Federal government invests more than $50 million in MaRS, Invest Ottawa, Communitech to help startups

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government is investing more than $50 million CAD over five years to “bring together” Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, Ottawa’s Invest Ottawa and Waterloo’s Communitech to create the new ‘Scale-Up Platform.’

Trudeau made the announcement at a press conference in Waterloo where he said that the government was “stepping up” and providing this investment so that the companies will offer different services such as market access, finding the right talent and raising capital.

A breakdown of the money is as follows: Communitech will receive $18 million, MaRS Discovery District will receive $17.5 million, and Invest Ottawa will receive $16.9 million.

The new Scale-Up platform will “leverage” the respective skills from these companies to help 30 tech companies in Southern Ontario grow and achieve revenues of $100 million CAD by 2024.

The money will also be put towards offering programs to get local companies to take off and to help startups and provide the support they need to grow overall.

“When it comes to innovation, Canada is home to countless success stories. We have all the right ingredients to lead the future of technology,” Trudeau said. “This is great news for the sector but also the entire community. When it comes to innovation we can’t afford to get complacent.”

Innovation Minister says 30 companies will be selected by innovation hubs

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains told MobileSyrup said he was at MaRS this afternoon to reiterate the announcement and that the vibe was very positive.

“The mood was very positive, people were very excited because there’s a great deal of alignment with what MaRS is doing and what the government is doing to scale up companies,” he said in a phone interview, adding that he spoke with many individuals that were present at the event who are trying to grow and scale up their own companies.

“There were a lot of people from the local ecosystem as well and that’s what we want to create, we want to create momentum around an innovation hub that exists around MaRS, Communitech and Invest Ottawa, and focus on companies that have growth potential that can scale up,” he said. “It means more jobs will be created, more IP will be generated and more benefits to Canadians.”

With respect to the 30 companies that will grow and achieve revenues, Bains said the three innovation hubs will choose them based on market forces and the companies’ interactions within the innovation hubs.

“They’ll make the determinations, they feel confident and they have a business plan that the investment will create those added 18,000 high-quality jobs by 2024,” he said, adding that while 30 specific companies will get massive growth revenues, 900 companies overall will benefit from the help the innovation hubs intend to provide.

Update 16/04/19: The article was updated with comments provided by the Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains.