$4.7 million in Project Funding Allocated as Circle Innovation Program Helps Healthtech SMEs Make Critical Health Advancements

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With the support of PacifiCan, 37 B.C.-based companies receive funding supporting projects focused on technologies in healthcare.

VANCOUVER, BC, Nov. 17, 2023 /CNW/ – Circle Innovation Solutions, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating technology solutions and innovation, is proud to announce the SME projects selected for its Healthtech SME Program – a ground-breaking initiative designed to support tech entrepreneurs’ product development, facilitating their growth and the commercialization of critical patient-empowering technologies within the healthcare sector. The program was made possible through a $4.7 million contribution from PacifiCan, the Government of Canada’s economic development agency for British Columbia. The Healthtech SME Program aims to enhance the competitiveness of British Columbia’s tech industry serving the healthcare sector, with the ultimate goal of bolstering robust economic growth and creating high value jobs for British Columbians.

With the $4.7 million in PacifiCan funding, supplemented by a $2 million contribution from industry partners, the $6.7 million has been allocated to 46 projects from 37 companies, ranging from $13,000 to $229,000. Emerging technologies that have advanced as a result of this funding include the application of SaaS in healthcare, addressing the needs of patients and caregivers to improve their quality of life, and employing technology, ultimately alleviating the ongoing challenges within the healthcare sector.

Working together with Simon Fraser University (SFU), this flagship endeavour extends eligible companies’ access to Circle Innovation’s network of healthcare technology experts, empowering them to expedite product development, scale their businesses, gain a deeper understanding of user requirements, explore new markets, and spearhead innovative technological solutions.

British Columbia is fertile ground for companies to innovate and grow,” said the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada. “By investing in Circle Innovation’s Healthtech SME Program, we are creating quality jobs, unleashing new ideas, helping B.C.-made products find global success, and building the economy of the future.”

“Since partnering with these visionary entrepreneurs, we’ve witnessed numerous healthtech organizations expand their presence, advance their technologies and speed to market, while connecting with other changemakers in their fields – many of which address top concerns for health-related care in B.C.,” said Dr. Sylvain Moreno, Chief Executive Officer, and Scientific Director of Circle Innovation. “What’s also become evident through the implementation of this program is the impact an innovative model like ours can have and how it can develop a robust industry ecosystem. We’re excited to see how this program will continue to expand through our partnership with PacifiCan and industry stakeholders.” 

Among the projects are:

  • MetaOptima, who is investing resources into its skin magnifier product called DermEngine, which uses artificial intelligence to help dermatologists remotely zero in on potential cases of cancer, while turning an ordinary iPhone into a medical imaging tool capable of detecting early-stage melanoma.
  • Human in Motion Robotics, a next-generation exoskeleton that empowers individuals with motion disabilities to walk freely and independently.
  • AltumView, a privacy-preserving smart activity sensor that employs artificial intelligence technology to monitor the whereabouts of individuals within their homes. Stick figures preserve privacy while facilitating the monitoring of aging adults by families and care providers.
  • Tuktu Care, a community-powered care provider that leverages SaaS technology to create meaningful connections between caregivers and care recipients needing home-based care.

The ongoing collaboration between PacifiCan and Circle Innovation is poised to generate approximately 85 jobs, provide training for over 600 workers in British Columbia, and bolster the growth of over 40 SMEs, with the goal of generating $14 million in revenue within the province by 2025.

“Circle Innovation plays a pivotal role in connecting SMEs in British Columbia with consumers, technology providers, and academia,” added Dr. Moreno. “We are proud of our track record over the past seven years in fostering a vibrant tech industry ecosystem in B.C.”

Other recipients of the funding include prominent companies such as myMomentum, Cambian, Excelar Technologies, CSN Pharma, Ayogo Health, Birota, Care2Talk, Curatio, VitaminLabs, Tickit Health, OkaSciences, MindfulGarden, ThyForLife, Charlie Wellbeing, Cortico Health, Careteam Technologies, Rostrum Medical Innovations, Variational AI, iClinic, HEADCHECK Health, Difinity Solutions, and Scanbo.

For more information about Circle Innovation and their Healthtech SME Program, please visit www.circleinnovation.ca.

Quotes:

Dr. Dugan O’Neil, Vice-president, Research and International, Simon Fraser University – “Collaborating with Circle Innovation to bring the Healthtech SME Program to life has been integral to the growth of healthtech organizations in the province and influenced the development of varying industry programs. We have taken inspiration from the successes of the Circle Innovation model and extended its application to the field of agritech through the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation, hosted at SFU. Supporting the growth of SMEs is of paramount importance for the economic well-being of British Columbia.”

Dr. Maryam Sadeghi, Co-Founder and CEO, MetaOptima – “Programs like this are a great example of collaboration between different levels of government, academia, and industry leaders to drive concrete innovation forward. We are excited to support organizations like Circle Innovation, while working closely with PacifiCan to scale MetaOptima’s innovative solutions across the globe.” 

Dr. Siamak Arzanpour, Co-Founder and CEO of Human in Motion Robotics – “Circle’s scientific expertise, funding networks, and academic partnerships, helped us to build a strong foundation for our groundbreaking exoskeleton technology, which not only offers independent human mobility but also revolutionizes the standard of care for patients and clinicians. This partnership helps champion our commitment to become the global epicentre for wearable robotic technologies, and we look forward to continuing this journey with Circle Innovation by our side.”

Dr. Jie Liang, CEO and Founder, AltumView – “Circle Innovation’s Healthtech SME Program, coupled with the generous support of PacifiCan and industry partners, has fostered a prosperous healthtech community across British Columbia. These collaborative efforts are putting companies like AltumView on the map through the connections being made between partners, government, within business, and non-profit sectors.” 

Mr. Rustam Sengupta, Founder and CEO, Tuktu Care – “We believe that partnership is a powerful tool to drive progress in the healthcare industry. This project reflects our commitment to work alongside Circle Innovation to offer the healthcare industry some of the most efficient and effective care management technologies for older adults using AI and community power.” 

About Circle Innovation Solutions

Circle Innovation – incorporated as AGE-WELL National Innovation Hub Foundation BC – dba Circle Innovation Solutions – is a non-profit founded in 2016 that facilitates technology solutions and innovation. Circle helps companies connect with consumers, tech providers and other stakeholders to solve R&D challenges, grow revenues, create jobs, and develop emerging technologies across Canada. Circle works closely with a broad group of stakeholders including government agencies, healthcare organizations, local communities, industry, academia, and scientists. Together, they define IP guidelines and develop common principles and protocols in the interest of improving technology commercialization across Canada. Founding members of Circle Innovation are Simon Fraser University, Canada’s leading university in research and innovation, as well as AGE-WELL, Canada’s federally- funded technology and aging network.

About Simon Fraser University

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU works with communities, organizations, and partners to create, share and embrace knowledge that improves life and generates real change. We deliver a world-class education with lifelong value that shapes change-makers, visionaries, and problem-solvers. We connect research and innovation to entrepreneurship and industry to deliver sustainable, relevant solutions to today’s problems. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities—Vancouver, Burnaby, and Surrey—SFU has eight faculties that deliver 364 undergraduate degree programs and 149 graduate degree programs to more than 37,000 students. The university now boasts more than 180,000 alumni residing in 145+ countries.

SOURCE Circle Innovation Solutions

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