Women in Canadian Manufacturing

ventureLAB’s Avinash Persaud weighs in on semiconductors and advanced mfg.

February 27, 2024
By Canadian Manufacturing
Presented by:
Women in Manufacturing

Avinash Persaud (Credit: ventureLAB)

Canadian Manufacturing sat down with Avinash Persaud, ventureLAB’s VP of the Hardware Catalyst Initiative, to speak about the state of advanced manufacturing in Canada, specifically with regards to semiconductor and hardware manufacturing.

On Feb. 23, the federal government had announced more than $17.2M for quantum projects in Ont., trying to buttress a hardware manufacturing industry centred around advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies.

The companies that received some sort of funding were AI Incorporated, CogniFrame Inc., Crypto4A Technologies Inc., Foqus Technologies Inc., ForeQast Technologies Limited, GoodLabs Studio Inc., High Q Technologies Inc., ISARA Corp, ProteinQure Inc., Qoherent Inc., Quantropi Inc. and Xanadu Quantum Technologies Inc.

“There’s a broad impact to anybody anywhere in the world when it comes to the need for chips and semiconductors. You will not be a G7 country if you don’t have a strong semiconductor sector. Even if you’re not involved in the industry directly, you’re still impacted by the sector through what it brings to the economy and developing tech sector.”

On Feb 19, just south of the border, the Biden administration announced that it would be providing $1.5 billion to the computer chip company GlobalFoundries to expand its domestic production in New York and Vermont.

The announcement is the third award of direct financial support for a semiconductor company under the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act. The law enables the government to invest more than $52 billion to revitalize the manufacturing of computer chips in the United States as well as advance research and development.

Avinash mentions how this directly effects Canada.

“The Bromont, Que. tech sector, where advanced packaging and flip chip manufacturing occurs, has been aligned to support the U.S. semiconductor investments. There are direct and derivative impacts for us. Recent studies have shown that for every semiconductor professional in the job market, there are 5.7 jobs created in the broader economy.”

With the global reliance on chips, and start-ups across Canada trying to scale up and support manufacturing’s transition to Industry 4.0, Avinash was asked what he’d like to see from a regulations perspective that could help to support that growth.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a regulatory challenge per say, but we’d like to establish a more conducive ecosystem. FedDev and the provincial government in Ont. has been huge with its contributions towards us and helping start-ups with its advanced manufacturing challenges, but there are opportunities with IP programs and a more streamlined tech transfer process in universities that we can jump on.”

Avinash went on to say that “There are a lot of ideas in universities that entrepreneurs can commercialize on. It’s like having money under the mattress. It becomes worthless over time, but it can be put towards the industry’s growth right now.”

ventureLAB has a number of companies under its portfolio currently relying on chips, and Avinash says that the start-ups are working to serve manufacturers as opposed to having some sort of rule over them.

The full conversation with Avinash Persaud, the VP of the Hardware Catalyst Initiative, can be found on our home page under Podcasts.