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Program aims to build Canada’s AI ecosystem


NEXT Canada, a national non-profit organization committed to advancing Canadian entrepreneurship, launched NextAI, a program designed to bring together Canadian and international talent in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). By providing seed capital, expert advice, and sector-specific tools, program participants will be prepared to launch AI solutions in growing technology markets around the world.

next-ai-canadaThe first of its kind program brings AI talent and entrepreneurs together with academic, corporate and government partners to further position Canada as a leader in the global race to establish centres of excellence in the commercial application of AI. NextAI launches with partners in government and the private sector, including NEXT Canada’s national partners EY, MasterCard, TD Group, and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt.

Access to technology platforms and organizational experts

The program will provide access to technology platforms and organizational experts from a growing number of companies, including Google, Microsoft, and IBM. Teams will receive up to $200,000 in seed financing to develop their technology, and will also receive hands-on instruction from faculty at the University of Toronto, Georgetown University, University of Guelph, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Harvard University.

“Canada has been at the forefront of artificial intelligence research for decades, and NEXT Canada has supported several AI-focused startups in past programs,” said Graham Taylor, academic director at NextAI. “The launch of NextAI means we’ll see the brightest minds from around the world creating industry-leading AI technology in Canada, cementing our place as a world leader in machine learning innovation.”

Program will culminate in an AI Demo Day

NextAI will run annually from February to September, recruiting up to 20 teams from graduate and undergraduate programs at top Canadian and international universities as well as industry professionals. The program will culminate in an AI Demo Day. NextAI applications are open today until January 5, 2017, and the program officially kicks off February 1, 2017.

“Canada is the perfect place to shine a light on AI technology since we have the right combination of researchers, companies, and entrepreneurs who are already investing heavily in the space,” said Sam Sebastian, Vice President and Country Director for Google Canada. “This is a win-win for anyone who believes in the potential of AI – it means state-of-the-art AI technology will be developed in our backyard and deployed to solve commercially and socially important problems.”

To learn more about NEXT Canada, visit www.nextcanada.com