Ryerson University today announced that it has formed a new collaboration with Prince Edward/Lennox & Addington Community Futures Development Corporation (PELA CFDC), First Stone Venture Partners (FSVP), and the Eastern Ontario Regional Network (EORN) to promote research and technological innovation, attract and accelerate start ups and advance economic development in Prince Edward and Lennox & Addington Counties and the Eastern Ontario Region broadly.
The collaboration brings together the expertise of Ryerson in entrepreneurship and its support of company creation, as well as leading research into bridging the gap between innovation and adoption with Eastern Ontario’s top public and private organizations who are already driving economic growth and entrepreneurship through investments, training, incubation of start-ups and the promotion of diversification of the region through growth of tech-focused companies.
“PELA CFDC and the new Upper Canada Equity Fund is proud to partner with Ryerson University, EORN and First Stone Venture Partners in this exciting new collaboration that will advance innovation, research and investment in our community,” said Debra Marshall, chair of the Upper Canada Equity Fund. “Ryerson University is a world leader in entrepreneurial innovation and support and we look forward to growing our relationship in the years to come.”
Immediately following the announcement, a matchmaking and pitch session is being hosted by Ryerson at its DMZ for a dozen tech-based start-ups and PELA CFDC and First Stone Venture Partners. The types of start-ups are diverse, ranging from online services and platforms to mobile technologies, security and automation and knowledge management with the goal of identifying possible investment, incubation and mentorship of some of these start-ups in Prince Edward/Lennox & Addington.
Mauro Lollo, President of Canada’s first rural venture fund was at Ryerson for the announcement. “First Stone Venture Partners was founded by serial entrepreneurs who understand the challenges of creating success, often with only ideas and effort,” said Lollo, President, First Stone Venture Partners. “Our vision is to create sustainable ecosystems for innovative start-ups in non-urban communities by investing in entrepreneurial talent and innovative ideas. Our unique investment and support strategy nurtures and accelerates early-stage companies while helping to diversify local economies for the long-term benefit of our communities and country. We're exceptionally pleased to partner with Ryerson, PELA CFDC and EORN in driving future opportunities and success.”
“Strengthening regional or rural technological innovation and their connection to other national or international markets is an important step in narrowing Canada’s innovation gap and promoting economic development,” said Wendy Cukier, vice-president Research and Innovation, Ryerson University. “Understanding the demand and application side of innovation and its impacts is also vital if we are to realize the transformational potential of emerging technologies. Ryerson is pleased to partner with PELA CFDC, First Stone Venture Partners and EORN and this collaboration will strengthen the innovation ecosystem of region.”
“EORN is excited about the potential of this new collaboration agreement with PELA CFDC, the Upper Canada Equity Fund; Ryerson University, and First Stone Venture Partners,” said David Fell, CEO of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network. “This project will leverage the entrepreneurial and research expertise of Ryerson University to help us increase the scale and scope of the start-up and innovation ecosystem in Eastern Ontario.”
While this collaboration is new, all partners have expertise in advancing economic development and contributing to innovation and have partnered together previously. Over the last two years, FSVP and PELA CFDC have a successful track record of investment that productizes and commercializes and takes to market globally competitive products and services including one of Ryerson’s DMZ companies Komodo Open Labs. Ryerson and EORN have also worked together through Ryerson’s Magnet program, which helps in matching companies to the best skilled talent. These partners and their programs have also been previously recognized and supported by government partners such as FedDev Ontario and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities.
PELA CFDC is a community-based, not-for-profit corporation whose objective is to encourage local entrepreneurship and economic development in Prince Edward/Lennox & Addington counties through the provision of business loans, equity investments, grants, training and incubation of start-ups.
FSVP is a venture partnership founded and funded by successful entrepreneurs whose goal is to encourage the establishment of technology-based innovation in rural communities and who have established a 28,000 sq. ft. incubator in Picton, ON to support the growth of tech start-ups in the region.
EORN was established by the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus to increase the availability of bandwidth to homes and businesses in Eastern Ontario, and to encourage the diversification of the region through the growth of technology based companies.