Innovation, Business and Rural Development
A $3.5 million investment from the Provincial Government is propelling Desire2Learn Incorporated, a leader in providing cloud-based learning solutions for higher education, K-12 and Fortune 1000 companies, to expand its operations into Newfoundland and Labrador. The global company is based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario and also has operations in the United States, Europe, Brazil, Australia and Singapore.
The investment was announced today by the Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development. It supports the continued growth of the province’s $1.6 billion information and communications technology industry.
“The addition of Desire2Learn to Newfoundland and Labrador’s business community will further boost our growing information and communications technology sector,” said Minister Hutchings. “Our ability to attract an operation the size and scope of Desire2Learn speaks to the positive business and investment environment that exists in the province. It is this activity that is helping diversify the provincial economy. It positions Newfoundland and Labrador to both better attract young people, and allow more experienced professionals to enjoy vibrant, progressive careers.”
Founded in 1999, Desire2Learn specializes in developing e-learning solutions and has in excess of eight million learners worldwide and a client base of more than 700, which includes Memorial University, College of the North Atlantic, Michigan State University, North Eastern Illinois University, The Ohio State University, and Nottingham Trent University.
“We are very excited about our expansion within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador,” says John Baker, President & CEO of Desire2Learn. “With the province’s focus on building the community with highly skilled ICT professionals and the accessibility of career-ready graduates from both Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic programs, Desire2Learn is looking forward to hiring the best and brightest to help grow our company in this region. We are dedicated to creating solutions that leverage the latest in technology to foster lifelong learning, and our ability to tap into this workforce will help push us further. We are also extremely proud of our Canadian roots and are excited to expand further in the country.”
With hiring for its new operations starting later this year, Desire2Learn is seeking to build on its successes that earned it a position on Deloitte Technology’s 50 fastest growing technology companies for four successive years. Recently, Desire2Learn raised $80 million in venture capital, the largest venture capital investment in Canadian software history. The company currently employs more than 560 people worldwide.
“The knowledge-based economy is a breeding ground for the innovation and entrepreneurship that will drive positive economic and social development for Newfoundland & Labrador,” said Gerard Duggan, Chair, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of technology Industries. “Desire2Learn will help bring added expertise and capacity to the sector and we welcome them to Newfoundland and Labrador. “We look forward to working with the Provincial Government, young technologists, new entrepreneurs and industry veterans to ensure we have healthy, thriving communities that are built to last, long after the benefits of non-renewable resources have been utilized.”
The Provincial Government’s investment is a forgivable loan that will help Desire2Learn establish its operations and build its local workforce to 35 employees over the next five years. It is projected that over a 10 year period, the net economic benefit will be approximately $21 million.
The investment was made through the Business Attraction Fund. Budget 2012 – People and Prosperity: Responsible Investments for a Secure Future, allocated $15.5 million under the Business Attraction Fund to enhance the province’s ability to compete for and attract new national and international business investment.