Ontario Centres of Excellence marked another year as Ontario’s leading innovation to commercialization organization at its Annual General Meeting on Oct. 29, 2013.
Held at Toronto's Design Exchange, this year's AGM was the tenth since OCE became an incorporated entity. It also served to highlight another record year for OCE in terms of investments, companies served, jobs created and overall success.
The event featured a showcase of 17 OCE-supported companies and the awarding of its prestigious Martin Walmsley Fellowship for Technological Entrepreneurship
(to Richard Beal of COFOVO Energy, Christina Mueller of Insight Nanofluidics and Ali Morbi of GaitTronics) and Mind to Market award to Ottawa’s Fluidware and Algonquin College.
OCE Board Chair Michael Nobrega praised the dedication and hard work of the OCE team, its government and academic partners, and all the creative minds that contribute to strengthening innovation and job creation in Ontario.
“OCE is an extraordinary delivery organization that champions innovation and supports the entrepreneurs and creative minds that make innovation happen,” said Mr. Nobrega.
He said OCE is also practicing what it preaches and is forging new alliances at the national level with Quebec and Alberta and internationally with Chinese investment firm HanHai Investments.
Mr. Nobrega noted the OCE Board has some “highly impressive long term outcomes”. Through partnerships, follow-on and in-kind support, the board has targeted overall investment in OCE companies at $500 million over the next three years.
OCE president and CEO Dr. Tom Corr highlighted the results of the past year noting that:
This year 2,563 jobs were created or sustained in industry as a direct result of OCE-funded projects. This is the highest in OCE history and a 43 per cent increase over last year.
More than 400 start-ups were established through OCE programs including our Experiential Learning Program.
Nearly $70 million was leveraged in investment – about 75 per cent of that from industry – making it the highest in OCE history.
Investors placed $77 million in follow-on investment in OCE funded companies last year.
Since OCE was incorporated ten years ago, our OCE funded companies have attracted cumulative follow on investment of close to $1.1 billion.
In addition to being one of great success, Dr. Corr said this past year has been one of great, positive change with the introduction of the Collaboration Voucher Program
to OCE’s suite of programs and the integration of the Colleges Ontario Network for Industry Innovation (CONII) into OCE and building on the high performance computing initiative in partnership with IBM and seven Ontario Universities among other programs.
Also on-hand for the event was Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi.
He praised OCE for its banner year.
“It’s a proud achievement,” Minister Moridi said. “It also sets a new standard that I know you’ll be inspired to beat. And you are in a great position to do so — because OCE and its partners are creating so many creative, inclusive and successful programs. OCE, together with their partners, has shown great flexibility and creativity in widening the reach of its programs and meeting Ontario priorities.”