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What We Build: Helping Canada Lead The AI Race

Canada is recognized as a global Artificial Intelligence (AI) leader, and it reflects in government strategy and in the confidence investors show in its economy. In 2017, Canada became the first country in the world to release a national AI strategy, and in 2021 the federal budget has earmarked up to $443.8 million over 10 years to advance research and innovation in the AI field.

The government has co-sponsored Scale AI, a program aimed at investing in companies across a range of industries that are deploying AI to enhance their supply chain with a collective investment of $232 million. Not surprisingly, AI firms represent basic models of innovation in Canada. According to the University of Toronto in January 2020, the number of active firms with a flagship product or service that implements AI in Canada has doubled in the past five years to over 660. Ontario leads overall in the number of pure-play AI firms with 361 companies, compared with 131 in Quebec and 103 in British Columbia.

The growth in the number of AI companies has coincided with a larger technology boom in Toronto, home to 240,000 technology workers in 2019—a 52% increase in five years—and now ranks ahead of New York City. Canada also leads the world in the number of AI patents. Toronto is the fastest growing VC hub in the world with most investments going to start-ups coming from industries such as IT consulting, fintech, adtech, medical equipment, cannabis, digital healthcare and real estate tech. Other AI centers in Canada include Montreal, Vancouver, Waterloo, Calgary, Quebec and Ottawa.

PGA assists clients, from ideation to revenue stage, in entering the Canadian technology ecosystem and prospering in Canadian markets. This requires a deep understanding of the opportunities and the essence of the Canadian economy. Strong emphasis is put on AI, big data and digitization. Understanding the market for their product in Canada becomes essential for new entrants, and that’s where PGA comes in. PGA has successfully supported several ventures to get accepted into leading Canadian incubators and raise funding from North American angel investor groups. Even at the ideation stage, PGA has successfully modified business plans of clients in traditional sectors like agriculture and construction to give them an element of innovation in AI technologies and gain competitiveness in their respective industries. No matter the industry, our understanding of trending technologies, the Canadian business and regulatory landscapes as well as government’s strategic goals, enables us to provide excellent service to clients from across the world, with a strong track record of success.