The importance of Canada’s innovation economy has quickly become a key priority for governments at all levels of office. Prime Minister Trudeau has signaled that knowledge-based businesses will be a key focus for the Liberals and their Ontario counterparts have said the same. Our city’s private sector has never been better positioned to help lead the transformation from a resource based economy to a knowledge-based one. And one incredible data point continually cements my belief that this is true:
The Branham Group just released its annual list of the top Canadian tech companies by location. The number of businesses calling Ottawa home increased from 11% to 14% between 2014 and 2015. It’s also the second year in a row Ottawa has beat out Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Waterloo.
Congratulations are also in order for local software companies Shopify and You.I TV which were two of the top fifteen highest growth companies in Canada. It’s a testament to the strength of Ottawa’s software sector, where in the last six years local brands have raised more money in the public markets, than the technology companies of all other Canadian cities combined. And finally local companies like MITEL are growing at an incredible pace. Its recent acquisition of Silicon Valley company Polycom for $2 Billion, was the largest tech acquisition in Canada over the last three years.
Today Ottawa has 68,000 people working in more than 1700 technology companies with 10,000 more anticipated by 2019, according to the Information and Communications Technology Council. This growth is anchored by sixty-five Federal research labs, four world-class post-secondary institutions, nearly a dozen business incubators/accelerators and Canada’s largest technology park.
This is only a fraction of the highlight reel. Over the next decade our tech companies will become major players in both the national and global economy. Add all these together and Ottawa’s ecosystem is well-positioned to assist Canada’s transformation from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one.