Toronto-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Tilr has received a $1.3 million grant from the Ontario government through the Skills Development Fund (SDF).
Founded in 2017, Tilr offers a talent intelligence platform that uses AI to help human resources professionals measure and manage skills in their workplaces. Its first product helps recruiters source candidates by automatically evaluating and ranking database profiles based upon skills. Tilr claims it contributes to more inclusive and efficient hiring practices.
Tilr said it is expected to launch its second product soon, which will help organizations invest in employee career pathing, training, upskilling, and reskilling with automated and personalized training programs that are customized to each individual workers’ skills, profiles, aspirations, and the needs of the organization.
Most recently, Tilr partnered with Bimaadzwin, an Indigenous organization that offers support and expertise aimed at reconstituting Indigenous nationhood, to bring training, upskilling, and reskilling to Indigenous communities across Canada.
Tilr is among over 200 companies and organizations that received funding through the second round of SDF.
Other startups in the list of approved projects include Kitchener-Waterloo-based healthtech hub Medical Innovation Xchange, which partnered with the Government of Ontario in 2020 to offer free advisory services to companies looking to pivot to medical supplies manufacturing.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority will also receive more than $1.6 million to create Toronto Pearson Airport’s first ever airport-wide job portal. Accelerate Her Future, which aims to launch a Virtual Career Accelerator program for self-identifying Black, Indigenous, and racialized women, received an undisclosed amount.
SDF was first introduced in February 2021 with $115 million allocated to help reduce obstacles in hiring, training, and retaining talent. The fund later received an $83 million top-up in September, bringing the total to over $200 million. The SDF is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the federal and provincial governments.
The last two years of the pandemic have been marked by The Great Resignation, coupled with skills gaps in several sectors. The University of Alberta reported in 2021 that nearly 60 percent of the Canadian workforce lacks training in new technologies, resulting in decreased productivity and a high turnover rate that costs Canada more than $70 billion in GDP.
What the Ontario government wants to achieve with the SDF is to support innovative solutions that can help people and businesses “make it through the pandemic successfully” and eventually lead to long-term improvements in cross-sector employment and training across the province.
Its first round of funding saw almost 150 projects financed, which the provincial government claims helped 260,000 workers and job seekers in Ontario.
Featured image from Tilr’s website.