../Morning Post
Posted December 17 , 2009
Innovation - Round up

Ontario is investing in innovation. Ontario’s Innovation Agenda is the province’s $3.2-billion commitment to help turn great ideas into good jobs for the future and better lives for Ontario families.

Ontario - One program helping emerging companies is the Innovation Demonstration Fund. The fund helps companies commercialize promising new technologies by supporting them at the pilot or demonstration project stage. These projects help companies attract the customers and investors they need to move their technology to the global marketplace.

Through the Innovation Demonstration Fund, Ontario is investing close to $1.5 million in Waterloo-based Sober Steering. This company has developed a new approach to prevent drinking and driving. Instead of a breath-based system, Sober Steering’s technology uses sensors mounted on the steering wheel to take measurements through a person’s skin. The system can detect alcohol as soon as two minutes after consumption. If an alcohol level above the legal limit is found, the system prevents the driver from operating the vehicle.

Along with its life-saving potential, there is an enormous global market opportunity for this product. Several U.S. states either have or are currently considering legislation that would make this kind of system mandatory for people who have been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. Sweden, meanwhile, has set a goal that by 2012, all new vehicles must be fitted with devices that prevent drinking and driving – and other European countries and Japan are considering similar legislation.

Ontario’s investment will help Sober Steering refine its technology, develop and test its prototype, and run a year-long pilot program. The company plans to bring its product to market in 2011 and expects to create 10 permanent and up to 20 part-time high-skill jobs over the next five years.

To date, Ontario has invested in 13 promising Ontario cleantech companies through the Innovation Demonstration Fund. Most recently, Ontario invested almost $3.8 million to help Vive Nano develop its eco-friendly process for creating nanotechnology-based products and materials. Other emerging Ontario technology companies that have received support through the fund include:

• BIOREM Technologies Inc. – Designs and manufactures systems that remove odours and contaminants from the air, including hydrogen sulphides and volatile organic compounds, using an energy-efficient micro-organism technology.

• 6N Silicon – Has a new, cost-effective process for purifying silicon to the degree needed for solar panels. Last October, 6N announced the opening of its new head office and production facilities in Vaughan.

• GreenCore Composites Inc. – Has developed natural-fibre composites that can be used to make environmentally-friendly parts for the automotive, furniture and toy industries.

• Menova Energy Inc. – Designs and manufactures high performance solar heating and electric systems. Menova partnered with a company called Woodbine Tool and Die on 2 its demonstration project, which helped Woodbine diversify beyond the automotive sector.

• Verdant Power Canada – Verdant’s Free Flow™ Turbine technology, which looks like an underwater windmill, can generate power from river currents, yet rotates slowly allowing fish to pass through safely with minimal environmental impact.

• The Woodbridge Group – Woodbridge is researching and commercializing Biofoam, a renewable, soy-based product that can be used in automotive seating and interiors.


In total, Ontario is making more than $500 million available to support emerging companies that require access to risk capital in order to grow.

This includes the creation of the $205-million Ontario Venture Capital Fund, a limited partnership between the Ontario government and leading institutional investors, to provide investment funding for innovative, high-potential companies. As well, the 2009 provincial budget boosted Ontario’s support for emerging companies by creating the new $250-million Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund and by injecting another $50 million into the Innovation Demonstration Fund.

Also supporting start-ups in Ontario is the Investment Accelerator Fund, which helps eligible companies develop their technology and gain entrepreneurial expertise to bring their product or service to the global market.

Submit press release to pressrelease@exchangemagazine.com - Editor Jon Rohr - Content published on this site represents the opinion of the individual/organization and/or source provider of the Content. ExchangeMagazine.com is non-partisan, online journal. Privacy Policy. Copyright of Exchange produced editorial is the copyright of Exchange Business Communications Inc. 2009/*.*. Additional editorials, comments and releases are copyright of respective source(s) and/or institutions or organizations.


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