Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards, and The Ottawa Hospital Create a Smart Health Sandbox to Propel the Commercial Potential of Life Sciences Innovations and Firms

Posted in Blog, News, Press Releases
Jun 11, 2019

Invest Ottawa, The Ottawa Hospital and Bayview Yards Logos

Ottawa, Ontario: June 11, 2019 – Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, together with Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s one-stop acceleration shop, and the Ottawa Hospital, one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals, today announced the creation of a new ‘Smart Health Sandbox’ that aims to help catalyze the commercialization and adoption of new life science innovations with the potential to improve patient outcomes.

This fully equipped collaboration lab will enable entrepreneurs, researchers, physicians, and clinicians to cooperate, experiment, design, develop, refine, integrate, test and validate life science innovations in a local hospital setting.

Combining life sciences and entrepreneurship capabilities and expertise, the Smart Health Sandbox supports a key goal established by Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and The Ottawa Hospital: The creation of an integrated, disruptive health tech ecosystem that catalyzes the growth and success of more life science firms in Ottawa.  In support of this objective, the organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that strengthens the existing relationship between Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, and The Ottawa Hospital, and proposes this new, high impact collaboration in digital health.

Prior to the establishment of the Smart Health Sandbox, Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards, and The Ottawa Hospital will launch a proof-of-concept Health Pre-Accelerator Pilot Project to test, explore and validate avenues of collaboration.  This pilot will include a boot camp that helps current and aspiring life science entrepreneurs validate their idea, conduct market assessments, discover customers, and create the blueprint for their business. It will also provide access to innovation hub facilities, prototyping capabilities, and specialized advisory and mentorship services.

The collaborators will initially implement the pilot at Bayview Yards and deliver the boot camp onsite at this innovation hub.  It will engage entrepreneurs, researchers, clinicians and physicians who have expressed interest in pursuing broader collaboration on life science innovation. The collaboration space for the Smart Health Sandbox will be established at the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital in the months ahead.

“Our strategic collaboration with The Ottawa Hospital builds directly on our strategic plan, and our goal to create new commercial opportunities for entrepreneurs and firms across our region,” said Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards. “Ottawa’s life science sector is anchored by 130 companies that employ more than 6,000 talented people. Our Smart Health Sandbox will help to grow this cluster by facilitating collaboration among tech developers and adopters; supporting the commercialization of promising innovations; and, accelerating the growth of high potential life science startups.”

“We are excited to work with our partners on this made-in-Ottawa approach to collaboration in healthcare innovation,” said Dr. Alan Forster, Vice President of Innovation and Quality at The Ottawa Hospital. “We see this collaboration as a win-win for healthcare in our region as we look to develop the right environment for new ideas and approaches to thrive.”

“We launched Welbi in collaboration with senior healthcare researchers to help transform the quality of care for retirees, enabling them to enjoy a higher quality of life,” said Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau, CEO and Co-Founder of Welbi. “We help retirement communities deliver exceptional and unique life experiences with our state-of-the-art recreational platform. We look forward to engaging Ottawa healthcare professionals through this Smart Health Sandbox to advance our mission and consistently enhance our offering.  The resulting insight, expertise and opportunity will help to accelerate the growth of our firm.”

This strategic trilateral collaboration builds directly on the outcomes of the Ottawa Digital Health Roundtable hosted by The Ottawa Hospital, Invest Ottawa, and Bayview Yards in September 2018. This event brought together more than 120 local researchers, physicians, clinicians and entrepreneurs, and facilitated discussion on opportunities to collaborate and co-create novel solutions that improve capacity, service delivery, and patient outcomes.  The establishment of a collaborative lab in the hospital environment was among the top recommendations emerging from this session.

This pilot project also leverages the Scale-up Platform announced and funded by FedDev Ontario in April 2019. Delivered by Invest Ottawa, MaRS Discovery District, Communitech and regional collaborators including the Ottawa Hospital this five-year program aims to help the highest growth Ontario tech firms scale, succeed and remain in Canada, fueling revenue, job and wealth creation.  It seeks to address key challenges facing these companies and provide specialized services and support that helps more high-potential firms become $100 million Canadian anchor firms. This includes companies in smart health in areas such as precision healthcare; virtual healthcare; digital health; and the business of healthcare

With a focus on three strategic, global market opportunities including smart health, smart government, smart cities (including connected and autonomous vehicles), this initiative supports Invest Ottawa’s vision of enabling Canada’s Capital Region to achieve its full potential as a globally recognized, future-focused, and innovative region; the best place to work, learn, live, and play.

About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in the City of Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally-recognized, innovative and future-ready city, and the best place to learn, work, live, and play, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development and global expansion programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training; mentorship; acceleration for technology firms; foreign business and investment attraction; local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors; commercialization; and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life.  Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of startups, scale-ups and SMEs; helped firms to attract more than $565 million in the capital; contributed to the creation of more than 7,670 jobs; and attracted more than $446 million in domestic and Foreign Direct Investment. For additional information, please visit

About The Ottawa Hospital

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals, with more than 1,200 beds, approximately 12,000 staff members and an annual budget of about $1.2 billion. Our focus on learning and research helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. The Ottawa Hospital has received the highest rating from Accreditation Canada, Accredited with Exemplary Standing, reflecting our commitment to provide the world-class, compassionate care we would want for our loved ones. From the compassion of our people to the relentless pursuit of discoveries, The Ottawa Hospital never stops seeking solutions to the most complex healthcare challenges.  For additional information, please visit

About Bayview Yards

Bayview Yards is Ottawa’s one-stop business acceleration shop and the first entrepreneurial hub of its kind in National Capital Region. An epicentre for job creation, Bayview Yards serves as the basecamp for some of Ottawa’s greatest homegrown technology talent, capabilities and companies. It is the ultimate ‘mashup’ of technical, business and market capabilities that help entrepreneurs and firms to launch, grow and thrive. Leveraging $38 million from the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, and more than $1.3 million from founding sponsors, Bayview Yards brings together many organizations that provide services and support to entrepreneurs and firms. This includes Invest Ottawa, anchor tenant and strategic partner, which delivers its economic development programs from this new home, and works with fellow academic, public and private sector partners. Harnessing the power of these partnerships, Bayview Yards assembles many ingredients for commercial success under one roof.  These include incubation and meeting space; business programs, services and support; prototyping tools, technologies and expertise; market linkages; and access to investment. These offerings will work together to accelerate business growth and success and stimulate new jobs and wealth creation in the Ottawa economy.  For more information, please visit

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