Kitchener-Waterloo startup hub Communitech just hit the jackpot, in the form of a $15 million investment over three years from Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced the government’s commitment as part of today’s mid-year economic outlook and fiscal review.
“To encourage entrepreneurial activities, we will continue to invest in organizations like Communitech, a Waterloo-based innovation hub, to help turn more Ontario technology companies into global leaders,” said Sousa during today’s speech in the Ontario legislature. The Liberals were attacked by their political foes to the left and right, labelled as “reckless”.
Sousa was also in the Kitchener-Waterloo area in September, when he toured the Communitech facility and met with entrepreneurs from Waterloo Region.
In a statement Communitech said the announcement comes at a “critical time for the Waterloo Region tech community,” referencing BlackBerry’s recent struggles and how it is “shedding talent”.
“Communitech is working to help those professionals launch new ventures or find work elsewhere in the Region or within the province, to ensure the continued vitality of the technology economy in Ontario,” it wrote.
Welcoming the news, Communitech CEO Iain Klugman said ”Communitech is proud to be a partner in the Ontario Innovation Agenda. This additional support will help us to expand programming at the Communitech Hub to meet the significant demand for startup assistance and support Ontario firms as they scale.”
The privince also recently allocated tax-payer money to an innovation complex in Ottawa as well.
The Liberal’s economic outlook spells out a new three-part plan that aims to create jobs and support economic growth. The three priorities are investment in people, building modern infrastructure and supporting a dynamic and innovative business climate. It also highlights Waterloo Region along with Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area as the primary hubs along the information and communications technology (ICT) corridor for the Province.
Founded by a group of entrepreneurs in 1997, Communitech is Waterloo Region’s hub for the commercialization of innovative technologies. Over the years, it’s helped build a tech cluster of nearly 1,000 companies that now generates more than $30 billion in revenue.
“At Communitech, we support tech companies at all stages of their growth and development—from startups to rapidly-growing mid-size companies, and large global players—to create greater numbers of successful global businesses for Ontario and Canada.”
Photo from the Toronto Star