Exploring the Canadian Innovation Ecosystem

Ignite Sweden, along with a Swedish startup delegation, recently visited Montreal as part of a SISP’s Knowledge Exchange Program. The trip included a matchmaking session connecting companies from Canada and Sweden.

In the dynamic world of innovation, partnerships and collaborations often hold the key to success. Ignite Sweden and a dedicated delegation of Swedish startups recently embarked on a journey organized by SISP, to explore the vibrant innovation ecosystem in Canada.

Ignite Sweden’s Project Leader Matchmaking & Startup Community Manager, Elijah Aldana, and SISP’s Director Strategic Partnerships & Policy, Regina Summer, were part of this delegation trip, making their way to Montreal in October to connect with Canadian counterparts and share insights.

This delegation to Canada was made possible through the collaboration of several key partners, including SISP – Swedish Incubators & Science Parks, Ignite Sweden, Business Sweden, EIT European Institute of Innovation & Technology, the Embassy of Sweden in Ottawa, the Embassy of Canada in Stockholm, and Vinnova.

Matchmaking Connecting Swedish Startups and Canadian Corporates

The delegation featured some of Sweden’s most promising startups, including Elonroad, Nordic Forestry Automation, Lumberscan, Flasheye, Gordian, Repli5, Algoryx, Nrylze, Sentian, Green Iron, Nordic Renew Resource, and Rocksigma. Together, they participated in a series of networking events, discovery tours, and the Sweden Canada Innovation Days conference.

A significant highlight of the trip was the in-person matchmaking session organized by our initiative in Montreal. It provided an excellent platform for the startups to meet with four leading Canadian corporates: General Motors, OPAL-RT Technologies, Resolute Forest Products, and The Lion Electric Company. These encounters allowed for fruitful discussions and potential collaborations that can drive innovation forward.

One of the startups that participated in this matchmaking was Lumberscan, a startup from Uminova Innovation. Lumberscan has developed a platform and drone technology that simplifies and enhances the precision of inventory management for forestry companies. 

They had a meeting with a Canadian giant in the wood and paper production industry, recently acquired by an even larger conglomerate for $2.7 billion USD. This meeting was a follow-up to their initial encounter at this year’s edition of Sweden Innovation Days in March.

“We had a twenty-minute conversation with them back then, and then we didn’t hear from them. A few months later we got this chance. I assume there has been an internal dialogue within their organization. We would never have been this close to a deal with such a significant player if it hadn’t been for Ignite Sweden,” said Christoffer Eldskott, Lumberscan’s Marketing Manager.

Takeaways from the Canadian Innovation Landscape

During their journey, SISP’s Regina Summer also found inspiration in some of Canada’s premier innovation centers, such as Centech Mtl, an impressive incubator with a network of advisors who have all experienced the entrepreneurial journey.

She also discovered Espace CDPQ, Canada’s largest VC community with 21 VC firms co-working . Additionally, Next AI, a world-class founder and venture development acceleration network specializing in AI-enabled startups, left a lasting impact.

Regina Summer shares her impressions of the Canadian innovation landscape:

  • The Quebec Government has established ‘Innovation zones’ that recognize and support excellent innovation ecosystems, focusing on areas like Quantum science, Microelectronics, and Energy transition.
  • Canada’s Global Talent Stream offers a fast-track work visa process, with applications taking only 1-2 weeks for approval.
  • Tax exemptions are impressive, offering significant benefits during the first six years of business operations in Canada.
  • You need to have a French company name in Quebec and there is a strong consensus business culture in Canada.

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