$50,000 in Awards Presented to Innovators by Ontario Centres of Excellence

Entrepreneurs / 31st October 2016

More than 360 guests participated in Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE’s) AGM and annual awards presentation at Design Exchange in downtown Toronto last week. 

In addition to presenting $50,000 in awards, highlights of the evening included the release of OCE’s 2015/16 Annual Report, an on-site showcase of 24 OCE-funded companies representing some of the past year’s great success stories, and an address by the Honourable Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. Minister Moridi assisted Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s President and CEO and Michael Nobrega, OCE Board Chair, in presenting the two OCE awards, each valued at $25,000;

OCE’s Martin Walmsley Award for Entrepreneurship was awarded to Chekema Prince, co-founder of Pression. Pression’s technology is a generational leap in the delivery of compression therapy for vascular disease treatment and increased muscle performance, supporting increased patient compliance, better patient outcomes, and reducing healthcare cost. Their new, feedback-driven compression technology integrates wearable electronics and intelligent algorithms to provide comfortable, effective, and individualized treatment, developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation.

The OCE Mind-to-Market Award 2016 was awarded to Accelerated Systems Inc. and McMaster University. Accelerated Systems Inc. (ASi) develops and manufactures advanced drivetrain systems for battery and hybrid-based vehicles. Through innovation and intelligent design, ASi excels at delivering smart, silent, and smooth-performing products. The project involves collaboration between ASi and McMaster University, through which the development of unique drivetrain features can be turned into market-leading products.

“OCE’s work is a key ingredient in creating the knowledge-based economy of the future and securing Ontario’s position as a leading centre of research excellence and innovation,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “I want to congratulate Chekema Prince, co-founder of Pression, for winning the Martin Walmsley Award for Entrepreneurship, and Accelerated Systems Inc. along with McMaster University for being selected as the winners of the Mind-to-Market Award. Both are well deserved and demonstrate Ontario’s strengths in entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Both awards celebrate innovation and the positive economic impact it has in Ontario, which is at the heart of OCE’s mandate and programs. Learn more about all the finalists for the Martin Walmsley Award here and the Mind-to-Market Award here.

The 2015/16 OCE AGM was also a cause for celebration, as the Annual Report shows OCE broke last year’s records in key performance measurements.

“The direction over the past year has been to think big and to pivot the organization to large programs in sectors with a critical industrial presence in the province,” said Michael Nobrega, OCE Board Chair. “As the Ontario government has become focused on industries and sectors where the province already has strengths and can build on those strengths, it has looked to OCE to move those sectors ahead and build new industries. This includes work on connected and automated vehicles, cybersecurity, cognitive computing and greenhouse gas reduction.”

In 2015-2016, OCE saw;

A significant increase in the number of jobs that were created or retained as a direct result of OCE-funded projects – 6,071 jobs – an 11 per cent increase over last year;
A record amount of follow-on investment from angel investors and venture capitalists. At $563 million, the highest in OCE history and a 50 per cent increase over last year;
A record amount of incremental sales by client companies as a direct result of OCE-funded projects. At $165 million, a record amount and almost four times that of last year;
Reduced operating costs for OCE as a percentage of funds deployed. It has decreased from 16.6 per cent in fiscal 2010 to 9.3 per cent in fiscal 2016.

“It’s been a year of substantial growth and, more importantly, a year that has taken us to a new plateau in terms of the impact we are able to have on Ontario’s innovation system and economy,” said Dr. Corr. “Guided by the strategic vision of our provincial government, OCE finds itself increasingly focused on large-scale programs in sectors where Ontario already has significant strength, where the potential for economic impact and global competitiveness is significant, and where the need for solutions is urgent.”

View the full 2015/16 OCE Annual Report here.

View the 2015/16 OCE Financial Report here.


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