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FedDev Ontario invests in Canada’s first automobility accelerator in Windsor-Essex

News Release
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

$7.5 million for Invest WindsorEssex to support 1,350 entrepreneurs and scaling firms in the automobility sector and attract $40 million in foreign direct investment

May 19, 2021, Windsor, Ontario, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) 

As a centre for automotive and advanced manufacturing excellence, the Windsor-Essex region is harnessing momentum to strengthen its developing automobility cluster. The Government of Canada continues to make investments to support its success in high-tech development, research and innovation, amid and beyond the pandemic.

Today, Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario, announced a FedDev Ontario non-repayable contribution of $7.5 million for Invest WindsorEssex (IWE) to establish Canada’s first world-class automobility accelerator.

Leveraging the region’s roots in automotive manufacturing, IWE will bring together key stakeholders in the Windsor-Essex region to support the development of secure, zero emissions vehicles technologies.

With this investment, IWE will offer a full spectrum of first-in-Canada training and other programming to support the upskilling of 1,350 automobility entrepreneurs and scaling firms. Tailored to the needs of start-ups and scale-ups in the automobility ecosystem, with a focus on electric vehicles (EV), connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV), and cyber security firms, this support will help entrepreneurs to accelerate the commercialization of their technologies while positioning the region as a hub for automobility innovation and investment.

The project also comes with environmental benefits, such as new technologies for EV and CAV. It is this type of innovation and action that will help Canada achieve its plan for a green recovery that fights climate change and builds a net-zero economy by investing in world-leading technologies that make industry cleaner.

FedDev Ontario’s investment will also leverage an additional $12.3 million in private sector and other matching funding, and attract $40 million in new foreign direct investment to the region. 

Today’s investment builds on an initial $5-million FedDev Ontario investment, announced in September 2019 to help IWE establish and catalyze the growth of a next-generation automobility cluster, attract investment to the region and create jobs of the future. The project initiated over 30 partnerships and projects to date, resulting in more than 300 new jobs created and nearly $50 million in funds leveraged for the region.


“Today’s announcement furthers the local economic development strategy of the Windsor-Essex region to anchor its growth around a developing automobility cluster—one that will support 1,350 entrepreneurs and companies and attract $40 million in foreign direct investment here to Windsor-Essex. The far-reaching results of FedDev Ontario’s investments can be seen in small-and medium-sized businesses across the region that are successfully weathering COVID-19 and building resilience for the future.” – Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh

“With FedDev Ontario support, entrepreneurs and SMEs in the automobility sector across Windsor-Essex will have access to a full spectrum of programming at the first automobility accelerator in Canada. Our government is committed to advancing the world-class automobility innovation cluster in the region, while doing what is necessary to accelerate the transition to net zero future. We continue to make investments to create jobs, help Canada build capacity and stay at the forefront of technology as we build back better.” – The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The Windsor-Essex region is the “Automobility Capital of Canada.” This investment builds upon the success of our existing initiatives and allows us to develop new action plans and enhance current programming in the automobility entrepreneurship space. Capitalizing on our location advantages, highly skilled workforce and growing automobility sector, this funding will continue to encourage diversification and continued prosperity in Windsor-Essex.” – Stephen MacKenzie, CEO and President, Invest WindsorEssex

“Once our students are instilled with the background knowledge and skills of their disciplines, St. Clair’s task is to encourage them to look forward, to improve existing techniques and products, and to innovate new ones. This automobility project does precisely that, and I commend FedDev Ontario for its support and investment. St. Clair students and faculty in potentially dozens of programs have the potential to make research and development contributions to what could be one of the most important economic advancement initiatives to occur in our community in recent memory. We are excited to get started.” – Patti France, President, St. Clair College

“Today’s announcement recognizes the unique position of the University of Windsor in supporting the Windsor-Essex region as the “Automobility Capital of Canada.” With a mandate of secure, zero-emission movement of people, goods and services, using advanced information technology, the University of Windsor will expand on collaborative efforts with academic and industry partners in such areas as vehicle cybersecurity and safety; electric vehicle powertrain commercialization; Next-Gen Chief Technology Officer (CTO) programming to train students and entrepreneurs in the fundamentals of intellectual property; and the development of degree-related programs and courses in V2X, simulation and other associated technologies. The funding announced today not only acknowledges the tremendous potential of University of Windsor research and teaching—it is a vote of confidence for the Windsor-Essex region.” – Robert Gordon, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Windsor

“Startups, scaleups and entrepreneurs play an important role in the development and success of the automobility innovation cluster. Through this partnership with FedDev Ontario and regional partners, WEtech Alliance will build on its history of supporting startup and scaling companies, ensuring made-in-Canada solutions can emerge with the support of Windsor-Essex’s dynamic automobility ecosystem.” – Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO, WEtech Alliance

“This substantial new funding will help Windsor stay competitive in a rapidly changing global marketplace and continue the excellent work already started to position Windsor-Essex as a leader in the fourth industrial revolution. It also aligns perfectly with Windsor Works, our new strategy to diversify and strengthen our economy.” – Drew Dilkens, Mayor, City of Windsor

“This investment will help solidify Windsor-Essex as the “Automobility Capital of Canada,” where we are building a stronger, more diversified economy on a foundation of automotive excellence. This investment will create jobs, foster innovation, support our growing entrepreneurial sector and work to reduce emissions in service of a greener, sustainable economy.” – Warden Gary McNamara, County of Essex

Quick Facts

  • Automobility refers to the secure, zero-emission movement of people, goods and services using advanced information technologies. It includes emerging automotive technologies, such as electric, autonomous and connected vehicles, as well as related enabling sectors such as cyber security.
  • This project brings together the key regional economic development stakeholders in Windsor-Essex, including the City of WindsorCounty of EssexSt. Clair CollegeUniversity of Windsor and WEtech Alliance.
  • Today’s investment aligns priorities outlined in Budget 2021 to accelerate the transition to net-zero future and decarbonize industrial supply chains. It also aligns with priorities outlined in Budget 2021 that build on the Strategic Innovation Fund’s existing resources, including $3 billion over five years to target investments in important areas of future growth over the coming years to advance multiple strategic objectives for the Canadian economy.
  • Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested over $74 million in 89 projects in the Essex census division.

Associated Links

FedDev Ontario

Invest WindsorEssex

Windsor-Essex reinvents the wheel with new automobility innovation cluster


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
[email protected]

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
[email protected]

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