Kingston’s Startup Ecosystem Landscape
Kingston, Ontario, is an excellent destination for starting up a business. An excellent advantage is the city’s proximity to the American border, while at the same time, is less than two hours’ ride from Canada’s densely populated cities of Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. The geographical location offers startups with around 14,000,000 people ready market access.
The multicultural City of Kingston houses a population of close to 200,000 and provides startups access to a highly-skilled talent pool. The city is cosmopolitan, offering startups easy access to the global markets and an inclusive environment with diverse nationalities and beliefs that have thrived over the past under an established corporate culture.
The area around Kingston is the third-largest GDP concentration in North America. Perched at the western end of the St. Lawrence Seaway, Kingston is home to many famous heritage sites. Within a small radius around the city thrives a population of around 200,000.
The Kingston Economic Development Corporation has made substantial investments to create and establish ties with the United States through the Kingston-Syracuse pathway. Focusing on economic development, the collaboration between Queen’s University, Kingston, universities in Syracuse and New York facilitates regional economic development strategies for startups working in health, innovation and cleantech. This initiative has developed a corridor for Kingston-based startups trying to enter the US market.
Kingston boasts of countless startups working in the fields of clean technologies, biotech and life sciences, smart cities, software technologies, food and agriculture. The city’s local business community and research organizations, backed by industry-friendly government initiatives, are paving the way for a robust economy.
With its world-class post-graduate institutes, the city readily avails rich human capital to startups. Notable institutes like Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College and Royal Military College enable startups with ready access to faculty and research opportunities. Around 30,000 students graduate from these institutes yearly, providing ready human capital for its startups.
Kingston is welcoming startups with facilities like GreenCentre Canada incubating chemical startups at its multi-million dollar lab and helps them in scaling up by making them work closely with top chemical engineers of the world.
Moreover, the local government is extremely involved with local businesses in Kingston, minimizing the risk for entrepreneurs, offering resources and events and setting up programs to encourage startup formation and improving the startup infrastructure. The story of Kingston’s startup ecosystem is a successful one. This is an ecosystem that knows how to market itself, implement policies for startups and offer well-thought incentives.
Kingston houses many startups providing innovative solutions for various national and international issues. Notable among the lists of startups are as follows:
Li-Cycle – The startup has developed a creative solution for recovering critical constituents from lithium-ion batteries and restoring them to the supply chain. It aims at mitigating waste generation as Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are increasingly powering our world and meeting the fast-rising demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.
Distributive - The startup has developed the Distributed Computer Protocol (DCP), a distributed High-Performance Computing framework built on web technology. DCP allows hospitals, universities, governments and enterprises to run data processing, predictive analytics and smart applications ﹣ without the cloud.
Tecta-PDS - The startup has developed a fully automated Pathogen Detection system to perform on-site regulatory compliance testing for E. coli and Total Coliform bacteria in the drinking water distribution system. It is the world’s first EPA-approved microbiological water quality testing mechanism.
Elantra - Elentra is a cloud-based teaching aid, scheduling system and assessment tool all-in-one. Elentra was originally developed at Queen’s University and now used all around the world. Elentra empowers academic institutions to train the next generation of health-care professionals to better serve patients and advance medical research.
Octane - Powering transformative healthcare, the startup provides the most advanced bioreactors, bioprocesses and biomaterials required for regenerative medicine.
Kingston offers several accelerators to help startups navigate the local landscape and scale up globally. Following are some of the most prominent accelerators and incubators of the city.
Compass North - Created in partnership with Queen’s University and hosted by L-Spark, Compass North is a Kingston-based five-month accelerator program for women-led companies.
Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Center - The Queen’s University established the innovation center to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among students and budding entrepreneurs from the city. The center provides access to incubators, accelerators and workshops for startups prying for mentorship.
Launch Lab - It is a unique program designed by entrepreneurs to support newcomers. It brings entrepreneurs face to face with experienced business owners for one-to-one mentoring and supervision for setting up a successful venture. Having a team of experienced entrepreneurs, the program offers advisory services.
FedDev Ontario - The federal economic development agency (FedDev) has put in $3 million in Kingston to place it as a destination for testing, developing and commercializing innovative healthcare solutions. Besides this investment, the agency has funded WE-CAN to empower and support aspiring women-identifying entrepreneurs by availing the proper infrastructure.
KPM Accelerate - It is a first of its kind chemical accelerator program for startups. It provides backing to incubated startups and SMEs trying to disrupt the field of chemical processing, advanced materials, chemical energy and material transformation.
Sanctuary coworking: Located in a historic Kingston church, Sanctuary Coworking is housed in a beautiful limestone structure. Built in 1864, the workspace preserves its function as a hub for collective learning, shared experiences and community gatherings.
Seaway coworking: Seaway Coworking space is a flexible office solution that hosts several business accelerator programs for innovation and entrepreneurship in downtown Kingston.
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