CDMN News Article

Coral CEA is Helping Create Companies and Foster Innovation in Canada

By on Mar 19, 2012 / Categories: CDMN News, Featured

Last month, Ottawa-based Coral CEA, a not-for-profit Open Innovation Network composed of member companies and organizations focused on advancing platform solutions in communications, invested $120,000 in four companies located at the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University. Coral CEA is considering support for more firms at the DMZ as well as other companies across Ontario.

Founded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, Carleton University, IBM, GENBAND, Eclipse Foundation and ITAC, the Coral CEA mandate is to create sustainable companies and jobs in Ontario by supporting members in the commercialization of new products and services. In a very innovative addition to the Coral CEA business model they use an Open Innovation model where member companies share experience and technologies to help one another move even faster to commercialization.

We spoke with Brian Forbes, Executive Director at Coral CEA about what qualities a business must have to attract investments, and how to foster innovation in Canada.

Platform Collaboration is the key to Canada’s startup ecosystem
“When you see good teams that are open to sharing and collaborating within a startup ecosystem, you know they are focused on execution,” says Forbes. “We are attracted to teams who are ‘getting it done’ versus talking about innovation and we want this type of collaboration to set a new standard in Ontario.”

By investing in Canadian teams, technology and intellectual property in new markets, Forbes believes Coral CEA will help foster the startup ecosystem in Canada. “As we invest in more organizations – from startups in a garage to multinationals, we see a lot of technology and business opportunity occur through platform partnerships,” he says. “We started off opportunistically by funding a broad spectrum of businesses but we are now looking at how we can leverage our investments in specific market ecosystems – provided they all help to grow business and jobs in Canada.”

Innovation will drive Canada’s success in the global economy
Currently, Canada ranks 14 out of 17 nations for innovation. To move up in the rankings, Forbes believes that Canadian startups need to focus on growing areas of innovation where we have the best opportunity to succeed – including the development of mobile and SaaS platforms for enterprise and healthcare.

“Canada is a resource-rich nation, including knowledge resources. We also have a rich history of innovation, especially in communications. Communications innovation will help refine knowledge resources, adding value for global export,” argues Forbes. “Multinational organizations love coming to Canada and investing in our knowledge resources because we innovate and add value in practical and pragmatic ways.”

To date, Coral CEA has assisted more than 70 Canadian companies to capitalize on open innovation. Forbes says that Coral CEA is always looking for new opportunities and partnerships. For more information go to



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