Today, China’s Zhongguancun Development Group officially opened its International Incubation Centre in Ottawa, in association with Invest Ottawa.
Four Ottawa-based companies—GREenergyTEC, iNano Medical, Viscore and CanShielding—will receive additional funding, training, and mentorship opportunities aimed at helping them succeed in doing business with the world’s fastest growing economy. These businesses were among 40 companies vying for a spot in the incubation centre.
“The ZDG Incubation Centre will help these four companies fast-track their technologies, and get a leg-up on their international competitors by having better access to the Chinese market,” said Invest Ottawa CEO Bruce Lazenby. “The fact that ZDG sees Ottawa on par with Silicon Valley speaks to the strength of our high tech companies and of their remarkable capacity for innovation.”
ZDG indicated it is negotiating an investment of $1 million with iNano Medical. The company is developing technologies to help optometrists screen for and diagnose glaucoma—an eye condition that, if not treated, can lead to blindness.
ZDG officials spoke Wednesday morning at a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of the ZDG International Incubation Centre, located within the Invest Ottawa headquarters at 80 Aberdeen Street.
“This year marks the 15th anniversary of the sister city agreement between Beijing and Ottawa, and this is another important milestone in our relationship together,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “This new incubation centre provides a bridge to the booming Chinese economy by directly linking local Ottawa businesses with a key international market.”
Following ZDG’s announcement in December 2012 that it had chosen Ottawa as the site for its second North American incubator, Mayor Watson led an Invest Ottawa mission to Beijing in October 2013, where an incubation services agreement was signed with the Chinese state-owned enterprise.
ZDG has made equity investments in more than 80 companies and projects, and has plans to invest up to $1.5 billion in the next four years.