Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
Government of Canada

Common menu bar links

Centre for Commercialization of Research is Playing a Key Role Accelerating Commercialization in the Waterloo Area

ACE Logo

The Accelerator for Commercialization Excellence (ACE) is a unique partnership between the Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), the University of Waterloo (UW), and the Accelerator Centre. This joint venture provides one-stop access to technology transfer, business development and incubation services for researchers and start-up companies. Working as a single entity it streamlines the commercialization process for researchers, entrepreneurs, funders and industry partners in the Waterloo region. This enabling force allows new technologies to move to market faster, better, and with fewer hurdles, transforming innovation into viable commercial enterprises.

Set up shortly after the CCR was established in 2008, ACE is playing a key role in fulfilling CCR’s mandate of helping to grow innovative Canadian companies and accelerate the commercialization of leading edge technologies.

“This one partnership has been the cornerstone in the success of the CCR,” explains Dr. Mario Thomas, Managing Director, of the Centre for Commercialization of Research. “The Waterloo area is so rich in terms of innovation that this joint venture has enabled us to capitalize on the capacity of this region. ACE has been really pivotal in terms of leveraging this capacity.”

ACE provides students, researchers, entrepreneurs and technology start-ups with an integrated continuum of support and expertise. For entrepreneurs and budding technology start-ups or UW researcherswho want to protect and commercialize their intellectual property, ACE becomes the source for hands-on business mentoring, professional expertise and services, a connection point into a network of over 700 technology companies in the Waterloo Region. ACE can help by providing connections to capital, funding assistance, R&D support and outreach, technology transfer assistance and commercialization expertise.

“The ACE partnership is very synergistic; there is no overlap in the partners’ capabilities, so it is completely complementary,” explains Dr. Thomas.

Each partner contributes resources to the start-up companies being incubated.

The Accelerator Centre (AC) is a world-renowned, award-winning centre for the cultivation of technology entrepreneurship, providing full incubation services, including space, as well as broad programming and resources.
The Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR),a division of the Ontario Centres of Excellence, helps emerging companies navigate and excel at all stages of their growth, by providing the customized commercialization tools and resources needed, such as advisory services, connections, management and access to financing. 

UW’s Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo) partners with researchers at the university inprotecting intellectual property and commercializing new innovations arising from their research.

“ACE has been an extremely profitable joint venture and has generated so many positive outcomes; it has really been a win-win for the Accelerator Centre, the University of Waterloo and the Networks of Centres of Excellence,” says Dr. Thomas.

Since its inception, ACE has served 65 start-ups that have created 507 new jobs. In addition, these companies have generated $14.7 million of incremental sales revenues and have also obtained $50.1 million of follow-on capital investments from third-party investors.

“These are stellar achievements by any standard and have been made possible by the synergies created by the three joint venture partners,” adds Dr. Thomas.

“We are really proud of ACE.  And although we cannot repeat exactly the same thing in all regions, because the fabric of each region is different, it is a model that is scalable. The idea of partnering with existing capabilities in a region rather than starting from scratch is something that is very powerful. 

No one knows where this may lead, but CCR is hopeful that the ACE experience will inspire similar partnerships in other parts of Canada.


Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), a division of the Ontario Centres of Excellence, is funded by the federal government under the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) program.

Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo) is part of the University of Waterloo and located on the Waterloo Campus.

Accelerator Centre is funded through the federal and provincial governments, the CCR, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, the City of Waterloo, the University of Waterloo, and other industry and academic partners.

Return to newsletter menu