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Southlake’s “Dragons’ Den” Gets a Home

Growing Hospital Incubator Opens Doors to Innovation in Newmarket

October 23, 2015


What started out as a Dragons’-Den-style gauntlet to quickly find innovative ideas to improve the lives of patients is now the future of healthcare innovation, as Southlake Regional Health Centre today opened its permanent offices for CreateIT Now at Southlake.

Located on the Southlake campus just steps from the Hospital’s main building, CreateIT Now is a full-fledged incubator launched in partnership with the Town of Newmarket, ventureLAB, Seneca College, York University, and York Region, to foster innovation in the healthcare sector and serve as a catalyst for a health tech business cluster in Newmarket.

In addition to the business advice one would expect from an incubator, CreateIT Now offers innovation clients and entrepreneurs access to working space, meeting rooms, and, most importantly, access tothe Hospital. This is a key differentiator when it comes to the economic development of the region.

In Ontario, up to 90% of healthcare startups fail in large part because they cannot break through the barrier to access to the healthcare system while developing their product. CreateIT Now provides unprecedented access to a clinically advanced, full-service hospital in which to test new products and get advice from those working on the front lines of healthcare.

The incubator is working with a range of entrepreneurs, eager to evaluate the effectiveness of their ideas and see if their product can solve some of the challenges of our complex healthcare system. For example:

  • SterileCare is a fresh startup based in Newmarket developing a better way to avoid infections.
  • Inideo, founded by Southlake interventional cardiologist Dr. Sylvan Plante, offers a cardiac specific electronic medical record.
  • Kronos is a Winnipeg-based social networking company bringing its technology to link healthcare providers and improve clinical communication in the hospital environment.



"As a launching pad for high-impact initiatives, CreateIT Now at Southlake will provide the perfect venue for healthcare–focused innovators to get into North American markets.

“York Region is a place where innovation happens. CreateIT Now allows leading-edge life science companies to work side by side with the hospital’s world class clinicians and physicians, which will accelerate the process and help entrepreneurs succeed faster.”

- Wayne Emmerson, York Region Chairman and CEO

“As a launching pad for high-impact initiatives, CreateIT Now at Southlake will provide the perfect venue for healthcare–focused innovators to get into North American markets.

Consistent with our Economic Development Strategy, CreateIT Now will open doors for big ideas and breakthroughs in the health sciences sector, with the potential to once again put our community on a world stage.

- Tony Van Bynen, Mayor, Town of Newmarket

“Seneca is proud to be a founding partner of CreateIT Now. We look forward to contributing business development expertise through our faculty and student involvement to help CreateIT Now ventures move from the idea stage to market.”

- David Agnew, Seneca President

“The opening of CreateIT Now represents an unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to gain access to hospital clinicians and staff in an effort to validate and successfully commercialize their products and services.

One of our founding principles was to create a relevant and useful bridge for both hospital staff and entrepreneurs looking to commercialize health and wellness innovations. Our close collaboration has made a positive contribution to drive health innovation in York Region, including the recent announcement of the ORION Point of Presence (PoP), the MedEdge Summit, and the successful Healthcare Ecosphere Program.”

- Jeremy Laurin, President & CEO, ventureLAB

“CreateIT Now is a model for hospitals of the future. Fostering healthcare technology is a catalyst to a more sustainable healthcare system. By working collaboratively with startups we can play a role in shaping the technology to best benefit our patients and the healthcare sector, while also creating opportunities for Canadian companies to attract investment, create jobs, and close down the innovation gap.”

- Dr. Dave Williams, President and CEO, Southlake Regional Health Centre

What others are saying:

“MaRS is thrilled that Southlake is helping to connect Ontario’s promising health technology companies to vital expertise and feedback from patients, clinicians, and hospital staff by providing a dedicated space in this impressive health delivery facility. CreateIT Now is a very important asset for Ontario’s ecosystem to nurture, grow and springboard high impact health ventures – bringing their solutions to our health system and to other markets.”

- Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District

“The establishment of CreateIT Now at Southlake will further ensure that Southlake Regional Health Centre continues to be at the forefront of hospital based innovation. As Ontario moves into this next phase of healthcare transformation, medical technology and business model innovation will be instrumental in delivering better care to more patients. We are thrilled that Southlake has made this investment and we look forward to working with them as they support the development and dissemination of new healthcare technologies and care delivery models.”

- Neil Fraser, President, Medtronic Canada

“CreateIT Now at Southlake provides a unique and needed opportunity to link innovators, clinicians, legal and business support, with the R&D community to support commercialization and strengthen strategic procurement processes in the healthcare space.”

- Dr. Anne Snowdon, Chair, Odette World Health Innovation Network

"I love the idea behind CreateIT Now at Southlake. It will open up so many new networking opportunities for the Health Leadership and Learning Network (HLLN), and help me incubate innovative new programme and content ideas for our roster. Importantly, it will also bring HLLN much closer to its clients! I love the idea of a drop in space right in the community we serve; this will really help my business grow. It is the ideal place for me to have meetings with my Southlake and surrounding community clients and partners."

- Tania Xerri,Director,Health Leadership and Learning Network, York University

"There are three things CreateIT Now means to me:

  1. Access to a hospital environment, which is the only place to test and validate your healthcare technology
  2. It allows me to come into contact with potential partners, and others, which then provides the ability to present a more complete and viable solution for commercialization
  3. It creates a much more credible profile for a company to attract potential investors"

- Dr. Jess Goodman,VitalSines , and CreateIT Now Client

Quick facts

  • The global market for healthcare devices is estimated to reach $440 billion by 2018.
  • Canada has a sizable innovation gap. Canada ranks third amongst OECD countries in per capita spending on research and development, yet ranks 13th in terms of commercializing that research.
  • CreateIT Now occupies 4000 square feet of meeting and office space for innovation partners, complete with internet access, phones, smart board and video conferencing services.


Learn more




Kathryn Perrier
Corporate Communications
905-895-4521, ext. 6068 | C: 289-221-9190

Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
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