Backgrounder: FedDev Ontario supports health innovation in Kingston

Backgrounder

January 26, 2021 – Kingston (Ontario)

Today, Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario), announced a FedDev Ontario investment of $3 million for the City of Kingston, in partnership with Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College, GreenCentre Canada, Kingston Health Sciences Centre and Kingston Economic Development Corporation, to establish a health innovation ecosystem in the region and create 100 jobs.

Strengthening Kingston’s leadership in health solutions

The project will position Kingston as a place to develop, test and scale health sector innovations. The project aims to capitalize on Kingston’s strong health care and post-secondary sectors and create an ecosystem that will guide health innovators through all phases of business/product development. This will include:

  • Idea Generation: St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University will engage frontline healthcare workers to identify health care challenges and match them with local entrepreneurs, innovation networks (including students) and SMEs to develop ideas for solutions.
  • Idea Testing/Validation: Three physical technology development labs will be leveraged through Queen’s University and GreenCentre Canada to provide SMEs access to hands-on expertise and specialized infrastructure in areas ranging from artificial intelligence to robotics and chemistry. SMEs will also benefit from enhanced opportunities to pilot new products, services and processes in a health care setting through a collaboration with Kingston Health Sciences Centre.
  • Start-Up Support: SMEs will have the opportunity to access mentorship, strategic industry connections and commercialization support services, through new “health focused catalyst” programming to be delivered by Queen’s University.
  • Scale-Up Support: Queen’s University will establish a mentoring cohort program for SMEs and promising ventures ready to grow their businesses. St. Lawrence College will provide SMEs with support services focused on business development through the use of behavioural insights, UX design, and business analytics.
  • Access to Markets: Kingston Economic Development Corporation will undertake new business and investment attraction activities. Activities will include the expansion of the Kingston Syracuse Pathway, an existing collaborative project between the Kingston Economic Development Corporation and partner organizations in upstate New York, to support opportunities for businesses to access markets in the U.S. and attract foreign investment to the region.

The City of Kingston will coordinate with and connect relevant stakeholders and assets across the region to support the development and growth of this emerging health innovation ecosystem.

Quotes

“This important economic development investment in Kingston is well aligned to City Council’s strategic priorities and the vision of our new integrated economic development strategy. By collaborating in new and focused ways, coordinating development strategies with post-secondary educational institutions research and education assets, and bringing together key health innovation ecosystem partners from the public and private sectors, Kingston is advancing on our goal of long-term sustainable growth.”
- Lanie Hurdle, CAO, City of Kingston

“Health Innovation is identified as one of the strategic priorities in the recently launched Integrated Economic Development Strategy. The funding provided through Fed Dev Ontario will provide capacity to develop and build the business ecosystem from start-up support to investment attraction.  Kingston Economic Development is pleased to be one of the strategic partners focused on investment attraction and leveraging international opportunities through the Kingston Syracuse Pathway.”
- Donna Gillespie, CEO, Kingston Economic Development

“Queen’s University is proud to be a significant partner in building an even more vibrant and successful health innovation ecosystem in Kingston. There is tremendous potential for success when government and community partners come together and work toward a shared vision, and I know that Queen’s students, staff, and faculty are looking forward to contributing their expertise and passion for research and innovation to this initiative.”
Dr. Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University

“St. Lawrence College is pleased to be a part of this initiative to foster innovation in Kingston’s healthcare sector. Our Health Sciences graduates have an exceptional reputation as professionals working in our local institutions, and we look forward to creating opportunities for our students in several disciplines to contribute to this partnership, which will have a positive impact not only on their practical education, but on the future of healthcare delivery in our community.”
- Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO, St. Lawrence College

“As a company that sits on the intersection of hard tech and digital health, we couldn't be more excited about an investment into a health innovation ecosystem here in Kingston. Being able to tap into expertise from credible organizations such as Queen’s Centre for Advanced Computing is huge; it’s given us the opportunity to immediately address data security needs of our first end users as well as rapidly iterate on the initial version of our software platform. The City’s support in launching an innovative drug checking pilot with Kingston Community Health Centres and KFL&A Public Health will serve as the blueprint for us to expand across Canada and beyond.”
- Malcolm Eade, Co-Founder and CEO, Spectra Plasmonics Inc.

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News Release: FedDev Ontario supports health innovation in Kingston

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