This month, Waterloo broke ground – both literally and metaphorically – with the commencement of our new airport expansion and the launch of two new innovative research hubs at the University of Waterloo.
UWaterloo also reclaimed the title of Canada’s Most Innovative University while Ontario’s artificial intelligence ecosystem surged to new records amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the top stories from October 2021:
Once again, UWaterloo is Canada's Most Innovative University
Each year, Maclean’s releases its highly anticipated national University Rankings. In 2021, UWaterloo defended its title as Canada’s top technology school and reclaimed the title of “Canada’s Most Innovative University.”
Waterloo airport to double in size
The Region of Waterloo International Airport will double in size over the next six months, as part of a $44 million project that is underway to accommodate more passengers, increase accessibility in Waterloo and support our growing community.
Airport expansion is crucial to the growth of our local economy. Greg Durocher, President and CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, said the expansion will “create massive amounts of opportunities for job growth in our community at large.”
Local tech innovator Bridgit announces CAD$24 million in funding
Local software startup Bridgit announced that it has raised CAD$24 million in Series B funding. Bridgit helps construction companies maximize profits and productivity and their workforce planning tool is being rapidly adopted by North American builders. This Series B financing will allow Bridgit to fuel product development and continue to bring innovation solutions to the forefront of the construction industry.
UWaterloo launches two new ground-breaking research hubs
UWaterloo’s legacy of research and development innovation continued to gain momentum in October.
First, the university launched Canada’s first research institute for sustainable aeronautics. The institute aims to shape the future of the aeronautics industry by making air transport more sustainable – which couldn’t come at a better time, given Waterloo’s airport expansion and our community’s growing expertise in cleantech.
Second, UWaterloo announced the launch of the world’s first international research hub for vision science, in partnership with Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The Centre for Eye and Vision Research will bring together researchers from around the world to develop new technologies and promote vision health.
Against the COVID-19 odds, Ontario’s AI industry continued its impressive growth trajectory in 2020-21. The province’s success was driven in large part by the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, which is home to some of the biggest AI hubs and most successful AI startups in Canada.
Ontario’s AI sector saw an increase in venture capital (VC) investment, R&D spending and number of jobs created compared to the previous year. In the Venture Institute’s annual Ontario AI snapshot, it was reported that 7,253 AI jobs were created in Ontario over the last year, almost double the amount in 2019-20. Additionally, $2.16 billion in VC investment flowed into the Ontario AI ecosystem last year, an increase of $254 million compared to 2019-20.
UWaterloo co-op program sets record highs
This month, UWaterloo’s co-operative education (co-op) program set record-highs in the post-pandemic workforce, with more than 23,000 students employed in 2021. UWaterloo also reported that 10,000+ students are scheduled to work in the upcoming winter 2022 term, which is the most ever for any Canadian institution.
Co-op is the combination of academic studies with work experience. All three post-secondary institutions in Waterloo – UWaterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College – offer co-op programs. Many companies take advantage of our local co-op programs to access exceptional talent and build their talent pipeline.
Does location still matter?
Despite the recent shift to remote work, location is still crucial for companies looking to tap into the opportunities, resources and support offered by thriving business ecosystems. In a recent Financial Post article, leaders of economic development organizations across Canada shared their perspectives on locating, relocating and expanding in a post-COVID world. Read it to see what Waterloo EDC President & CEO Tony LaMantia had to say.