Ottawa’s 2019 Immigrant Entrepreneurs of the Year named at TiECon Canada

Jim Watson TiECon
Ellie Ardakani, the founder of Meta Innovation Technologies, receives her Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Mayor Jim Watson on Friday. (Photo by Craig Lord)

Four immigrants making an impact on Ottawa’s economy – leaders in fields from data analytics to stonemasonry – were honoured Friday morning at TiECon Canada.

Mayor Jim Watson was on hand at the annual entrepreneurship conference taking place at Kanata’s Brookstreet Hotel to hand out the 2019 Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

He noted the importance of immigration to Ottawa’s economy, reflecting on a recent phone call with Ontario Premier Doug Ford. The two spoke about Ottawa’s low unemployment rate – down to 4.4 per cent in September – and the challenge this puts on businesses.

“It’s becoming more and more difficult to find good talent in our city,” Watson said, adding that attracting and hiring immigrants is increasingly critical to growing business in the capital.

Watson went on to introduce this year’s four immigrant entrepreneur award winners. Among them was Robert Watt, the stonemason who led the refurbishment of the parliamentary precinct’s West Block – the temporary home for the House of Commons while Centre Block undergoes renovations.

Ottawa’s other immigrant entrepreneurs of the year are all making their impacts in different sectors of the tech industry: Ray del Cojo, founder of energy-efficient lighting company Lightenco; Andre Richards, co-founder of hospitality analytics provider MicroMetrics; and Ellie Ardakani, the founder of Meta Innovation Technologies, which provides simulation-based training for professionals in the oil and gas sector.