Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) celebrated another year as the province's leading research-to-commercialization organization with over 400 participants registered to attend its Annual General Meeting at Toronto's Design Exchange last night.

L-R (Minister Brad Duguid, Dr. Tom Corr, Michael Nobrega, Professor Zhou Wang of SSIMWAVE Inc. who accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Abdul Rehman, Jane D. Allen, Minister Reza Moridi.

The largest AGM in OCE's history, the annual event showcased 22 OCE-funded companies, representing some of the past year's standouts and success stories. In addition, the event featured remarks by the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, and the Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth.

Dr. Tom Corr, OCE's President and CEO, and Michael Nobrega, OCE Board Chair were joined by Janet Ecker, OCE Board member and former President and CEO, Toronto Financial Services Alliance and Jane D. Allen, OCE Board member and Senior Vice President, Strategy and Innovation, Hydro One Limited who presented the Martin Walmsley Award for Entrepreneurship and the Mind-to-Market Award for 2017, each valued at $25,000.

  • OCE's Martin Walmsley Award for Entrepreneurship was awarded to Dr. Abdul Rehman, CEO of SSIMWAVE Inc. SSIMWAVE provides viewer intelligence that helps deliver the ultimate viewer experience. The company's products provide media and entertainment industry with the capability to manage video quality with the lowest possible delivery infrastructure cost in a market worth approximately $5 billion. The most accurate end-to-end video quality measurement technology is the backbone of the products, placing SSIMWAVE in a unique position to capture a majority share of the market. SSIMWAVE's team has the unique expertise in video quality measurement, management, and optimization built on more than 20 years of world-leading research. The team has won a Primetime Emmy award and has the most cited papers in video engineering. 
  • The OCE Mind-to-Market Award 2017 was awarded to Matt Rendall, CEO of Clearpath Robotics, and Simon Drexler, Director of Industrial Solutions for OTTO Motors (a division of Clearpath Robotics). In collaboration with the University of Waterloo, the OTTO self-driving vehicle is designed exclusively for material transport in industrial environments. It is an evolution of the automated guided vehicle (AGV) and uses advanced sensors and artificial intelligence to provide flexible automation that does not require fixed infrastructure (no beacons, magnetic tape or pre-defined laser paths). There are two form factors for the vehicle: The OTTO 1500, which carries 1,500-kilogram/3,400-pound payloads, and the OTTO 100, which carries 100-kg/224-lb payloads. Each can drive over 6.4 kilometres per hour (four miles per hour) and can be outfitted with appliances to fit different needs, including lifts, conveyors, shelves, or carts. The OTTO solution provides obstacle detection and avoidance, and dynamically moves through facilities in the most efficient manner to reach its destination point. The system runs virtually 24/7 because it uses opportunity charging, meaning it autonomously docks and charges itself throughout the day when it does not have a task assigned to it. The OTTO self-driving vehicles offer the reliability of an AGV, the efficiency of a conveyor and the flexibility of a person. 

“OCE continues to be a valued partner to the government by supporting Ontario-based innovators and entrepreneurs,” says Minister Moridi. “Through OCE-managed funds and programs, Ontario is on a path of job creation, new discoveries and global competitiveness in the 21st century economy. I congratulate OCE on another successful year.”

Innovation and making a positive economic impact in Ontario are at the core of OCE's mandate and programs, values recognized by both awards. Learn more about the finalists for the Martin Walmsley Award and the Mind-to-Market Award on the OCE website.

“Every sector of the global economy is facing an unprecedented period of technological disruption,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth. “In this environment, the work of OCE is essential to strengthen Ontario's innovation ecosystem and help the province lead in the technologies and products of tomorrow.”

L-R (Minister Brad Duguid, Dr. Tom Corr, Michael Nobrega, Janet Ecker, Matt Rendall, CEO of Clearpath Robotics, Minister Reza Moridi.

The celebratory event also included the release of OCE's Annual Report, demonstrating that the organization was successful in improving on key performance measurements over the past year.

“OCE's plan to think big and position our organization in sectors with critical industrial presence in the province has proven successful,” says Michael Nobrega, OCE Board Chair. “OCE will continue to focus and build on Ontario's strengths, and the provincial government can continue to look to us to keep advancing exciting innovations and initiatives in high-potential growth markets such as fintech, clean technologies, and youth entrepreneurship.”

With 11 offices co-located across Ontario, the OCE team has delivered major impact in 2016-17, including;

  • the creation or retention of 6,824 jobs as a direct result of OCE-funded projects, a 12.4 per cent increase over last year.
  • A record amount of follow-on investment from angel investors and venture capitalists. At $596 million, the highest in OCE's history and a 5.9 per cent increase over last year.
  • Incremental sales of $151 million by client companies as a direct result of OCE-funded projects.
  • In 2016-17 alone, OCE's Campus Linked Accelerator and On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities programs have created 3,095 jobs. These start-ups have generated $69 million in sales and raised $143 million in follow-on investment. 

“There has never been a better time to be a part of Ontario's innovation space and entrepreneurship ecosystem,” says Dr. Corr. “With the high potential for economic impact and OCE's experience in facilitating collaboration to develop and commercialize the next great solutions for industry across sectors, OCE is focused on the creation of high-quality jobs, driving economic growth and enhancing Ontario's global competitiveness on behalf of the province.”

View the full 2016/17 OCE Annual Report here.

View the 2016/17 OCE Financial Report here.

For more information on OCE, visit www.oce-ontario.org.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc

OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs.

Media Contact: Andrew Robertson, Manager, Media Relations, t: 416.861.1092 x 1092, [email protected]