New funding for tech start-ups in Ontario

The Ontario government has announced plans for a four-year $46million program that will help new companies develop cutting-edgetechnologies to fuel the economy and create jobs for Ontariofamilies, according to provincial officials.

The program — dubbed Market Readiness — is part of Ontario’s$160 million Ideas to Market strategy that will provide financial support, training and managementexpertise.

“What (our) research tells us is a lot of start-up companies intheir early stages often fail because of lack of business acumen orfinancing,” said Perry Blocher, senior media and communicationsadvisor, Ministry of Research and Innovation.

According to the Ministry’s Web site its goal is to “unlock thecreative potential in every person, institution and company acrossthe province and help Ontario become a place that is more willingto take the innovative leaps that lead to the next wirelessbreakthrough, cancer treatment or fuel cell technology.”

The market readiness program is a step towards meeting theMinistry’s mandate and is a way for the Ministry to provide aninfrastructure and means to help companies accelerate bringingtheir ideas to the marketplace, according to Blocher.

“This government is committed to providing an infrastructure tohelp make that happen and be successful,” he said. “If companiesare successful, that benefits the entire province because of thehigh paying jobs and economic spin-offs.”

The program is about the imagination and vitality of the peoplein Ontario and moving their ideas and nurturing those ideas,Blocher said.

“Whatever they feel is lacking in the marketplace or is a newidea that can benefit society, we are not about restricting thoseideas but embracing new ones — whatever they may be,” he said.

To help deliver the program to technology researchers andcompanies in the province, the Ministry has teamed up with the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and the MaRS Discovery District.

The OCE taps the potential of Ontario universities and researchhospitals to act as generators of innovation, while MaRS isdedicated to accelerating the commercialization of new ideas andtechnologies.

No formal details on how the program will be delivered have beenannounced.

“It’s very much in development,” said Shawn Murray,spokesperson, Ontario Centres for Excellence. “We are working onhow this funding is going to be allocated and we hope to havesomething to announce in early fall.”

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