Canadian Manufacturing

Federal government invests $4.7M in ventureLAB

The Hardware Catalyst Initiative is Canada’s first state-of-the-art incubator in the hardware and semiconductor space.

March 5, 2021  by CM Staff

MARKHAM — On Mar. 5, Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion and MP for Markham–Thornhill, announced an additional FedDev Ontario investment of $4.7 million for Markham’s own ventureLAB to enhance its Hardware Catalyst Initiative Lab with virtual access and greater testing capabilities. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

The Hardware Catalyst Initiative is Canada’s first state-of-the-art incubator in the hardware and semiconductor space, funded through an initial $5-million non-repayable investment in 2019. Semiconductors are a critical component at the core of many emerging industries and innovations, ranging from electric vehicles, to robotics in precision agriculture, to 5G communications and mobile devices.

This additional investment will allow ventureLAB to purchase advanced computing infrastructure for the lab to virtualize equipment, which has become essential in the COVID-19 context. This will enable entrepreneurs from across Canada, including in rural regions, to utilize the platform remotely, expanding the reach of the Hardware Catalyst Initiative beyond the Greater Toronto Area. In addition, the Hardware Catalyst Initiative will purchase cutting-edge equipment (with a focus on 5G technologies, autonomous vehicles, and AI development) not currently available in Canada. Building more end-to-end capabilities to commercialize new hardware and semiconductor products domestically will encourage growing Canadian companies in this sector to keep operations in Canada.

The lab expansion will help to address the increasing demand for this specialized technology, which includes providing a Canadian-made solution to help meet global demand for microchips used by automotive and consumer electronics manufacturers. It will accelerate the growth of an additional 17 domestic hardware and semiconductor companies, support the commercialization of eight new products, and generate $7 million in new product sales, bringing the total number of companies supported through the FedDev Ontario investment in the Hardware Catalyst Initiative to 60. This investment will also leverage an additional $1.35 million in private investment and will create 35 skilled jobs.

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