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February Wrap-Up: Stretching Out Success

We made the most of each day in February 2024, with major accolades, breakthroughs and announcements. Read the full wrap-up to learn more.

Waterloo capitalized on February’s bonus day, leveraging the leap year to stack up an impressive collection of innovation and investment wins.

We gladly accepted the extra time to squeeze in a multi-million-dollar investment in local quantum tech companies, the launch of a collaborative aerospace accelerator program and an important housing announcement from the Prime Minister. And that’s not all.

Here are the top stories from February 2024:

TWC crowned tech talent powerhouse

In this year’s Global Tech Talent Guidebook from CBRE, the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor (TWC) was named a “tech talent powerhouse.” Home to 300,000 to 500,000 tech workers, the report ranks Ontario’s tech market alongside major tech centres like New York, Paris and London.

The report provides a comprehensive analysis of labour supply, cost, and quality, comparing the size of global markets to the depth of their talent pools. It positions the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor amongst the best global markets, highlighting us as a hub for growth and talent.

Canada invests in quantum tech

The Government of Canada announced a $17.2M investment into twelve quantum technology companies. Four of these companies are from Waterloo Region, including High Q Technologies, Foqus Technologies, ForeQast Technologies Limited and ISARA Corp.

The funding is estimated to create 150 jobs in the region and contribute to the growing need for quantum technology, while strengthening Canada’s global leadership in the future of tech.

Airlifting support to Ukraine

Waterloo-based company, Teledyne FLIR Defence, announced they’ll be making more than 800 drones estimated to be worth around $95M for the Federal Government to supply to Ukraine. Shipments will be sent off starting in April as the 970 SkyRanger drones are delivered to trained Ukrainian soldiers.

The drones will be capable of reaching altitudes up to 15,000 feet and flying in winds up to 65 km/h. They will have HD cameras and the ability to operate in areas with no GPS signals.

Launch of new aerospace accelerator program

Planes at the Region of Waterloo International Airport weren’t the only thing taking off last month. The Accelerator Centre (AC), the Region of Waterloo and NAVBLUE announced that they’re teaming up to launch a new aerospace program.

This program will support 10 start-ups in growing and scaling their businesses in Waterloo, cementing the region’s position as an aerospace innovation hub and leader in the aviation sector. It will be facilitated out of AC’s headquarters and consist of a series of education, mentorship and networking opportunities.

Charging ahead in battery tech

A recent Globe and Mail article delves into the surge in battery technology driven by Canadian researchers, with a spotlight on Waterloo. Notable hubs at Dalhousie University in Halifax and the University of Calgary are also playing crucial roles, but it’s the work at the University of Waterloo that stands out.

Dr. Linda Nazar and Dr. Z. Chen, both Waterloo researchers, are tackling some of today’s biggest challenges in battery technology. With substantial contributions from the Canadian Foundation of Innovation, the University of Waterloo continues to lead in the industry.

Meanwhile, Dalhousie’s impressive $6M partnership with Tesla and the Federal Government is set to rev up electric vehicle (EV) technology, ensuring more sustainable and enduring EV batteries.

Conestoga College reaches #1

CourseCompare released its picks for the top trades’ schools of 2024 and Conestoga College was named #1. The online edtech platform applauded the college’s use of hands-on leading experiences like project-based courses, apprenticeships and co-op opportunities to enhance student learning.

With its technology-enhanced learning, new skilled trades campus and a variety of program offerings, students can graduate ahead of the curve, better equipped for work after graduation.

The annual rankings place job placement at the centre looking at four key performance metrics to establish rankings: verified ratings from recent graduates, industry recognition and satisfaction, graduate earning potential and graduation rates.

Breaking ground for more homes

During a visit to Waterloo in February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Federal Government would be partnering with the Region of Waterloo to fast-track 650 new housing units over the next three years.

Under the Housing Accelerator Fund, over $22M will be provided to eliminate barriers and red tape, fast-tracking construction across the city. This initiative will create more housing options in the city, including more rentals, affordable units and housing near university and college campuses.

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