Communitech is among four Waterloo Region technology accelerators in line for a multimillion-dollar boost from the federal government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced at the Communitech Hub today.
The funding, from the $100-million Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), is designed to help grow small- and medium-sized Canadian companies into thriving businesses that create jobs.
Communitech, in partnership with the University of Waterloo’s Velocity program, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Laurier LaunchPad and Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre, has “been chosen to advance in the selection process” for an unspecified amount of CAIP support, Harper said. The program, announced last year, allots up to $5 million over five years to each institution selected.
“It is critical for Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses to harness innovation and get their ideas to the marketplace so that they can grow, create jobs and contribute to the economy,” Harper said. “Accelerators and incubators have the experience, tools and know-how to help get small Canadian start-up businesses up and running.”
Communitech CEO Iain Klugman applauded the announcement, saying the entrepreneur-driven economy is responsible for creating some of Canada’s greatest companies.
“When we get behind entrepreneurs, they start great companies, they hire people, they create wealth and prosperity for the nation,” Klugman said. “Accelerators and incubators play a big role in this.”
In his first visit to the Communitech Hub, in which the Velocity Garage and Laurier LaunchPad are housed, Harper stopped to chat with startup entrepreneurs as he toured the 44,000-square-foot facility. He was accompanied by Waterloo Region MPs as well as Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), and greeted by several local dignitaries, including UW President Feridun Hamdullahpur.
After remarking that he had long been hearing great things about Waterloo Region’s innovation scene, Harper said, “It’s even more exciting in person.”
The Prime Minister also took time to pose for photos as he strolled through the Hub.
CAIP is administered by the Industrial Research Assistance Program of the National Research Council (NRC-IRAP), and is part of the government’s Venture Capital Action Plan.
Klugman said the action plan recognizes the importance of the entrepreneur-driven economy “by not only investing in venture capital, but also investing in institutions and organizations that support entrepreneurs across the country.”