IBM has a plan to keep companies in Canada, help them grow and commercialize internationally. A major component of that plan is the company’s Innovation Space announced today in Toronto.
“I want these companies to stay in Canada. I want jobs. I want to create businesses,” Dino Trevisani, President of IBM Canada, told TechPORTFOLIO in an interview at the company’s launch. “Companies don’t have to go to Silicon Valley. They don’t have to sell themselves. IBM as a multinational corporation can give them access to markets.”
Companies in IBM’s Innovation Space will be offered advice, mentoring, support services, education, and legal counsel, as well as technical capacity and infrastructure.
“The government is doing their job – they’re investing,” said Trevisani. “Academia is doing their job. Now, private sector multinationals that can give access for commercialization for these startups is what it’s all about. If we’re going to grow, we need companies to grow here. We don’t need them to develop great technologies and leave.”
IBM’s Innovation Space was set up with $24.75 million of investment by IBM Canada and $22.75 million investment by Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund.
“We’re putting our technologies in at universities and the government is helping,” said Trevisani. “It’s great innovation but we need to give them a reason to stay [in Canada].”
Toronto was picked as a location for the innovation hub because of its infrastructure and established talent. “Tech companies want to be close to transit,” said Trevisani. “Close to universities where there are sources of skilled workers.”
But Toronto is not the only focus for IBM, as Trevisani pointed out initiatives underway in throughout Ontario and other provinces.
“We’re not branding this so we can get some kind of value for IBM,” said Trevisani. “We’re partnering with MaRS, with OCE and all other incubators. We want to be an impetus for growth and support for that marketplace and for that incubator innovation market.”
More info about the IBM Innovation Space can be found in our coverage of today’s launch.