Showing posts from September, 2013

RIM was the Beatles of Waterloo's tech sector, but not its foundation

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that—according to the recently-released 2011 National Household Survey—the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo census metro area (CMA) had passed the Ottawa CMA for percentage of residents working in software & IT & computer and communications manufacturing. I noted that a lot of that was due to RIM/BlackBerry, and that becomes clear if you back out the communications equipment manufacturing component.

According to the NHS, KCW (not exactly the same as Waterloo Region, but close) had 40% of all communications equipment manufacturing workers in Ontario—that is, people working in any role for companies in the communications equipment manufacturing sector.

That's really an amazing number. There are very few sectors where the Toronto CMA wasn't in top place for total numbers, which is what you'd expect from a region that comprises 44% of Ontario's population. It was even number one among CMAs and CAs for farm workers. But not only was communi…

Highlights of Ontario innovation payments, FY2013

The Public Accounts of Ontario for fiscal year 2013 (ended March 31) were released last week, giving us our only detailed breakdown of the money spent by the government over the last year. Federal disclosures are more timely and thorough than provincial, with federal ministries and agencies required to disclose transfer payments of $25,000 or more every quarter. The cutoff for Ontario's public accounts is $120,000, so any payments by the provincial government below that amount aren't specified.

Some of the disclosed transfer payments to organizations supporting innovation (these are all from the Ministry of Research and Innovation—which was part of the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation at the time—unless otherwise noted):

Ontario Centres Of Excellence (OCE)$34,063,733Ontario Capital Growth Corporation $18,000,000MaRS Discovery District$17,584,660Communitech $10,441,690MaRS Discovery District [MCYS]$10,000,000MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund $8,375,000Vineland Rese…

Big Viking, Fongo, Aeryon, Rebellion among IRAP Q1 contributions

IRAP-backed projects have traditionally been a great way to find companies doing innovative things across a wide range of sectors—and in big urban, small urban, and rural areas. In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, Ontario Drive and Gear and Biorem received the largest IRAP contributions among Southwestern Ontario companies. Both have a track record of working with IRAP, as does Aeryon Labs, which received the third-largest contribution across the region.

London's Big Viking Games, Waterloo's Fongo, and Waterloo's Rebellion Media Group all received their first disclosed IRAP contributions in the quarter. Veteran Waterloo Region tech companies Campana Systems, Virtek, and Huron Technologies (formerly Biomedical Photometrics) were also among Q1 recipients.

Disclosed IRAP contributions in Southwestern Ontario, Q1 FY2014:

Ontario Drive And Gear (ODG)New Hamburg$249,565Biorem TechnologiesGuelph$202,500Aeryon LabsWaterloo$149,993Hauser IndustriesWaterloo$99,900Xtivity

$12.6M for Windsor airport tops Q1 FedDev contributions

Southwestern Ontario received the biggest FedDev contribution in the first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year, with $12.6 million awarded to the Windsor airport—Your Quick Gateway (Windsor) Inc.—through the Prosperity Initiative program. The funding closed in April.

Across the region, most of the FedDev fundings in the quarter were for municipal infrastructure and the annual funding for the regional CFDC offices. There was no direct funding for any other businesses.

The other funding of note was $367,500 to Guelph-based Bioenterprise through the Scientists and Engineers in Business program, which has now committed all of its funds. That program helps STEM grads build business skills and launch startups.