Premier Brad Wall today announced the launch of Saskatchewan’s first technology incubator in Saskatoon.
Located at Innovation Place, Co.Labs is designed to provide early-stage technology startups with the skills, mentorship and support required to build successful technology companies in the province. As part of the 2017-18 provincial budget, the government committed $250,000 to support the operations of Co.Labs.
“Our government’s goal is to have the most innovative and effective policies, tax tools and business environment to support the innovation and technology sector and to further diversify our economy,” Wall said. “Initiatives like the Saskatchewan Commercialization Innovation Incentive (“Patent Box”) which is the first of its kind in North America, will help us reach this goal. As our province’s first technology incubator, Co.Labs will support growth in the technology sector by helping prepare startups for future success and create jobs and opportunity for young people in Saskatchewan.”
The number of jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services category increased by 3,000 from 2015 to 2016. Over the past decade, jobs in this area have increased by 35 per cent from 20,700 in 2007 to 28,100 in 2016.
The provincial funding for the new technology incubator will be administered through Innovation Saskatchewan, which worked with stakeholders from Innovation Place, academia, government, private industry and existing technology startups, to develop the Co.Labs model. Co.Labs will focus on early-stage startups in the province, offering them access to programs, mentorships, events, networking and office space. It will also encourage and support technology entrepreneurs from all areas of the technology ecosystem, including those from post-secondary institutions.
There are currently 13 startups engaged with Co.Labs, representing fields as wide-ranging as economic development, entertainment and financial services. These startups were selected to participate in developing the incubator’s programs over the summer.
The first application process to Co.Labs will open in September, 2017, with membership restricted to very early-stage technology entrepreneurs. It is expected that about twenty-five startups will be supported by Co.Labs in its first year, representing approximately 50 founders.
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