I am really excited today because I am heading down to Waterloo to open the first Microsoft Innovation Centre in Canada. Our good friends at Infusion Angels teamed up with us on this one. The Infusion Angels Innovation Centre is located in the very cool Accelerator Centre in the research park at the U of Waterloo.
Why open this? Simple: 1) To help drive innovation in Canada 2) to give entrepreneurs a place to come and get support in developing their software ideas 3) to better connect with the Waterloo area.
Canada needs to pick up the pace when it comes to IT sector innovations and what better place to drive some momentum than in the heart of Canada's hottest high-tech community?!
I will be blogging from the event all day so stay tuned.
For now - here is the official press release going out today.
Microsoft Canada and Infusion Angels Open Innovation Centre in Waterloo, ON
Waterloo, ON – Infusion Angels, a Toronto-based “angel” investment firm, and Microsoft Canada Co. have launched Canada’s first entrepreneur-focused Innovation Centre in Waterloo, ON. The Infusion Angels Innovation Centre (IAIC) aims to foster economic growth in Canada by providing students and entrepreneurs with the critical resources needed to take their ideas, concepts and solutions to market.
The IAIC will be housed at the Waterloo Research & Technology Park Accelerator Centre, a not-for-profit corporation that provides facilities and support services to technology entrepreneurs looking to accelerate the commercialization of their innovative product or service.
The IAIC will offer an advanced learning environment, providing students and local entrepreneurs with a variety of resources including open access to the latest technologies from Microsoft, Dell and Intel, and a comprehensive training curriculum on topics relating to technology, business and entrepreneurship.
“As a University of Waterloo graduate and someone who founded a company made up predominantly of UW Alumni, I know that UW produces many of Canada’s brightest, most innovative and entrepreneurial minds,” said Alim Somani, Partner of Infusion Angels. “Through the IAIC we want to support those people and enable them to turn their ideas into prototypes and their prototypes into thriving Canadian businesses.”
The IAIC offers Canadian entrepreneurs the opportunity to experiment first hand with next-generation Microsoft technologies. Entrepreneurs may book time through the center’s on-line reservation system or simply walk in to the Centre for a three hour exploration session. Visitors may work under the guidance of an onsite technical director or by leveraging official Microsoft training materials as their guide. Infusion Angels, Microsoft and other partners will staff the centre on a daily basis to assist users. (For reservations go to http://ic.infusionangels.com/Pages/Labs.aspx)
Beyond tailored benefits to entrepreneurs, each Microsoft-sponsored Innovation Centre seeks to build the strength of the local software economy by bringing entrepreneurs, academics, and government together to tackle the shared goal of building a strong software economy that will foster innovation and lead to more prosperous communities and a more competitive nation.
“The innovation centre concept is one Microsoft supports around the world, and one that we have worked hard to bring to Canada for some time,” said Mark Relph, Vice President of Developer & Platform Evangelism Group Microsoft Canada. “Microsoft is committed to initiatives that foster innovation and have a positive impact on the local software economy. What sets IAIC apart is that we’re combining the idea of technical innovation with the reality of launching new businesses.”
The IAIC also offers an extensive curriculum including regular on-site training sessions spanning a number of different topics relating to technology and entrepreneurship. Session formats include:
· Technology Briefings -- subject-matter experts deliver a high-level briefing about a specific technology or framework.
· Crash Courses – technical trainers coach attendees through a series of hands-on, interactive labs on a particular technology.
· Business Track Sessions -- experienced entrepreneurs provide the knowledge and soft skills, which are essential to succeeding as an entrepreneur in today’s marketplace.
· Webcasts -- online versions of Technology Briefings, where participants from around the world can join over the internet via Live Meeting.
All sessions are open to the public and are free of charge.
Infusion angels will provide funding and incubation services for select entrepreneurs who have developed a sound concept and wish to take their businesses to the next level; in this way the IAIC hopes to help further position Canada as a global leader in the area of technical innovation and entrepreneurship.
“This is something that we’ve wanted to do for a long time; to create a community, a gathering place for local entrepreneurs from the University of Waterloo”, said Gregory Brill, Partner of Infusion Angels, “I think I speak for both Infusion Angels and Microsoft when I say and I can’t wait to see the centre help local entrepreneurs thrive and grow businesses.”
For more information regarding the Infusion Angels Innovation Centre, sponsored by Microsoft please visit: http://iaic.infusionangels.com