How a Small Organization Teamed with IBM for Made-in-Canada Innovation

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It goes without saying: starting a business is tough, but growing a business is even harder.

A recent Harvard study states that 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail. Industry Canada estimates that 85 percent of Canadian businesses that enter the marketplace will reach one full year, while 70 percent will make it to two years and 51 percent will reach five years. What’s more, many entrepreneurs will invest their time and money into 1 to 3 startups throughout their careers.

It’s because of this competitive landscape that we at ventureLAB teamed up with IBM to drive made-in-Canada innovation so that we can help more startups scale up faster, and grow and compete globally.

ventureLAB is a not-for-profit innovation hub that helps entrepreneurs build high-growth, innovative, scalable businesses. We are dedicated to advancing innovation and supporting entrepreneurs to strengthen the Canadian economy by bringing together organizations that nurture startups and business development.

In collaboration with IBM and the government of Ontario, ventureLAB runs the IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre – a hub where organizations like ventureLAB, Markham Board of Trade, Innovation York, Seneca College and Markham Small Business Centre co-locate with innovative entrepreneurs to help them excel and grow, drive innovation and build a strong foundation for high value job creation.

Our ecosystem provides key services to small businesses like space, infrastructure, embedded executives, marketing, sales, and exports support, as well as technology tools in areas like cloud, analytics, cognitive computing, mobile, security and social. Together, IBM and ventureLAB are in a better position to support the development of business scale-up strategies and plans through various investments and collaboration with government, industry and academia. Developers and entrepreneurs have access to IBM’s latest cloud and cognitive technologies to help them incubate, innovate and commercialize ideas in key areas like healthcare, finance and manufacturing.

Take Studio1Labs, a member of the innovation hub that is analyzing and driving insights from data collected from bed sheet sensors to help monitor and predict clinical emergencies like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) for babies and infants. Because of collaborative opportunities at the IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre, the startup has aligned with York University to begin clinical trials.

There’s also Peytec, a startup that uses IBM Cloud to support the company’s Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions to provide real-time physical asset management in industrial sectors for improving and automating supply chain, packaging, warehousing, and distribution processes in manufacturing and logistics sectors. Co-locating in the IBM Innovation Space-Markham Convergence Centre has afforded Peytec opportunities and connections to partners that would not have been possible without this collaborative space.

Investing in entrepreneurship is more than just starting a company. It’s about providing the necessary resources to grow, commercialize and sustain small businesses so that they can reach global markets faster and with longer duration. It includes recognizing specific needs, creating innovative solutions, and finding the right technologies to carry out unique visions. Quite simply, it’s about turning an idea into a reality.

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