A strategic initiative that began with the Town of Whitby and the CEO of 360insights, 1855 was created to fill a defined gap that existed in the innovation ecosystem in the Durham Region.
The vision is to provide support for established high-potential tech and innovation companies to accelerate growth and land within the community, expanding the Innovation District in Downtown Whitby, ultimately becoming the growth arm for a robust Eastern Innovation Corridor from Pickering to Kingston.
1855 has made its home in the former provincial Land Registry Office, a heritage site dating back to 1873.
As the Durham Region population grew, the Registry relocated in 1987. Many years later, the building was purchased by the Town of Whitby, as part of the vision of the late Peter LeBel, Commissioner for the Town of Whitby. His goal was to make Whitby a fundamental contributor to the tech and innovation ecosystem within the Eastern Innovation Corridor. Peter aligned with tech industry leader Jason Atkins, CEO of Durham's largest technology company, to create 1855 - a place where high-potential tech companies could receive growth support locally, staying within the community with access to capital, top talent, and strategic business influencers. The Town made an extensive retrofit and investment in this historical facility, formed a private-public partnership, and 1855 was established as its own not-for-profit organization.
1855 was brought to life because of a gap in the innovation ecosystem. There are a range of local supports for start-up companies stemming from the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) to idea conceptualization, product validation, seed funding, and business incubation at Spark Centre. There was no entity along the Eastern Innovation Corridor (Pickering to Kingston) to advance companies under all facets of the tech and innovation sector, to the global stage.
1855 has commited to supporting 75 companies and creating 750 new local jobs over its first five years.
Within 5 years, the GDP from the Regional ICT sector will be approx. $739MM, of which 1855 will have contributed $45MM.
1855 IS A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION, LED BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR.
"1855 provides a long-awaited invaluable service to tech entrepreneurs. As the CEO of 360insights, a company that has received growth support from a Toronto accelerator in the early days (and still operates a satellite office from there), we recognize the power that comes from having access to the right expertise and opportunities. We have a strong board at the helm and the right leadership in place. Tech companies reach out to me all the time looking for guidance, asking where to go, what to do next, how to advance. As we turn the page on our founding year, we strive to be the place innovators think of when needing next-level support. To those entrepreneurs, this is for you."
JASON ATKINS - CHAIR, 1855 BOARD & CEO, 360INSIGHTS
Members receive a white-glove experience in a dedicated, creative working environment with access to accelerated programming and connections to industry leaders, investors, and prospective clients. Above all that, collaborations and synergies with like-minded peers make the 1855 opportunity a game-changing one for driven entrepreneurs.