Invest Ottawa gets $17M to boost local tech firms

Over the next five years, Invest Ottawa will be using $16.9 million in federal funding to develop and grow eastern Ontario tech firms, with the goal of helping at least 10 of them achieve revenues of $100 million or more.

It's called the "Scale-up Platform" for tech companies.

When the government made the announcement in Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday, it said it expects the platform will help 30 Ontario companies, create 18,000 skilled jobs "and achieve revenues of $100 million or more by 2024."

To make it happen, three Ontario development firms are formalizing their relationships with each other to better share information and resources: Communitech in Kitchener, the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto and Invest Ottawa.

Invest Ottawa will be working with 10 regional partners — including post-secondary institutions, the Ottawa Hospital, Launch Lab in Kingston, Ont., and L-SPARK in Ottawa — to give companies in eastern Ontario:

  • Access to skilled workers.
  • Help to find investment capital.
  • Specialized market intelligence services.
  • Marketing and public relations services.
Kate Bueckert/CBC

"It includes things like coaching and mentoring services, as we normally do, but just more aggressively targeted at later-stage companies to help to achieve that overall goal of scale-up," Invest Ottawa president and CEO Michael Tremblay said in an interview Wednesday.

"These companies are all working with us, they've aggressively competing with one another to grow in scale, and they get more and more services and support as they do."

Say you're a company in the medical tech field, and you need regulatory approval to sell your product. It can be difficult for businesses to navigate that process, said Invest Ottawa's vice-president of strategy, marketing and communications, Sonya Shorey.

"We will now have the ability to help acquire very niche, specialized support to help companies with those scaling challenges," Shorey said. And in that situation, Invest Ottawa could also pull in experts at MaRS Discovery District, which has a lot of health care experience.

"Over five years, together with 10 partners, we'll really be harnessing and pulling together all of our strengths to make sure that we maximize every single program and service that we offer, and that the largest number of companies have the opportunity to benefit from what we are delivering," she added.