NEXT Canada expands accelerator program to Montreal, joins SCALE.AI as one of its first Ontarian partners

After the announcement from the Canadian government last week that the SCALE.AI supply chain supercluster had been selected to receive a part of the $950 million supercluster initiative, NEXT Canada has announced it will be one of the Montreal-based supercluster’s first Ontario partners.

The supercluster initiative was first announced in the government’s federal budget last year, with the national shortlisted consortia announced last October. At the time of its announcement, it called on SMBs and SMEs, not-for-profits, and research institutions to work together to spur innovation in certain sectors.

“NEXT Canada is a critical partner in the SCALE.AI supercluster initiative,” said Hélène Desmarais, Chairman of the Board and CEO, CEIM and Co-Chair SCALE.AI. “They have a terrific model and a proven track record of supporting high potential entrepreneurs. The NextAI accelerator program is a shining example of how to connect talent to the marketplace, increasing the adoption of built-in-Canada technology.”

The government hopes to create 50,000 middle-class jobs by investing in superclusters, growing Canada’s economy by $50 billion over the next 10 years.

“I want to congratulate Hélène and her colleagues at SCALE.AI for building a consortium of incredible partners,” said Sheldon Levy, CEO of NEXT Canada. “By harnessing Canada’s preeminent research capabilities and sizeable talent pool, SCALE.AI and NEXT Canada will work together to fuel economic growth and increase the health and vitality of communities across the country. NEXT Canada is thrilled to strengthen our footprint in Quebec and deliver our programming in Montreal, one of the global hotbeds for artificial intelligence.”

The partnership will also involve the expansion of NEXT’s NextAI venture accelerator program to Montreal. NEXT Canada will announce the timing and other details of its NextAI – Montreal program in the coming weeks.

READ ALSO: NEXT Canada opens applications for Next Founders to help 20 promising founders scale their startups

 The Next Founders program is a tailored education program that brings together 20 founders from across Canada to work with key Canadian investors and business leaders. Eligible companies will also have access to $30,000 of non-dilutive funding.Since its launch in 2010, NEXT Canada ventures have created over 1,300 jobs in Canada. Alumni of the Founders program include Nymi, which has raised more than $32 million for its biometric wristband; and inkbox, whose semi-permanent tattoos have inked customers in 154 countries.

The 2018 program in Toronto will build on the successful founder development model of years past, and will include sessions on: venture capital and fundraising in Canada, non-dilutive funding options, how to scale your business as told by entrepreneurs who have done it, storytelling, startup PR, attracting top talent, startup legal, and more. Applications for the 2018 program are currently open until March 20th.

The expansion of the program to Quebec is NEXT Canada’s first physical presence outside Ontario, strengthening interprovincial cooperation on AI initiatives.




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