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Scarborough City Centre : Innovation + Job News

7 Scarborough City Centre Articles | Page:

Ontario spending $6.8m on campus-based accelerator programs

The provincial government continues to unroll elements of its youth jobs strategy. The latest announcement came recently from Reza Moridi, minister of research and innovation. The program is called Campus-Linked Accelerators (CLAs), and the goal is to help student entrepreneurs "harness their ideas, their vision and their enthusiasm and turn them into jobs for today and for tomorrow," he said in a statement outlining the initiative.

CLAs will provide funding to select post-secondary institutions across Ontario t"o create, improve and sustain a culture of entrepreneurship among students and youth in their regions, and to integrate these entrepreneurial activities with investors, industry, and other stakeholders in their region. The Toronto-area institutions to receive funding under the program:
  • The University of Toronto, which will receive just over $3 million in funding over two years. That money will be distributed across the university's existing accelerator programs: the Creative Destruction Lab (Rotman School of Management); the Hatchery (at the faculty of applied science and engineering); the Impact Centre (based in the faculty of arts and science); and UTEST (the university's Innovation and Partnerships Office). U of T’s Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will also be involved, coordinating efforts at the three different campuses.
  • Centennial College, which is partnering with ventureLAB (a non-profit regional innovation centre). Their goal is to help support the creation of 60 businesses in the coming two years, and they will be focusing their work on several priority neighbourhoods within Toronto, to try to reach youth who might not have ready access to accelerator opportunities otherwise.
  • Ryerson University is receiving $2 million from the CLA program, and will use the money to support existing entrepreneurial programs, as well as to create "new learning zones includ[ing] the Design and Fabrication Zone, focusing on early stage design and technology; a zone in the new Student Learning Centre; and the Biomedical Zone, to be formed in partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital."
  • OCAD University, which is getting nearly $1 million to support its entrepreneurship and commercialization hub, called the Imagination Catalyst. (As we reported this spring, the Imagination Catalyst also includes a specific stream for social enterprise.)

Across the province the government is planning to put a total of $20 million into CLA programs over the next two years.

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Ministry of Research and Innovation, University of Toronto, Centennial College, Ryerson University, OCAD University

Following $25M provincial investment, Cisco will hire 150 R&D staff in Toronto over 5 years

Cisco is out recruiting 100 graduate-level engineering staff right now as part of a five-year expansion of R&D at its two Toronto locations and its location in Ottawa.

"We'd like to bring in as many people as quickly as we can," says Paul Howarth, the company's director of strategic initiatives. "We're out on campus now, hiring up to 100 people for this year."

In a recent announcement, the provincial government heralded its investment of $25 million in Cisco under a memorandum of understanding signed last year. The agreement will see 300 new jobs created in Ontario—a doubling of Cisco's R&D staff—with roughly half of those new hires working in the company's Scarborough and Liberty Village offices, according to Howarth. The move is a bounce back for Cisco, which had trimmed its Canadian workforce by five per cent last year as it focussed on its core activities in response to the global economic downturn.

Howarth says that the investment from the province is a key factor in the multinational company's decision to expand here. The favourable corporate tax regime alongside Ontario's stable economy are also factors.

"Aside from that, the key thing is access to talent. Toronto is a hotbed for software development. It may not be well known as such, but it is," he says, citing the concentration of top-tier universities in the area.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Paul Howarth, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Cisco

Scarborough's Pond Biofuels will hire 10 in pilot to turn emissions into fuel

The Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation announced last week that it would help Scarborough innovators Pond Biofuels hire 10 new staff to demonstrate their technology. Pond takes industrial smokestack emissions and converts them into algae that can then be converted into diesel fuel. According to Pond, one tonne of algae can produce 100 litres of diesel, while the residual matter can be used as a coal substitute. The process cuts an industrial plant's carbon emissions while simultaneously producing fuel.

The process, with help from a grant from the provincial government's Innovation Demonstration Fund, is currently being piloted at a test with St. Mary's Cement in Bowmanville to convert smokestack emissions. Pond anticipates rolling out a full-scale plant in about two year.

In a statement, Pond CEO Steven Martin said that the collaboration with St. Mary's Cement and the provincial government would pay dividends that extend to other sectors. "Going forward, Pond's made-in-Ontario technology can be applied to other essential industries, like steel, power generation and resource extraction."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Andrew Block, Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation; Corporate Affairs, Pond Biofuels 

SunEdison announces 400 new GTA solar energy jobs

Rapidly growing local solar energy company SunEdison, a subsidiary of the international conglomerate MEMC Electronic Materials, has announced a deal to increase production of solar panels at the Flextronics facility in York Region. The increased production sees Flextronics physically expand their plant and hire 400 new staff to meet demand.

Jason Gray, SunEdison's Canadian manager, says that with this announcement, his company has been involved in creating between 800 and 950 green energy jobs in the solar industry in the GTA within the past two years. That includes a growth at the company's head office from two to 50 staff over that time, as well as the creation of 100 new jobs building racking equipment at the Samco facility in Scarborough.

"A lot of our investment here has been spurred by the [locally manufacturing requirements] Ontario government's Feed-in-Tarrif program," Gray says, "But Ontario has a long history of manufacturing, so it makes a lot of sense that the region is able to leverage that existing strength."

Gray says that right now most of the increased production capacity at these plants where SunEdison has created increased opportunities will serve the company's local projects, but that in the long term, such production experience and capability will create excellent potential for a green energy export industry.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Jason Gray, VP and Canadian Country Manager, SunEdison

US retail giant expands into the GTA with 3 locations

Hot Topic, the US retail giant that mixes fast fashion with pop culture through inexpensive licensed band, video and television merchandise, has begun its expansion into Canada with three stores in the GTA.

The move is being celebrated today (Aug. 25) with an event at the Scarborough Town Centre location that opened Aug. 13, featuring an appearance by the Grammy-nominated band Disturbed. A location at the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga also opened Aug. 13, and a further location Mapleview Shopping Centre at in Burlington is set to open in October.

The new locations and the company's stated plan for broader expansion in the GTA and Canada will create jobs, though a representative said that the company is unwilling to discuss specific numbers and corporate strategy at this point.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Winston Ma of Lotus Leaf Communications for Hot Topic

Attention job seekers and employers: job fair in Scarbrough March 11

The unemployed and those looking to put them to work are both invited to the Centennial College Job Fair 2010 on March 11. The fair, to be held at the College's Student Residence and Conference Centre, is hosted by the employment consulting firm NAPP.

NAPP Director Rita Persaud says that the event is ideal for pretty much anyone who needs work: "new Canadians, the downsized, mothers who have been out of the workforce, people looking to change careers -- anyone really who is looking for new opportunities."

The organization is also still accepting registrations from employers to exhibit at the fair. Ideally, Persaud says, employers would have at least three job openings available, but in this economic climate they will consider anyone looking to hire. Persaud says roughly 80 per cent of exhibitors are direct employers, while the remaining 20 per cent is comprised of government programs, agencies and certification organizations that might help job seekers connect with work.

Those already registered to exhibit at the fair include Peel Regional Police, RBC Insurance, Sedna Globe, VPi and Devik Pharma.

The fair runs from 10am to 3pm March 11 at 940 Progress Road in Scarborough.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Rita Persaud, Director, NAPP

Cycling innovators vroomen.white.design take Canadian Innovation Award for manufacturer of the year

Fifteen years ago, Toronto engineers Phil White and Gerard Vroomen of vroomen.white.design began designing and manufacturing racing bicycles under the brand name Cervelo. Today, still owned by White and Vroomen, North York-based Cervelo is the world's largest manufacturer of time trial and triathalon bikes, with Tour de France and Iron Man trialthalon victories and Olympic gold medals won on its bicycles.

Last week, Vroomen and White were honoured at the Canadian Innovation Awards as Canadian Manufacturer of the Year in recognition of their world-leading technology and innovative leadership.

According to the company, Cervelo was founded in a pure quest for innovations that would lead to racing excellence. "We wanted something that was unbeatable in aerodynamics yet sacrificed nothing in weight or stiffness, and unfettered by issues of marketability," reads a company history on its website. Today, with eight engineers in its employ and selling more than 10,000 units per year, the same spirit is visible in their philosophy. "We apologize in advance if our ads look like they were written by engineers," they write. "We figured you would rather read an ad designed by an engineer than ride a bike designed by the marketing department."

Currently most of Cervelo's manufacturing takes place in Asia, but recently White told the Toronto Star that they intend to begin manufacturing bikes at their North York facility within the next two years.

Four other Ontario companies were honoured at the Canadian Innovation Awards, including Scarborough Tim Hortons franchisee Megleen Inc, who won the Canadian Innovation Award for Innovator of the Year.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Cevelo, Toronto Star
7 Scarborough City Centre Articles | Page:
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