In March, Canada’s Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada announced an investment of $25.7 million to help Vancouver-based organizations fuel the B.C. economy.
“British Columbia is fertile ground for companies to innovate and grow,” believes Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Preparedness.
Among the recipients was Circle Innovation Solutions, a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating technology solutions.
Circle received nearly $5 million toward its Healthtech SME Program, an initiative designed to support tech entrepreneurs’ product development, facilitating growth and the commercialization of patient-empowering technologies within the healthcare sector.
The Healthtech SME Program aims to enhance the competitiveness of the province’s healthcare industry, according to Circle, with an ultimate goal of bolstering economic growth and creating high value jobs for British Columbians.
“By investing in Circle Innovation’s Healthtech SME Program, we are creating quality jobs, unleashing new ideas, helping B.C.-made products find global success, and building the economy of the future,” stated Sajjan.
Supplementing PacifiCan funding with contributions from industry partners, almost $7 million was allocated to projects across more than three dozen companies, in amounts ranging from $13,000 to over $200,000.
“Since partnering with these visionary entrepreneurs, we’ve witnessed numerous healthtech organizations expand their presence, advance their technologies and speed to market, while connecting with other changemakers in their fields—many of which address top concerns for health-related care in B.C.,” said Dr. Sylvain Moreno, Chief Executive Officer of Circle Innovation.
“We’re excited to see how this program will continue to expand through our partnership with PacifiCan and industry stakeholders,” he added.
Companies working on projects through the Healthtech SME Program include MetaOptima, Human in Motion Robotics, AltumView, Tuktu Care, myMomentum, Cambian, Excelar Technologies, CSN Pharma, Ayogo Health, Birota, Care2Talk, Curatio, VitaminLabs, Tickit Health, OkaSciences, MindfulGarden, ThyForLife, Charlie Wellbeing, Cortico Health, Careteam Technologies, Rostrum Medical Innovations, Variational AI, iClinic, HeadCheck Health, Difinity Solutions, and Scanbo.
“Programs like this are a great example of collaboration between different levels of government, academia, and industry leaders to drive concrete innovation forward,” says MetaOptima CEO Dr. Maryam Sadeghi.
Dr. Siamak Arzanpour, a cofounder of Human in Motion, agrees, stating that “Circle’s scientific expertise, funding networks, and academic partnerships helped us to build a strong foundation for our groundbreaking exoskeleton technology,” which helped the startup secure $10 million in Series A financing in May.
“Circle Innovation plays a pivotal role in connecting SMEs in British Columbia with consumers, technology providers, and academia,” believes Dr. Moreno, adding that “We are proud of our track record over the past seven years in fostering a vibrant tech industry ecosystem in B.C.”
The program is being run in collaboration with Simon Fraser University.
“Collaborating with Circle Innovation to bring the Healthtech SME Program to life has been integral to the growth of healthtech organizations in the province and influenced the development of varying industry programs,” stated Dr. Dugan O’Neil, Vice-president, research and international, Simon Fraser University. “We have taken inspiration from the successes of the Circle Innovation model . . . Supporting the growth of SMEs is of paramount importance for the economic well-being of British Columbia.”
Circle was founded in 2016.