December 14, 2020
In December 2020, ventureLAB and the Regional Municipality of York presented the third annual Made in York Region: Navigating the New Reality conference.
The conference brought together hundreds of like-minded tech professionals to connect with York Region’s vast innovation ecosystem. Our diverse and dynamic group of panelists provided a deep dive into hardware and healthcare technology, as well as inclusivity & diversity policies. The Pitch Competition brought together an impressive group of tech startups to reimagine business continuity for main street businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Investing in Canada’s Hardware Will Drive Economic Recovery explored how hardware and semiconductors will play a crucial role in Canada’s economic recovery and sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted Canada’s major gaps and challenges, but with challenges always comes opportunity, particularly in our domestic supply chain. Hardware is often overlooked, but is critical in the development and commercialization of high-tech innovations.
Canada’s Lifeline: The Intersection of Health and Hardware explored how healthcare technologies and solutions will play a crucial role in Canada’s economic recovery and sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted Canada’s major gaps and challenges, particularly in the way we can use technology in our healthcare sector. We have witnessed the removal of regulatory barriers, changes to reimbursement and public investment in funding healthcare technologies which have enabled companies to quickly pivot to addressing needs in the healthcare sector.
Rebuilding a More Equitable Country: Lessons from Lockdown explored how to make the technology sector more equitable, the importance of unlearning our unconscious bias, and the role that allies will play in elevating underrepresented individuals in technology. If Canada wants to reach its potential, these underrepresented groups need to be at the core of driving change.
ventureLAB and Digital Main Street selected the top eight companies across York Region with innovative products and solutions that will help us rebuild through and beyond the current crisis. We watched them battle it out in front of a live audience and top-notch public and private sector judges. Evaluated on their innovation, economic impact, and community collaboration, each company had an opportunity to present their solution and answer questions from the judges.
We gave the winning companies $50,000 to pilot or scale their innovative solutions. Our judges, hailing from Accenture, Shopify Retail, Bell Canada, and more, looked for novel solutions that increased market opportunity for main street businesses, elevated customer confidence, and managed costs associated with COVID-19 protocol compliance.