WATERLOO — Startup companies involved with University of Waterloo incubators have produced $2.3 billion in revenue and created more than 7,500 jobs in about a decade, a new report from Deloitte Canada finds.
The report, released Friday, examined the university’s overall impact on the local, provincial and national economies. It concludes that UW’s operations contributed about $1.16 billion to Waterloo Region’s gross domestic product in the 2017-2018 fiscal year; $821 million of that is labour income.
University president Feridun Hamdullahpur said it was important for UW to quantify its impact beyond the benefits its academic programs and research activities provide. “When I look at it, dollar to dollar, I would say it’s spectacular.”
The 94-page Deloitte report is not the first economic impact study commissioned by UW, but it is the first to analyze the contributions of its entrepreneurship and co-operative education programs.
The findings may be on the conservative side, Hamdullahpur noted. “This is not a marketing document,” he said. “This is a reference point for us … We want to challenge us to do better.”
Deloitte looked at the university’s principal entrepreneurship programs, Velocity and the Accelerator Centre, in assessing impact.
The report found that Accelerator Centre alumni created 3,300 jobs between its inception in 2006 and 2018, with estimated revenues of $1 billion. Velocity, founded in 2008, was involved with startups that created roughly 4,270 jobs and generated $1.3 billion in revenue to 2018.
Many of those companies have matured into industry leaders. The top two firms in the recently released Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list — ApplyBoard and Intellijoint Surgical — have ties to UW incubators. The list ranks Canadian tech companies by three-year revenue growth.
Earlier this week, the Accelerator Centre was named accelerator of the year by the Digital Finance Institute at the Canadian FinTech & AI Awards for the second year in a row.
“We are proud to be a big part of this engine that powers this ecosystem,” Hamdullahpur said.