At Collision, North America’s largest tech conference, in June, the Honourable Sean Fraser, then-Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced Canada’s first-ever Tech Talent Strategy, which included several aggressive measures for attracting international tech talent to Canada to boost the economy and fill talent gaps. Just one month prior, international innovators embarked on a networking venture across eastern Ontario that would align with the government’s plans and show that, through collaboration between regions, eastern Ontario has a wealth of untapped support that attracts international entrepreneurs and bolsters the economy.

That venture was Corridor Connects, a two-day event spearheaded by the Eastern Ontario Innovation Corridor (EOIC) that connected these high-potential entrepreneurs with economic development teams in the area. From Durham Region and the Bay of Quinte to Kingston, Cornwall and SDG (Storemont, Dundas and Glengarry) United Counties, this event enabled these entrepreneurs to discover how each region’s resources can contribute to their success
in Canada.

Created to establish eastern Ontario as Canada’s leading innovation district, the EOIC is a consortium of entrepreneurial-focused organizations that aligns their expertise to support international startups, innovators and small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to launch and scale their businesses in Canada. Sharing resources gives these founders everything they need to ensure success in Canada.

That said, the title of Corridor Connects was fitting. The event began at Spark Centre, during which hand-selected international entrepreneurs presented their technology and innovations to Durham Region’s economic development team. That curated list of entrepreneurs included BNET Tech and its innovative smart cane STICKu; Kevares Autonomous Services, with its autonomous robot for municipal operations; and Longan Vision, and its helmet-mounted augmented reality device for firefighters. That list also included Lamda Sense, presenting its technology that verifies ID using gait motion; Minsta Agro Machines agritech; and E-Cast Technology with its advertising screen management system.

Following the presentations, these entrepreneurs then travelled across eastern Ontario to present their innovations to the Quinte Economic Development Commission, Kingston Economic Development Corporation and Choose Cornwall, the economic development agency for Cornwall and SDG Counties.

It was an incredible experience where the power of networking and the pursuit of innovation converged, opening doors to endless possibilities.

“Corridor Connects brought together visionary entrepreneurs and a vibrant community, providing a platform to showcase my products and forge invaluable connections,” says Brian Lam, founder of BNET Tech. “It was an incredible experience where the power of networking and the pursuit of innovation converged, opening doors to endless possibilities. I left the event feeling inspired, knowing what the EOIC could provide for me as an entrepreneur.”

Those meetings weren’t just beneficial for the entrepreneurs, but also for the economic development teams from these regions. At each stop during Corridor Connects, these agencies had the opportunity to educate on the help they can provide to entrepreneurs, regardless of which region they reside in and operate from. “Kingston loves to showcase its startup ecosystem to entrepreneurs and founders in the region,” says Norman Musengimana, business development manager with the Kingston Economic Development Corporation. “As one of the top cities in Canada for startups, we welcomed the opportunity to connect with global entrepreneurs. [We] proudly work with the ecosystem partners and EOIC to support these companies through all stages of business.”

“Corridor Connects is so important because it allows us to showcase to our international entrepreneurs the breadth of communities that exist in eastern Ontario and how we are united and collaborate to support their businesses to grow and thrive,” adds Sherry Colbourne, president and CEO of Spark Centre.

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