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article imageCanada to invest $15 million investment in top AI entrepreneurs

By Tim Sandle     Apr 1, 2018 in Business
Toronto - Ontario's 2018 budget includes an investment of $15 million over three years in NextAI, a NEXT Canada program that brings together AI entrepreneurs.
The 2018 Ontario budget was delivered at Queen's Park at the end of March. The measures include the hypothecation of a $15 million grant to be delivered over three years in a scheme called NextAI. This is a NEXT Canada program designed to bring together artificial intelligence entrepreneurs.
The idea is to assist the artificial intelligence innovators and help them to build their firms. The scheme also sets out to aid other organizations to integrate artificial intelligence-driven technologies into their operations.
NEXT Canada is a national, non-profit organization set up to develop talent and to build new ventures that set out to propel technology adoption. NEXT Canada aims to produce cutting-edge programming across three streams. These are: NextAI, Next 36 and Next Founders.
With Next36, thrity-six of Canada’s top students are selected to join a program. Over eight months, the budding entrepreneurs are provided with mentorship from entrepreneurial and business leaders, and provided with up to $80,000 in seed funding. Next Founders is a flexible program designed for founders of startups looking to scale up quickly. With this scheme, ventures have access to up to $30,000 in non-dilutive grant funding.
The NextAI project is based around a global innovation hub for artificial intelligence related venture creation and technology commercialization. NextAI teams have access to up to $200,000 in capital, technical and business education from scientists, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Candidate sectors range from healthcare to agriculture to financial services.
More innovation will be possible with the new funding, according to NEXT Canada CEO Sheldon Levy. In a statement he said: "These additional resources will allow us to do more to support the growth of new AI ventures in Ontario. Ontario's public and private sectors have been working closely together to make this province an emerging leader in the field of artificial intelligence, this announcement strengthens Ontario's position."
In related news, Ottawa is pioneering new 'superclusters', with supporting funding coming from the Canadian government. These are clusters of companies with similar goals helps drive innovation through collaboration and competition. See the Digital Journal article "New funding for Canadian technology 'superclusters'."
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