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September Wrap-up: A Fresh Crop of Entrepreneurs and Innovation

The seasons may be changing, but Waterloo's innovative spirit endures. Read the full wrap-up for all the exciting news and announcements from last month.

This fall, Waterloo is harvesting innovation and reaping the rewards. September brought a bumper crop of R&D success and automation ingenuity to our region.

Announcements included a new vision institute at the University of Waterloo (UWaterloo), a local expansion by Bosch and a major acquisition that brought together two automation powerhouses.

Our region was named one of Canada’s best locations for economic development; UWaterloo was ranked as one of the best global schools and the top Canadian school for entrepreneurs; and Canada claimed the title of the #2 country in the world.

Here are the top stories from September 2023:

Waterloo named a premier location for economic development

Site Selection magazine has recognized Waterloo as a leading location for economic development for the fifth year running. The publication emphasized the region’s strength in tech, pointing to its position as the #1 small tech talent market in CBRE’s Scoring Tech Talent report and top-5 ranking for tech talent concentration. Ontario, where Waterloo is located, also received the Canadian Competitiveness Award as Canada’s most economically competitive province.

Bosch expands its footprint in Waterloo

Mobility technology and services leader, Bosch, expanded its presence in the region last month. It commemorated its latest expansion with a grand opening of its new Waterloo office attended by special guests including the Honourable Victor Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, and Dorothy McCabe, Mayor of Waterloo.

Since joining the ecosystem in 2016, Bosch has continually expanded its presence, thanks to the region’s rich talent and innovation. This expansion allows the company to broaden its local team to develop advanced software for its automotive divisions, focusing on AI and autonomous technologies.

Rockwell Automation acquires Clearpath Robotics

Two local powerhouses are joining forces to create safer, more efficient manufacturing environments.

Last month, Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, acquired Clearpath Robotics Inc., a leader in autonomous robotics for industrial applications.

Autonomous mobile robots are the next frontier in industrial automation and transformation, and this acquisition will supercharge Rockwell’s lead in bringing the Connected Enterprise to life.

“Industrial customers are under ever-increasing pressure to do more with less. Autonomous production logistics is becoming a necessity to meet targets and stay competitive. We are excited to join Rockwell and help expand their leadership position in advanced material handling,” said Matt Rendall, co-founder and CEO of Clearpath. “Together, we will create safer and more productive workplaces with autonomous technology.”

UWaterloo rises in world rankings

UWaterloo was ranked among the world’s best schools in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024, claiming the 158th spot among 1,900 evaluated institutions. With a 7th place finish among Canadian institutions, the university is steadily climbing the national ranks. The school was ranked 10th in 2022 and 9th in 2023.

UWaterloo’s strongest indicators were research productivity, research excellence, research influence, patents and international staff, demonstrating its commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and investing in the future.

UWaterloo produces the most entrepreneurs

Speaking of which, UWaterloo has been ranked first in Canada and 21st globally for producing successful entrepreneurs, according to the 2023 PitchBook university rankings.

The university has produced 511 founders with undergraduate degrees, who have collectively raised $23B and 173 graduate-degree founders who have raised $5.2B. Trailblazing unicorn companies like ApplyBoard, CoinTracker, Clearco and Instacart were all founded by UWaterloo graduates.

To further support entrepreneurship, the university’s Board of Governors has approved an investment of up to $5M into the Velocity Fund II, a new, independent for-profit VC fund.

“Energizing students’ entrepreneurial ambitions creates a positive ripple effect on the Canadian economy – [UWaterloo] innovators are launching highly marketable products and services, and commercializing groundbreaking research that can reshape industries,” says Adrien Côté, Velocity’s executive director.

Canada is the second-best in the world

Canada is the second-best country in the world, according to a report published by US News. Published last month, the report scored the perceptions of 87 countries based on a survey of over 17,000 people worldwide.

Switzerland may have taken the top spot, but by scoring points in categories like quality of life, social purpose and racial equity, Canada was able to overtake Germany to snag the second spot after coming in third last year.

Vision becomes reality at the WEI

The Waterloo Eye Institute (WEI) is set to become a fixture in Waterloo’s research ecosystem, thanks to support from the optometry profession, alumni and donors across Canada.

The state-of-the-art facility will support advances in vision research and optometric education, while pushing the boundaries of eye and vision care to benefit patients in Waterloo and across the country.

“The WEI represents the future of optometry in Canada, and it will provide world-class education opportunities, equipping the next generation of optometrists to provide quality eye care,” said Dr. Alan Ulsifer, CEO of FYidoctors.

Waterloo researchers continue to innovate

A research team at UWaterloo was recently awarded $1.2M in federal funding to protect Canada’s critical infrastructure and energy sector supply chain from cyber threats. Their work will strengthen the cyber security of Canada’s energy sector supply chain, which is vital to the reliable and resilient operation of energy systems across the country.

Researchers at the UWaterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) developed the most robust method known to control individual qubits made of the chemical element barium. The new waveguide method demonstrates a simple and precise method of control, showing promise for manipulating ions to encode and process quantum data and for implementation in quantum simulation and computing.

See what Waterloo has to offer

With new accolades and exciting announcements, the sowing of seeds in Waterloo reaped more rewards this September. Subscribe to the Waterloo EDC to get more stories like these delivered right to your inbox.