Contributing to economic development and diversification in an age of digital transformation

Recipient: Town of Cobourg
Region: Cobourg, ON
Total Funding Allocated: $400,000

A view of the Venture13 building.

Situated along the Eastern Ontario innovation corridor, Venture13 “defines the small-town success story.” In 2018, with the help of a FedDev Ontario investment of $400,000, the Town of Cobourg transformed an under-utilized 30,000 square foot building into a thriving entrepreneurship centre, housing co-working space and an Innovation Commons.

“Strategic funding from FedDev Ontario crucially galvanized partnerships that moved at the speed of trust to create Venture13 and this has led to impacts that continue to scale,” said Wendy Curtis, Executive Director, Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation. “Venture13 is an important inflection point for regional economic development and diversification.”

Cobourg’s Venture13 boasts 24/7 secure access, fibre optic connection, a mechatronics-focused MakerLab for prototyping, engineering and design, an eighty-seat demo hall, electric vehicle charging station, solar microgrid, co-working space, seminar rooms and flex offices. It is home to Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC), Northumberland Makers, Northumberland Manufacturers Association and the Cobourg Police Service business unit, which is Canada’s leading national wholesale provider of online Criminal Record Checks. The centre also boasts Canada’s first Microfactory Co-operative and first-of-its-kind Policetech Accelerator. These initiatives have supported technology companies to emerge in smaller communities, provided access to small-scale prototyping and manufacturing for entrepreneurs, and generated innovative solutions that benefit public safety. Venture13 is more than just a building. It is a regional platform of opportunity for entrepreneurs who are creating the industries of the future.

“Venture13 is passionate about entrepreneurship and creating local jobs to adapt to the new world we live in,” said Nisha Sarveswaran, Chair of the Board of the Microfactory Co-operative. “We now have three engineers working out of the MakerLab who are designing and building hardware and we are so excited and grateful for the Venture13 space to leverage this. It is incredible for any start-up or company to have access to these facilities and partnerships.”

Since opening its doors in May 2018, and with essential service and emergency PPE production operations maintained securely and continuously throughout the pandemic, Venture13 currently hosts 14 active companies in the VentureZone co-working space with more than 22 employees. Over 10,000 visitors have been welcomed to Venture13 which has hosted over 500 events (in person and virtually) including tech talks, hackathons, the N100 startup competition, coding and robotics workshops, advisory sessions, planning meetings and community events including fireside chats on topics ranging from smart cities to sustainability. Northumberland Makers offer STE(A)M summer camps and week night educational workshops for youth. Regional innovation centres, post-secondary institutions, angel investors and other Eastern Ontario innovation corridor organizations provide programming at Venture13.

Venture13 previously partnered with journalist and influencer Takara Small, VentureKids Canada and Northeastern University Toronto Campus to launch TECHimmersivE: a project that brought young people from Northumberland to the downtown offices of tech giants, Microsoft Canada and LinkedIn. The students benefited from experiential learning in coding, STEM and entrepreneurship, culminating in a pitch session with the US Consul-General in Toronto.

Venture13 is strengthening the Eastern Ontario corridor and contributing to economic development and diversification in an age of digital transformation.

“Venture13 represents new ways of bringing people together, creating value and adapting to technological change in a way that creates momentum, opportunity and jobs,” said His Worship, John Henderson, Mayor of the Town of Cobourg. “On behalf of Cobourg Council I would like to thank Northumberland CFDC and FedDev Ontario for being our major partners in realizing this mission and vision for our community.”

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Venture13 is an important inflection point for regional economic development and diversification.
Wendy Curtis, Executive Director, Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation