Although I’ve been in Southern California for almost a decade now, I still keep tabs on things back in Toronto where most of my family continues to live. My colleagues and I sometimes joke that the market in Canada lags behind the U.S. in technology adoption, but I’m impressed by the innovative approaches to partnering by organizations like the Ontario Centres of Excellence and MaRS.
Operating as a not-for-profit incubator, MaRs pools funding from the government and private investors to help businesses grow. The organization’s goal is to help elevate Canada’s competitiveness in the global marketplace by connecting entrepreneurs with capital and resources in Canada, thereby retaining local wealth and enriching the social and cultural environment.
The OCE is funded by the Ministry of Research and Innovation and the private sector to nurture ideas and collaborations between government, businesses and academic communities. It’s a way to commercialize R&D innovations, building on the investments that startups have made in themselves, or the research output from universities and colleges. The OCE explores everything from communications and IT to earth and environmental sectors.
I find the OCE approach especially interesting since many of their goals run parallel to what I do at alphaWorks, helping emerging technologies gain exposure, market feedback and commercial interest. I’m interested in learning about other groups out there with similar missions to these Toronto-based orgs. If this keeps up, I might have to think about moving back to Canada.