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Ontario Centre of innovation

Where Next Happens

Claudia Krywiak
August 6, 2023

Learn from our community entrepreneurs! In this interview, Claudia Krywiak shares the story of building and growing Ontario Centre of innovation, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Hi! Tell us about your business and what problem are you solving?

    The Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) is an ecosystem connector that brings together industry, academic, and government partners to invest in collaborative R&D, technology development, and commercialization opportunities that generate the highest return on innovation for Ontarians. We drive economic growth and job creation through investments in the development, commercialization, and adoption of advanced technologies.

  • What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

    Since joining OCI in 2011, I have championed innovation as a key driver of competitiveness, productivity, and economic growth. I've led the development and deployment of large-scale strategic initiatives that brought together multiple levels of government, post-secondary institutions, anchor firms, and startups to fuel growth in emerging technology areas, including artificial intelligence, autonomous and electric vehicles, 5G and next generation networks, cybersecurity, and clean technologies.

    Prior to joining OCI, I was the Vice President, Business Development at Mitacs, a national research organization that funds research and training programs. I started my career at Bruker Corporation, a world-leading manufacturer of scientific instruments for molecular research and industrial analysis.

  • How do you motivate yourself to keep going every day?

    I’m inspired by the entrepreneurs and innovators that we work with every day and the incredible technologies that they are developing to address some of the toughest challenges of our time

  • What's your one biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

    Driving impact that not only benefits the individual companies and entrepreneurs that OCI supports, but also drives transformation at the system/sector level

  • What’s your one biggest challenge you face and how do you overcome it?

    One of the biggest challenges is keeping pace with technological advancements and staying at the leading edge of innovation, because things move quickly. I overcome this by operating with a feet on the ground mindset. I ensure OCI has a team of business development and innovation experts that are deployed across Ontario to bring potential collaborators together to develop and commercialize new technologies.

  • What are your hiring strategies to build a successful business?

    - Define clear job roles

    - Prioritize company culture

    - Provide growth and development opportunities

  • To anyone looking to start or grow a business today, what three tips would you give them?

    - Identify a problem to solve/find a real problem or pain point that customers are facing in the market

    - Build a strong team

    - Focus on the customer/user experience

  • Where can we go to learn more about your business?

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