Shoring Up Semiconductors

Across North America, companies and locations are moving semiconductor manufacturing and ecosystems closer to home.

Markham has a highly educated and skilled workforce and is also one of the fastest growing and culturally diverse cities in Canada. More than 70% of residents were born outside Canada, and approximately 80% of the population are a visible minority. One source of local tech talent, and of new tech companies, is YSpace Markham, a tech incubator that supports students and alumni of York University, as well as entrepreneurs in the community. Also, a new York University Campus will open its doors in Markham’s new downtown in 2024 to further support the city’s talent pipeline.

There is also ventureLAB, a global founder community that helps hardware technology and enterprise software companies raise capital, retain talent, commercialize technology and IP, and acquire customers. The innovation center is Canada’s only lab and incubator focused on semiconductor products. By providing entrepreneurs access to electronic testing and manufacturing tools, ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative enables ventures building foundational technologies related to AI, clean tech, IoT, and beyond to become competitive players in the global semiconductor industry. The lab space and partnerships around the program help companies speed up the commercialization process. As an example, Markham-based Blumind, which develops semiconductor technology that helps speed up AI technologies, was able to use ventureLAB’s HCI to condense what would usually be a multi-year R&D process into just one year.

Another way Markham is growing the semiconductor industry is by positioning employment lands, which are areas that are designated for business and economic activities that could be the future home to semiconductor activities. As an example, the Markham Innovation Exchange (MiX) is a 1,900-acre employment area comprising private and city-owned lands. The vision for the MiX is to be Ontario’s first innovation cluster that connects knowledge and production and a living lab to develop Canadian IP and build physical products across synergistic industries including tech, energy, autotech, creative film production, and agri/food-tech. The MiX will fill a crucial need in the tech landscape for a scaled-up tech-supportive district.

As home to everything from semiconductor leaders to entrepreneurial startups, Markham is well-positioned to help solve global problems related to supply chain constraints around semiconductor chips. The solution will involve an abundance of talented tech workers, and semiconductor and tech innovators.

Leading Semiconductor Growth In Saratoga County, NY

Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) is the local economic development organization responsible for bringing GlobalFoundries to New York. SEDC, a 501(c)(3), non-profit consulting organization of private sector leaders, has over 44 years of history, $18 billion of investment launched and over 18,000 jobs created to date. SEDC finds companies the site or building that fulfills the business purpose, is up-to-date on programs and incentives available, and directly connects with respected workforce and professional service partners throughout the area.

Albany NanoTech Complex
Albany NanoTech Complex, home to SUNY Poly’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, has the potential to be named the new National Semiconductor Technology Center, the R&D part of the CHIPS Act. (Photo: Albany Nanotech Complex)

One of New York State’s fastest growing counties is Saratoga County, in the Capital Region of Upstate. In 2009, GlobalFoundries, a semiconductor manufacturing/foundry company, located to the Town of Malta and invested over $15 billion to build 450,000 square feet of clean room manufacturing space that now employs over 3,000 direct employees, with the average annual wage of $90,000, at that facility. In addition, over 20,000 indirect and induced jobs have been created in the Capital Region since then.