Funding to ‘catapult’ tech companies to global stage

A leading technology hub in Markham is receiving new government funding to expand the country’s first hardware and semiconductor-focused lab and incubator.

ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative (HCI) will receive $4.73 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) – a move that promises to bring emerging tech companies in Southern Ontario a step closer to becoming competitors in the $7-trillion global semiconductor market.

The funding comes as manufacturers sound the alarm about a global shortage of chips, which are required to drive innovation in the global economy, including next-generation electric vehicles, robotics in precision agriculture, 5G communications and mobile devices. ring

“The global shortage of chips represents a major opportunity for Canada,” says Melissa Chee, President and CEO, ventureLAB. “A made-in-Canada semiconductor supply chain is required to catapult Canada to the forefront of global innovation to create supply chain resiliency and high-value tech and manufacturing capacity.”

The HCI was born out of the need to meet increasing global demand for chips, sensors and related products. Its lab has doubled in size since it was launched in February 2020. A growing global network of private sector industry partners – including AMD, TSMC, Arm, Silicon Catalyst, Synopsys and Keysight – have contributed equipment, design tools, prototype capabilities, manufacturing capacity, technical expertise and advanced computing to enable a new generation of founders to commercialize their products and scale their companies.

A second cohort of HCI companies includes Braze Mobility, a navigation solution for wheelchair users that automatically detects obstacles and provides intuitive audio, visual and vibration alerts to the wheelchair driver. In addition to mentorship from global tech leaders, the eight companies selected will use the specialized equipment and industry expertise to realize their ideas and bring their products to market in an accelerated manner.

“By virtualizing the HCI Lab, Canadian businesses across Canada will be able to fully access the program, encouraging widespread growth in the hardware industry,” says Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion and Member of Parliament for Markham–Thornhill.


Photo: ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative (HCI) will receive $4.73 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Photo courtesy of ventureLAB.

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