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Ottawa tech: A leader of Canada’s innovation economy

Ottawa tech: A leader of Canada’s innovation economy

Posted by PanamericanWorld on June 07, 2016

In April, the Branham Group released its annual list of the top Canadian technology companies by location. For a second consecutive year, the nation’s capital is home to more technology companies than Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and almost five times more than tech darling Waterloo.  




Ottawa’s share is also on the rise; up by three per cent over last year. As the CEO and president of Invest Ottawa, the city’s lead economic development agency, I have had the pleasure of sharing this particular data point with entrepreneurs around the world.  It always ignites a conversation which ultimately spells out why the city of Ottawa is poised to become an economic engine for Canada.

Since the creation of the National Research Council, Ottawa has spent decades defining leading-edge telecommunications. Some of the most successful international companies have grown their businesses from the foundation of our technology. IBM, Ericsson, Ciena, Juniper, Huawei, Nokia, Cisco and many others continue to entrust our local talent with their success.  In fact 90 per cent of the entire industrial R&D that happens in Canada, happens in Ottawa. Today, Ottawa has grown beyond telecommunications, having built a highly diversified and strong knowledge-based industry that is world-renowned.  

In the last six years, Ottawa technology companies have raised more money in the public markets than the technology companies of all other Canadian cities combined. Companies like MITEL are growing at an incredible pace. Its recent acquisition of Silicon Valley’s Polycom for $2 billion was the largest tech acquisition in Canada over the last three years.  Even the venture capital flowing into Ottawa’s information technology companies since 2011 outstrips cities such as Montreal and Waterloo. Ottawa is the second- largest economy in the province of Ontario (contributing nearly $60 billion to the GDP annually) and a proud member of the Ontario technology corridor.  

Today, Ottawa has 68,000 people working in more than 1,700 technology companies with an additional 10,000 jobs anticipated by 2019, according to the Information and Communications Technology Council.  I have no doubt this is the case, as I have met with a large cross-section of CEOs within Ottawa’s business ecosystem and many are  hiring, with some eager to double their workforce over the coming year.  

This growth is supported by 65 federal research labs, four world-class post-secondary institutions, Canada’s largest technology park, and nearly a dozen business incubators/accelerators. In addition, Invest Ottawa is the only economic development agency in Canada that has three official partnerships with incubators in China, India and Brazil. And since 2012, Invest Ottawa has helped facilitate nearly 90 outbound missions to major markets. Ottawa will not only “start up” your startup but we will help open the right doors, allowing you the opportunity to export across the globe.

This is only a fraction of the highlight reel. Over the next decade Canadian tech companies will become major players in the global economy.  Ottawa’s rich ecosystem will help drive this growth, as the country transforms from a resource-based economy to a beacon of innovation.


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