Put down the Nerf guns: Invest Ottawa asserts hard-work culture with Incite Incubator

Ricketts
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, right, speaks to entrepreneurs at the Innovation Centre.

Invest Ottawa is hoping a new name for its incubator space at Bayview Yards will excite – or rather, incite – the types of hard-working firms it hopes to attract. The incubator space at 7 Bayview Rd., opened officially earlier this year, has now been formally branded as Incite.

A spokesperson for Ottawa’s economic development agency says the name is meant to convey an environment of serious work and explosive potential, one distinct from the more youthful, Nerf gun-filled cultures found in accelerator and incubator spaces across the country.

“The culture that we want to ensure is communicated to prospective companies coming into our incubator is, ‘we’re getting down to business, we’re going to work hard with you and you’re going to work hard with us to accelerate your growth to that next stage of development,’” says Sonya Shorey, director of communications and marketing at Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards.

The Incite Incubator accepts applications for startup residence year-round, including more temporary drop-in space, each with their own monthly fees. Services include access to Invest Ottawa’s acceleration programs and entrepreneurs-in-residence.

Shorey says the demand for space has increased ever since Bayview Yards officially opened, meaning the organization has had to be increasingly stringent about to whom it offers space and the kinds of firms it seeks to host.

The incubator’s reputation has recently attracted international attention: Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts visited the space on Thursday. Shorey says his tour was meant to present Ottawa’s innovation centre as a model for regional economic development and acceleration spaces.

The new name is the latest refinement of Invest Ottawa’s brand under new leader Mike Tremblay, who joined the economic development agency as president and CEO in March.

Since then, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards have been jointly operated under Tremblay's helm, courting $1.3 million from public- and private-sector sponsorships, as well as launching the on-site MadeMill workshop and the “Work in Ottawa” campaign to attract foreign talent, especially from the United States.