ventureLAB, in partnership with the IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre, officially announced the brand new innovation and entrepreneurial hub based out of the IBM Canada headquarters at 3600 Steeles Ave. E. in Markham, ON.

The afternoon announcement was attended by over 100 members of the innovation ecosystem including community leaders and influencers like Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham and Claudia Krywiak, Vice President, Corporate Development, Planning and Strategic Initiatives, OCE. Representing ventureLAB were Karna Gupta, Chair, ventureLAB and Jeremy Laurin, President and CEO, ventureLAB. Representing IBM were Pat Horgan, VP, Operations and Innovations, IBM and Allen Lalonde, Senior Innovation Executive & IBM Canada Research & Development Centre

Also in attendance providing short presentations were MPPs Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science and Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade.

Social Media Reach

On social media, the announcement drew well over 7500 impressions and continues to see numerous retweets and sharing across multiple platforms from key influencers across York Region and Ontario.

What is the IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre?

  • First enterprise-led innovation hub in Ontario, located at the IBM Canada headquarters that provides growing businesses access to state-of-the-art technologies.
  • Brings together start-ups, entrepreneurs, funding agencies and research experts and mentors from IBM and ventureLAB in one collaborative space to help companies scale up faster and drive economic growth.
  • Businesses will have access to IBM’s state-of-the-art computing technologies and support from IBM’s industry experts, which will help commercialize ideas and accelerate new technologies to the global marketplace.
  • Physical space available for rent.
  • Enables ventures at all stages of their business lifecycle to excel and grow through technology innovation by providing easy access to the latest IBM technologies, including leading cloud and cognitive solutions.
  • Members of the new space can tap into IBM’s industry expertise, mentorship, global channels, and support with the purpose to stimulating entrepreneurship in York Region and aiding in the research, incubation, development, and commercialization of business ideas that will innovate industries such as healthcare, energy, financial services, and transportation.

What is ventureLAB’s role in the IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre?

  • ventureLAB is the creative director for the space, including all the tenants, large and small that have agreed to co-locate together in an effort to each advance their businesses in an effort to build globally relevant home grown success stories
  • ventureLAB is a connector to the broader IBM ecosystem, helping clients curate their ideas and find meaningful ways to work with IBM people, their products and services.

What examples of specific industry challenges does ventureLAB address with the IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre?

  • Access to talent, technology, risk capital and mentoring. Access to these essential elements increases an entrepreneurs chances at success dramatically.

What issues are startups and small businesses faced with that the IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre can address?

  • Along with good mentorship and access to risk capital, access to global markets. By combining the strengths of IBM and ventureLAB, the organizations are able to provide opportunities to early stage and growth stage companies that would be difficult to find anywhere else.


Along with the IBM Innovation Space – Markham Convergence Centre announcement, ventureLAB also announced its participation in the new I3 (IBM Innovation Incubator) Project.

What is the IBM Innovation Incubator Project?

  • The IBM Innovation Incubator Project helps small- and medium-sized businesses innovate and grow by providing easy access to the latest IBM technologies, such as cloud and cognitive solutions (e.g. IBM Watson).
  • Members can also use IBM’s industry expertise, mentorship, global channels and support to help with the research, development and commercialization of their businesses.
  • The Innovation Incubator Project is a partnership between the Province, Ontario Centres of Excellence and IBM Canada to provide Ontario SMEs with technological resources, access to customers and physical space to grow their companies.

How many innovation incubators are being created?

  • There are five innovation spaces opening across Ontario:
  • ventureLAB in Markham/York Region
  • MaRS in Toronto
  • DMZ in Toronto
  • Invest Ottawa in Ottawa
  • Communitech in Kitchener-Waterloo

How is this being funded?

  • The IBM Innovation Incubator Project is supported by an Ontario grant of $22.75 million through the Jobs and Prosperity Fund – Strategic Partnerships Stream and a $24.75 million contribution from IBM.
  • This project is expected to leverage over $410 million in private-sector investment and create up to 2,600 jobs. Ontario’s grant of $22.75 million is not an investment in IBM. The grant will go towards the Innovation Incubator Project and will help small- and medium-sized enterprises embrace next-generation technologies.

The event was live streamed and can be viewed below. Note that the stream begins at 1:07:27.

ventureLAB is where talented entrepreneurs bring their innovations to market and is a partner in StartUp HERE Toronto.