St. Clair College will be a partner in a multi-level effort to establish Canada’s first automobility accelerator in Windsor, with $7.5 million in federal funding announced Wednesday.
Irek Kusmierczyk, MP for Windsor-Tecumseh, made the announcement Wednesday on behalf of FedDev Ontario. The federal contribution will be made to Invest WindsorEssex (IWE) to bring together key stakeholders in the region to support the development of secure, zero emissions vehicles technologies.
Other partners include WEtech Alliance, the University of Windsor, the City of Windsor and the County of Essex.
With this investment, IWE will offer a full spectrum of first-in-Canada training and other programming to support the upskilling of 1,350 automobility entrepreneurs and scaling firms. Tailored to the needs of start-ups and scale-ups in the automobility ecosystem, with a focus on electric vehicles (EV), connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV), and cyber security firms, this support will help entrepreneurs to accelerate the commercialization of their technologies while positioning the region as a hub for automobility innovation and investment.
The project also comes with environmental benefits, such as new technologies for EV and CAV. It is this type of innovation and action that will help Canada achieve its plan for a green recovery that fights climate change and builds a net-zero economy by investing in world-leading technologies that make industry cleaner.
FedDev Ontario’s investment will also leverage an additional $12.3 million in private sector and other matching funding and attract $40 million in new foreign direct investment to the region.
The investment builds on a $5-million investment announced in September 2019 to help IWE establish and catalyze the growth of a next-generation automobility cluster, attract investment to the region and create jobs of the future. The project initiated over 30 partnerships and projects to date, resulting in more than 300 new jobs created and nearly $50 million in funds leveraged for the region.
St. Clair College President Patti France praised the investment and noted the efforts to establish the region as the automobility capital of Canada is something College students will benefit from down the road. “Once our students are instilled with the background knowledge and skills of their disciplines, St. Clair’s task is to encourage them to look forward, to improve existing techniques and products, and to innovate new ones.This automobility project does precisely that, and I commend FedDev Ontario for its support and investment.
“St. Clair students and faculty in potentially dozens of programs have the potential to make research and development contributions to what could be one of the most important economic advancement initiatives to occur in our community in recent memory. We are excited to get started.”
Peter Wawrow, Director of Applied Research and Development, said the funding will provide St. Clair College with the capacity to address automobility technology and related advanced manufacturing, from project inception to commercialization.
“We will be able to engage more directly with industry partners, connecting them with our faculty and students. The funding will also allow us to dedicate resources to conduct research, innovation, and entrepreneurial projects, as well as curriculum development, which will provide a talent pipeline for the growing industry in the Windsor-Essex.
“We appreciate that FedDev has recognized the potential in this region and their funding will be a significant driver for us to realize that potential.”