About Our Supporters
We are part of a larger public sector innovation strategy fuelled by the Federal and Ontario Governments to secure a brighter economic future for Canada and Canadians through the power of scientific discoveries.
In just a few years, Ottawa’s “Innovation Agenda” has moved from a political promise to a cornerstone of Canada’s science and technology strategy, to a growing number of new companies grounded on new Made in Canada discoveries.
The Province of Ontario shares a parallel interest in job-creation, and it turns out that having two public sector funders has an accretive effect: more new money from Ottawa begets more new money from Queen’s Park. So fresh funding for Genome Canada, for instance, creates a larger pool of potential funding for the Ontario Genomics Institute.
In 2008, wanting to accelerate the pace of commercialization, the Federal Government issued a call for applications from Canada’s academic and medical communities. A Toronto team led by President David Naylor of the University of Toronto proposed to act as a clearing house for medical discovery at the University and its affiliated hospitals. This led to the awarding of $15 million and the formation of MaRS Innovation. The Members also contributed $15 million in cash and in-kind services, which enabled MaRS Innovation to open its doors with an initial investment of $30 million and a five-year mandate from November 2008 through March 2013.
In addition to this direct initial support from Ottawa, MaRS Innovation also assists its members to apply for funding through the Federal body, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Our value here is very clear. By providing assistance in the development of business plans and marketing plans, we have helped our members enjoy nearly a 100% success rate with their applications.
Then last Fall, as part of our strategy of bundling technologies, MaRS Innovation received a further $15 million from Ottawa for the creation of the new Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), designed to accelerate the commercialization of stem cell research and regenerative medicine.
Ontario’s Provincial Government has shown similar foresight.
In our first two years, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation funded $6 million in early-stage projects through two entities, Technology Transfer Toronto and Biodiscovery Toronto. These two groups were merged with MaRS Innovation in October of 2010.
Both the Province and Ottawa have also provided essential financial support for Proof of Principle programs – the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation through the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE); and the Federal Government through the Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR) Proof of Principle (POP) program.
In addition, Ontario also provides “superseed” money ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 per project for very early stage commercialization initiatives. These projects often allow us to obtain further support from large companies such as Merck Frosst, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson, that have led to extended and ongoing relationships with other MaRS Innovation-sponsored commercializations.