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CMC Microsystems and ventureLAB support semiconductors in Canada


The organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote innovation and growth in advanced technologies, including photonics

CMC Microsystems, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to accelerate research and innovation in advanced technologies in Canada, and ventureLAB, a founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada located in York region, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise their relationship and support Canada’s advanced technology ecosystem. The ceremony was held at the ventureLAB Innovation Centre in Markham, Ontario.

Under the agreement, the organisations will support each other’s complementary programmes to further the advanced technology ecosystem in Canada. CMC has made a formal commitment to support the Hardware Catalyst Initiative (HCI), which provides support for hardware and silicon SMEs building transformative solutions in healthcare, telecommunications, advanced computing, connected transportation, and smart energy. In addition, ventureLAB has committed to supporting CMC’s Virtual Incubator Environment (VIE), a programme designed specifically for startups, which provides affordable access to a bundle of design tools and manufacturing technologies. ventureLAB is also committed to supporting the FABrIC initiative, a proposed five-year, $200 million project led by CMC and 14 other founding organisations to secure Canada’s future in advanced semiconductor manufacturing and design.

Hardware Catalyst Initiative (HCI)

ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative is an incubator for founders building hardware and semiconductor-focused products, aiming to nurture the creation of transformative technologies that will power the products of tomorrow – including healthcare technology, consumer electronics, telecommunications, smart energy, connected transportation, and more. Funded in part by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), HCI aims to help tech companies accelerate their time to market in a sector that normally incurs lengthy entry and scale times, enabling Canadian hardware and semiconductor companies to grow and scale locally, and compete globally.

Virtual Incubator Environment (VIE) & FABrIC Initiative

CMC’s Virtual Incubator Environment (VIE) is a suite of tools, technologies, and services for startups. Through VIE, startups can access design and simulation tools, technical support from CMC experts, and access to state-of-the-art fabrication in microelectronics, silicon photonics, and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) at accessible rates. FABrIC is a proposal presented to the Government of Canada for a five-year, $200 million plus project aiming to secure Canada’s future in semiconductors. The proposal seeks to lower barriers for entrepreneurs in Canadian companies who develop microchip manufacturing processes, create internet-connected products and services, and export into a global market growing made-in-Canada microchip manufacturing, internet-connected products and services (IoT), and quantum technologies. FABrIC aims to grow Canada’s semiconductor ecosystem by leveraging existing chip design and manufacturing facilities, providing companies with financial support, and access to the CMC Innovation Platform – a nationwide chip design and manufacturing knowledge base backed by a trusted global supply chain and deep technical expertise.

“The ventureLAB team is excited to join forces with CMC,” said Hugh Chow, CEO of ventureLAB. “With CMC’s extensive national presence across Canada and an international network of collaborating researchers and suppliers, the future is promising. Together, through the Hardware Catalyst Initiative, we eagerly anticipate entrepreneurs from every corner of Canada, empowering them to launch their innovations into the global market and support their growth.”

Gordon Harling, president and CEO of CMC, said: “ventureLAB has a proven track record supporting, accelerating, and scaling firms that create transformative technologies which power our products of tomorrow. The Hardware Catalyst Initiative in particular will benefit researchers and entrepreneurs from the CMC network by providing more prototyping and test opportunities to improve development and accelerate their time-to-market.”

Both leaders also emphasised that FABrIC is a key initiative that will boost the entire Canadian semiconductor and advanced technology ecosystem. “Canada is recognised around the world as a leader in some of the most innovative and advanced semiconductor technologies such as compound semiconductors, photonics, internet-connected devices, and quantum technologies – specialised advanced technologies with exponential growth opportunities and high value-add,” said Harling.

“FABrIC is an innovative, cost-effective way to create a resilient and sustainable semiconductor ecosystem in Canada, and keep Canada at the forefront of advanced manufacturing and advance Canada’s knowledge-based economy,” added Chow.

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