News in brief: IBM, SMEs, Ontario, India, remittances

Ontario partners IBM
Ontario partners IBM

Ontario partners IBM to help SMEs get global

The province of Ontario is partnering with IBM Canada and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to help up to 500 SMEs embrace next-generation technologies and compete in the global marketplace.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Ontario will invest up to $22.75mn through the Jobs and Prosperity Fund in the IBM Innovation Incubator (I3) Project. The I3 Project will help SMEs fast-track the launch of new technologies and products to international clients and further grow the province’s knowledge economy. This project is expected to leverage over $410 million in private sector investment and create up to 2,600 jobs.

Participating businesses will be able to leverage IBM’s technical resources, including cognitive business technology and a cloud-based development platform, as well as its physical space and network of customers to reduce the cost of developing new technologies and help grow their companies and succeed internationally. OCE will oversee the operations of the I3 Project and coordinate partnerships with industry.

“Our government has helped transform Ontario into a thriving tech hub by investing in an educated, talented workforce and fostering a culture of innovation. Today’s announcement reinforces our province’s position as an ideal place to develop and launch innovative new technologies and concepts, and will help strengthen our economy and create highly skilled jobs,” said Wynne.

A good time for Indian remittances

The Indian rupee has significant depreciated this year, resulting in increased volumes of remittances being sent by Indians around the world to their families in India.

Xpress Money Services COO Sudhesh Giriyan reports that the global money transfer brand has seen a 15-20% rice in remittances through its channels since January this year. Yet despite Indian expats rejoicing because of the additional money they are gaining, there is also a sense of concern regarding the Indian economy.

However, to settle those uneasy minds, Giriyan says that the Indian economy is in a healthy condition and is only set to grow from strength to strength. The depreciation of the Indian rupee is not a reflection of the Indian economy, but a result of the US dollar gaining over the last few months.

“There are also a bunch of external factors that have affected the rupee – the devaluation of the Yuan in the last quarter of 2015, the revision of the interest rates by the Fed by 25bps in December 2015 and billions of dollars going out of India in the first few weeks of January 2016 leading to the recent crash in the stock markets are a few factors which have hit the rupee adversely,” says Giriyan.

Therefore, he claims, this is a good time not only for Indian expats but other nationalities as well, to use this weakening currency to their advantage and get more value out of the money that they remit.