The OCE Discovery technology conference took place in Toronto, Canada, from 30 April to 1 May 2018. In cooperation with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto and other consulates of the Visegrad Four countries, CzechInvest presented twelve innovative firms from Central Europe.
Organised by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, this year’s conference attracted more than five hundred exhibitors and more than 3,600 attendees from the academic, public and business spheres with focus on the areas of industry and investment. The conference was opened by the director of OCE Discovery, Tom Corr, together with a robot called Sophie from the Hanson Robotics workshop and a hologram of David Hanson, founder and director of Hanson Robotics.
Companies from Central Europe attended the conference for the first time this year. The Czech Republic was represented by the firms Brens (smart city), XLab Realtime (digital media), Legito (legaltech) and Level Systems (smart transport systems). In addition to the two-day conference, the Central European consulates and CzechInvest organised an accompanying programme during which the companies from the Visegrad Four countries were able to gain more information on the conditions of entering the Canadian market and to establish new contacts.
The firms presented their products and services at the leading Ontario incubators DMZ and Communitech and took part in several networking events with the local start-up community. They also met with representatives of the Toronto Global organisation and the law firm Aird Berlis. At the close of the event, they visited Google’s Canadian headquarters in Waterloo.
The Toronto-Waterloo area is the second-biggest technology cluster in North America focusing on global talent, innovation and growth. The reason for this is, in particular, the first-class technological level of the University of Waterloo, which provides talent to more than fifteen technology companies based here.
Canada, particularly the area of southern Ontario, where Toronto is located, is an interesting opportunity for entry of European firms into the North American market. Operating costs are 14.6% lower on average than in the United States (Toronto Global, 2018) and entering the market is easier. Ontario offers numerous financial aid programmes, which can cover up to 80% of investment costs (RDP Associates, 2018). The well-developed local research infrastructure supports the establishment of technology firms and is attracting the attention of American technology giants and investors.
More information about the OCE Discovery conference is available on the event’s website.