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News round-up: Seven business and investment stories from June 2019

A round-up of news stories from Waterloo, Canada in June 2019, including a new transit system, Canada's first industry-led medtech hub and more.

There was a lot of exciting news in Waterloo over the last month, including a big announcement from Waterloo EDC, a new artificial intelligence partnership with Microsoft and the launch of a light rail system connecting the major players in Waterloo’s innovation ecosystem.

Here are seven great business and investment stories:

1. New light rail system strengthens connections in Waterloo innovation ecosystem

A new light rail system named ION was launched in Waterloo in June. This built transit has already spurred about $3 billion in new development, including the Breithaupt Block, which is Google Canada’s home in Waterloo and the site of a significant new $150 million expansion.

The transit line itself connects many of the community’s renowned innovation assets, including Communitech, Velocity, the two local universities, the Accelerator Centre and businesses such as Google, Shopify, eSentire, North and Vidyard.

Read coverage of the ION launch from the Waterloo Region Record.

2. Microsoft launches AI partnership with the University of Waterloo

A new partnership between one of the world’s largest companies – Microsoft – and one of North America’s top technical universities – the University of Waterloo – hopes to apply artificial intelligence to social challenges.

This new funding is part of Microsoft’s $115 million AI for Good Initiative. Some projects include improving emption discovery for autistic individuals, climate change projections and fall detection for the elderly.

You can find full coverage from BetaKit.

3. Canada’s first industry-led medtech hub opens in Waterloo

Waterloo welcomed a new addition to its innovation ecosystem: the Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX).

Canada’s first industry-led hub dedicated to medtech startups, the MIX mission is to provide a collaborative space for medtech companies that supports business growth and adds to the overall success of Waterloo’s world-renowned tech ecosystem.

We wrote about MIX here.

4. SAP begins expansion of its Waterloo office

German software giant SAP is adding 30-40 new positions at its Waterloo location, increasing their total employment to approximately 260, and completing renovations to update their office in the David Johnston Research & Technology Park.

The company plans to add another 50 jobs over the next two or three years.

We wrote about this news here.

5. True North has a successful second year in Waterloo

For the second straight year, the True North conference did two things – attract a crowd (2,500 attendees!) and make people think about using tech for good.

This year’s program focused on three major themes, including the age of re-learning, living digital and building bridges, not walls.

For more, check out the in-depth coverage from Communitech News.

6. $1 million Leaders Prize launched to fight fake news

A new prize, announced at True North, aims to tackle one of society’s greatest problems: fake news and misinformation. The Leaders Prize at True North challenges

Canadian teams to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to quickly fact-check claims and stop fake news before it spreads. The best solution will land a $1 million award.

The prize was co-founded by the Schulich Foundation, the Leaders Fund and Communitech, with the University of Waterloo as the academic partner.

Read more from Communitech News.

7. Waterloo EDC announces new funding from FedDev Ontario

In late June, Waterloo EDC was proud to announce that FedDev – the federal agency responsible for advancing and diversifying the southern Ontario economy – would make a $3 million investment in Waterloo EDC.

This new funding will expand Waterloo EDC’s capacity for helping businesses locate, relocate and expand in our community.

Check out the news release here or read coverage from the Waterloo Region Record.

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