he said. “Setting up shop at 333 Dufferin offers that focal point for our region.”