By Andrew Foote, CBC News
An Ottawa centre that hopes to help small businesses grow and develop new products is getting $8 million from the federal government as it readies to open in the fall.
As construction crews worked away at the interior of the Bayview Yards Innovation Centre Wednesday, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains announced the funding for software, equipment and furniture to help the centre's digital media lab and set up a cybersecurity program.
- Innovation hub proposed for part of Bayview Yards site
- Bayview Yards Innovation Centre's initial design released
"This is where I think we've really evolved, as a nation that's not only really good at starting up companies but we're realizing in order to succeed going forward we must scale up," he said.
"The goal is to give small and medium sized companies the support they need to bring their goods and services to market a lot faster."
Bains said 1,200 businesses will use the centre once it's up and running, which will create around 280 jobs and generate tens of millions of dollars in investment.
Carleton University's Tony Bailetti said the money will help students in his Technology Innovation Management program get cybersecurity jobs and start their own companies by bringing them together with experts and investors under one roof.
"[Cybersecurity] is an area of growth for Ottawa. The intent there is to make Ottawa a global centre of cybersecurity research as well as new companies," he said after the announcement.
"We're hoping to create a whole bunch of [cybersecurity] companies... as well as using cybersecurity as a differentiator for a whole bunch of companies that are not operating in cybersecurity [right now.]"
Dr. Adnan Sheikh, director of 3D printing at the Ottawa Hospital, said they'll be able to use the digital lab to develop technology for surgeries and prosthetics that can be used around the world.
"We aim to launch several new companies in this field," he said.
Invest Ottawa will be the anchor tenant for the centre just west of downtown Ottawa. It was built with $15 million each from the city and provincial governments.
After "phase one" opens in the fall, the non-profit corporation managing it will see if it can attract enough other anchor tenants to build a tower in the courtyard.