As part of its growing leadership in the digital economy, today Scotiabank announced a three-year sponsorship of NextAI to support Canadian youth and entrepreneurship in the growing field of artificial intelligence (AI).
The sponsorship is one of the many strategic investments the organization is making to drive a vibrant, globally competitive AI ecosystem in Canada.
Launched in October 2016 by Next Canada, NextAI brings together Canadian and international talent to develop AI solutions by providing access to capital, mentorship, education and networks. Scotiabank will provide $1 million in funding to NextAI over the next three years as part of its broader commitment to positioning Canada as a leader in the global race in the commercial application of AI.
"Machine learning and artificial intelligence are defining a new age in customer service and risk management for the financial services industry," said Michael Zerbs, Executive Vice President and Co-Head Information Technology, Enterprise Technology. "With a rich and growing academic and research community, Canada is poised to lead the way globally in AI applications. But in order to maintain our stake, it's critical that we partner with programs like NextAI to foster the development of strong local AI companies that challenge our homegrown talent to stay here in Canada. Along with a number of machine learning research initiatives underway internally, Scotiabank's support of NextAI is a key part of our strategy and leadership in the digital economy."
As part of the relationship with NextAI, Scotiabank will participate actively in the program by providing speakers, supporting program participants with industry expertise and hosting events.
"NextAI is proud to work with a digital leader like Scotiabank to advance AI technology and young entrepreneurs in Canada," said Anthony Lacavera, Co-Chair, NEXT Canada and Founder & Chairman, Globalive Capital. "We have incredible talent and capabilities in this country, and Scotiabank is a key driver in maintaining our place as a world leader in machine learning."
The NextAI sponsorship is one of several recent investments that Scotiabank has made in AI and machine learning. In September 2016, Scotiabank announced the creation of the Scotiabank Disruptive Technologies Venture at the Rotman School of Management, which will support a number of initiatives including the Creative Destructive Lab program focused on machine learning and artificial intelligence ventures. As part of this arrangement, Scotiabank was presenting sponsor at the CDL's 2nd annual conference, "Machine Learning and the Market for Intelligence," and will be taking on the lead sponsorship role again next year. Other recent examples include sponsoring the FIRST Robotics competitions organized by FIRST Robotics Canada and sponsoring various other machine learning events including a Machine Learning Seminar series at the Fields Institute.
Zerbs added: "Scotiabank is a proud supporter of organizations and initiatives that share our vision to advance the interest and excitement around AI here in Canada. We are open and interested in new opportunities to collaborate further with the machine learning community to facilitate knowledge sharing and advance our leadership in the digital world."
Additional academic sponsorships aimed at supporting Canadian research and education in the digital space include the Scotiabank Design Thinking Partnership at OCAD University, Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey Business School at Western University, Scotiabank Centre for Customer Analytics at the Smith School of Business at Queen's University and the Scotiabank Professorship in Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation at St. Mary's University.