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Take me to Toronto

How ambitious British start-ups can start to tap into Canada’s strengths in AI

Written by Sandra Steinhauer on 21 June 2018

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Toronto skyline

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Canada has only recently become a player in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) market but - even though the market is relatively small with an open economy - it is thought to be the world’s third largest AI talent pool, according to consultancy Element AI.

 


The fundamental role of academia and its collaboration with business in AI and machine learning development in Canada was a common theme that emerged during a recent EEN Global Business Accelerator Programme (GBAP) visit to Toronto.

 


“Toronto has a really positive outlook in a world of start-up ecosystem, where academia and business innovation is seamlessly intertwined,” says Dr. Salman Valibeik, the CEO of Orpiva, who along with 14 UK AI-focused start-ups spent an intense week of introductions to the Toronto tech ecosystem. Salman, who continues to receive EEN support following the trip, hopes to benefit from the support provided by EEN to internationalise and gain insights into foreign markets.

 


The strength of Canada’s ecosystem and the depth of its talent pool has developed quickly over the past few years since its government and major technology firms have invested in R&D.

 


“The programme was very insightful about how the Canadian start-up ecosystem works," adds Salman. "We were approached by York University, who have a $33m fund in collaborative research in computer vision, to submit a proposal and use this opportunity. I highly recommend this for companies trying to penetrate into the Canadian market and also use it as stepping stone for entering the US.”

 

I highly recommend this for companies trying to penetrate into the Canadian market and also use it as stepping stone for entering the US.