Sponsorships boost budgets of Invest Ottawa, innovation centre by $1.3M

Innovation Centre
The Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards.

The Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards has received a $1.3-million boost to help fund services such as a state-of-the-art makerspace that was unveiled last week.

The funding, which will be spread over the next three years, comes from eight public- and private-sector sponsors. They include Algonquin College, professional services firm BDO, the Business Development Bank of Canada, CIBC, technology firm Flex, consulting company I4C, RBC and Rogers.

Part of the money will go to Invest Ottawa, the new facility’s main tenant, although officials could not immediately provide an exact breakdown of how much each organization will receive. Invest Ottawa CEO Michael Tremblay said the new injection of cash will provide a “material” increase to the agency’s annual $10-million budget.

The boards of the two organizations are slated to be combined under one umbrella by this fall, with Mr. Tremblay in charge of both the innovation centre and Invest Ottawa. The economic development official said the money will flow between both entities.

In addition to the new makerspace, the funding will also support services such as the innovation centre’s scaleup programs for entrepreneurs as well as Invest Ottawa events, including the agency’s annual AcclerateOTT conference.

The sponsors have signed on for three years, with an option to extend the deal by mutual agreement. Details of each company’s exact financial contribution were not made public.

RBC regional vice-president Lynette Gillen said her firm hopes to partner with Invest Ottawa portfolio companies in the fintech space such as ChangeJar, a local startup with a mobile app that allows users to pay for items with their smartphones.

She said the bank’s contribution won’t go toward any one specific initiative or program, but rather to “wherever we can help the most.” Ms. Gillen said the bank is a big believer in the facility’s potential to bring together diverse groups of entrepreneurs and agencies that support fledgling businesses such as the Capital Angel Network.

“The innovation centre is where a lot of these partners come together,” she said. “As they collide, something better will come of it.”