WATERLOO, Ont. (Friday, April 12, 2013) – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and BlackBerry Co-Founder Mike Lazaridis will headline a University of Waterloo-hosted conference aimed at building a plan for economic growth and prosperity for Ontario and Canada – with Waterloo’s model for innovation at its heart.

The Leadership Innovation Conference, taking place April 22 and 23, brings together leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, academics and policy-makers from across North America that will help shape Canada’s economic future. The conference will explore new approaches to supporting entrepreneurial ventures that are key drivers of economic prosperity in Canada.

“International competition faced by Canadian companies is at an all-time high.  The need for innovation in this country is critical,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president & vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “We believe that we have created an ecosystem in Waterloo Region that mixes basic research, entrepreneurialism and venture capital successfully. Waterloo’s Leadership Innovation Conference will look for ways in which we can sustain this vibrant ecosystem and use it as a model for prosperity nationwide.”

Premier Wynne will deliver a keynote speech on the first day of the invitation-only event. Sukhinder Singh-Cassidy, CEO of JOYOUS, will join her with a keynote speech addressing the challenges of hyper-growth and Kevin Lynch, chairman of the Waterloo’s Board of Governors, will review the Ontario Prosperity Report.

Mr. Lazardis, inventor of the smartphone and co-founder of the recently announced Quantum Valley Investment Fund, headlines a second day session that reviews the model for innovation that has become the engine for the Quantum Valley in the Waterloo Region. As part of the session, experts explain why the selection of quantum information as a focus gives the region a unique opportunity to be one of a handful of centres globally that will lead the coming quantum technology revolution. 

“I believe Ontario and Canada, as a whole, have tremendous potential for economic growth through technological innovation. In history there are many examples where brilliant minds have been brought together to collaborate on a specific area of focus. Breakthroughs and opportunities for innovation and value creation almost always follow,” said Mr. Lazaridis, speaking about the conference. “The investments that we have made in this region to establish the world class capability in quantum information science is based on this historically proven model for innovation.”

Other speakers at the conference include:

  • Anamitra Banerji - Partner, Foundation Capital
  • Alfred Lin - Partner, Sequoia Capital
  • Jon Gertner – Editor, Fast Company
  • Tom Jenkins – Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer, OpenText Corporation
  • Prashant Pathak - Managing Partner, ReichmannHauer Capital Partners
  • Bill Tatham - CEO, NexJ Systems
  • Amar Varma - CEO & Co-Founder, Xtreme Labs
  • Helge Seezten - CEO, Tandem Launch

Research, entrepreneurialism and venture capital all have a vital role to play in fuelling economic growth and prosperity for Ontario, Canada and the world. The Leadership Innovation Conference promises high-impact analysis and policy-relevant ideas from top-tier thought leaders.

Full details of the conference including a full list of speakers can be found at: https://uwaterloo.ca/leadership-innovation-conference/

Media who wish attend the event should contact Nick Manning, University of Waterloo Media Relations, on 226-929-7627 or email nmanning@uwaterloo.ca.

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