Everything you need to know about Invest Ottawa, economic development and resources for all businesses.

General Questions

What is Invest Ottawa?

Invest Ottawa is a non-profit organization that facilitates economic growth and job creation in the city of Ottawa.

What does Invest Ottawa do?

Invest Ottawa facilitates economic growth, opportunity and job creation in Ottawa. We deliver programs, services and support to entrepreneurs and companies from every walk of life across our region in support of these objectives. This includes:

  • Helping main street and technology founders, businesses and companies of all sizes, and across many sectors, launch, scale, expand and succeed. This includes startups and scaleups, and multinationals that aim to grow their business, econimic impact and jobs in Ottawa
  • Attracting investment and R&D-centric tech firms from around the world to Ottawa (primarily the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific Region) and helping them land and expand in the Capital
  • Helping to develop, attract and retain top knowledge-based talent to grow Ottawa’s talent pool and increase industry competitiveness (together with Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions and companies)
  • Facilitating innovation, collaboration, and impact through the operation of Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s one-stop business acceleration shop; and
  • Operating Area X.O, our R&D complex, and enabling the safe development, testing, demonstration and implementation of next-gen smart mobility, connectivity and autonomy technologies
How is Invest Ottawa different from other economic development agencies?

Invest Ottawa is unique in Canada’s economic development ecosystem. To our knowledge, it is the only economic development agency in the country to undertake all five of the above mandates as a single organization.

How does Invest Ottawa measure success?

We have established many goals, objectives, and performance metrics for Invest Ottawa through our five-year strategic plan, annual operating plan, and funding agreements. These Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are primarily focused on jobs, investment and impact on our clients and economy. For example, we track metrics such as:

  • Jobs created and maintained by client companies
  • Capital attracted by startups and scale-ups
  • Foreign and domestic investment attracted to Ottawa
  • Workshop and event attendees, and the associated Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of these activities
  • Advisory hours and the value of market research delivered to companies
  • Inbound and outbound investment missions
  • Top tech talent attracted to our region…to name a few.

We report on these metrics, and Invest Ottawa’s contribution to the growth of companies, jobs, and our economy every quarter in our impact infographic and reports to our funders.

In addition, Invest Ottawa contracted KPMG to develop a robust economic impact model and methodology to help showcase the impact of our economic development programs, services, and support on the Ottawa Region annually. This translates our annual core KPIs (such as jobs facilitated as reported by our clients) into economic impact that includes GDP and tax revenues.

How is the municipal government involved with Invest Ottawa?

In 2012, the City evolved the Ottawa Carleton Research Institute (OCRI) and established Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital. The City serves as a key funder of Invest Ottawa. Through a multi-year agreement, the municipality supports the delivery of programs, services and capabilities for entrepreneurs and companies. The Mayor of Ottawa serves as Co-Chair of our Board of Directors, and we collaborate extensively with many city teams including Economic Development, Traffic Services, City Planning and Rural Services…to name a few.

Are you part of Ottawa’s municipal government?

No, we are not part of the municipal government. Invest Ottawa is a standalone, non-profit organization that serves as the lead economic development agency for the city. We gratefully leverage funding and other contributions from all three levels of government, industry partners and sponsors. This collective support fuels the programs and services we deliver to entrepreneurs, business owners and companies.

How is Invest Ottawa funded?

Invest Ottawa is grateful to receive funding and support from all three levels of government, industry, and sponsors. This collective support fuels the programs and services we deliver to entrepreneurs, business owners and companies.

How is the private sector involved in Invest Ottawa?

Invest Ottawa collaborates with, and benefits from, the private sector in many ways. For example, the private sector:

  • Provides critical funding and in-kind contributions to the programs, services, and capabilities we deliver to entrepreneurs and companies as sponsors, contributors, and partners.
  • Contributes expertise and experience through the Invest Ottawa Board of Directors, associated sub-committees and working groups, and advisory roles
  • Shares insight and recommendations that shape our strategic, annual plans, client offerings and experience
  • Collaborates with us to create new opportunities and impact for the clients we serve, from new business deals to investment, talent acquisition and job creation
  • Puts our programs and services to work as clients of our organization
Do you only help technology companies?

Not at all! We help all types of entrepreneurs, business owners and companies, from mainstreet to the tech sector, across Canada’s Capital Region. This includes startups, scaleups, multinationals, home-based businesses, consulting gigs and side hustles. Although a large percentage of our clients focus on technology, we provide programs, services and support to all types of businesses.

Is Invest Ottawa part of the Chamber of Commerce?

Invest Ottawa is not part of the Chamber of Commerce. As the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, we collaborate with many community members and partners in different ways. Within the city, our economic development collaborators include the Ottawa Board of Trade, the Ottawa Coalition of BIAs (OCOBIA), Ottawa Tourism, Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale (RGA), Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) and others across the region.

Where are you located?

Invest Ottawa is headquartered at Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s innovation hub and one-stop business acceleration shop, at 7 Bayview Station Road.  We also operate Area X.O, our R&D complex for next-gen smart mobility, autonomy, and connectivity technologies. Our Area X.O:

Does Invest Ottawa run Bayview Yards, Ottawa's innovation centre?

Yes, Invest Ottawa manages Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s innovation hub and our headquarters. We deliver many economic development programs and services, bring our community together, and collaborate with many fellow academic, public and private sector partners from Bayview Yards.

Does Invest Ottawa run Area X.O, Ottawa's Smart Mobility R&D complex in Ottawa?

Yes. Invest Ottawa is the founder and operator of Area X.O. This R&D complex evolved from the Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Test Facility launched in May of 2019 into the world-class R&D complex that enables and accelerates the safe and secure development, testing, and application of next-generation smart mobility, autonomy and connectivity technologies.

Can I book and/or lease space at Bayview Yards?

As Ottawa’s ‘one-stop shop’ for innovators, entrepreneurs, companies and investors, Bayview Yards was designed to host events that can bring you and our community together.


  • Whether you are looking to host a special eventor meeting, our facility offers a bright and energizing environment, perfect for any occasion.
  • Our multi-functional meeting spaces can accommodate anything from large gatherings of up to 250 people for banquetsand corporate announcements, to traditional meetings and breakout sessions in boardroom or classroom set-up.
  • Let us help you achieve your goals! Contact us for more information or to arrange a tour of our facilities: http://www.bayviewyards.org/contact-us/
  • If you are looking to leverage and contribute to our innovation hub and community more broadly as an onsite tenant, please reach out to Kara Eusebio, Director of Bayview Growth and Success at [email protected]
Can I just drop by?

Absolutely! We would be delighted to welcome you to Bayview Yards. We invite you to be our guest, and drop by to:

  • Enjoy a free coffee in our café
  • Relax in one of our many public open spaces inside our facility, and just outside our doors in the ground-level courtyard or upper terrace (during nice weather!)
  • Meet entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders and fellow community members roaming our halls
  • Drop into our education centre for free training sessions, lectures and workshops
  • Learn about our programs, services and offerings, and book a meeting with a member of our program team
Can you sponsor my event?

As Ottawa’s lead economic development agency, Invest Ottawa is a proud supporter of the entrepreneurship community in the National Capital Region. As much as we would love to sponsor all the great events in Ottawa, as a publicly funded entity, our funds are tied to program delivery and services. We are able to provide in-kind promotional support for a limited number of community events that directly align with our strategic plan and supported objectives and provide a specific value proposition to the firms and entrepreneurs that we serve. 

View In-Kind Sponsorship Guidelines

How does Invest Ottawa promote and manage proper conduct on social media?

We are dedicated to promoting and fostering a safe space where people from all walks of life feel welcome, encouraged and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives to the conversation. We do not tolerate any hate speech, abusive behaviour or any form of social media harassment. We monitor our social media channels consistently to ensure a safe, open and welcoming online space for all members of our community, the very same way we do at our innovation facilities.

Invest Ottawa Programs and Services

How do I get funding from Invest Ottawa?

We get this question often. As a non-profit organization, Invest Ottawa does not provide extensive funding to businesses. As of May 2023, the following programs provide grants to selected applicants who meet the required criteria:

  • Starter Company Plus



Invest Ottawa also joined forces with the Capital Angel Network in 2020 to establish SheBoot, the investment-ready bootcamp for early-stage women founders with a tech or tech-enabled business.

  • This program typically includes a $10,000 grant from NRC, and a pitch competition for $300,000 in equity-based investment.


We will add additional funding opportunities should they become available.


In addition to the above programs, we can also help you access government grants, secure loans and connect you to angel investors and venture capitalists.

How can I get started with you?

There are many ways to get engaged in the programs, services and events we offer at Invest Ottawa. For example:

  • Visit our website and complete our client intake form to get the ball rolling! A member of our team will follow up with you and discuss the programs and services that best meet your needs!
  • Call our innovation hub, and speak directly with a member of our team about the programs and services of interest to you
  • Drop into our Education Centre for a free workshop or training session or attend one of the many community events we host at Bayview Yards. Visit our online calendar to learn more!
Who can attend your workshops and is there a fee?

Anyone and everyone – no matter your level of experience or industry, all are welcome. And they are free!

I am interested in putting on a workshop. Who should I speak to about it?

We love meeting new people who are passionate about helping entrepreneurs, business owners and the Ottawa community. Kindly send us an email with a brief synopsis of your topic and expertise: [email protected]. We would be pleased to assess your workshop for the clients we serve. If it’s not quite a fit, we will do our best to recommend other partners and organizations that could collaborate with you.

How do I get a consultation with an advisor or expert?

If you would like to speak with one of our advisors, please complete our online service request form and we will be in touch shortly. We do our very best to respond to all inquiries within five business days. Given the growing demand and value of our advisory services, we often receive dozens of requests each week. Thank you for your patience as we strive to serve everyone as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Do I need to be running a certain type of business to access services?

Big or small, established or just starting out, we can’t wait to work with your business.

How does your accelerator work?

When your tech startup has early market traction, it may be time for the IO Accelerator. It’s a high touch, milestone-driven program where founders and their teams get expert guidance on finding product-market fit, securing funding, and building out major business disciplines; facilitated access to specialized peer groups and timely market intel. For more information on the IO Accelerator, including eligibility criteria, visit our program page. If the IO Accelerator doesn’t sound like the right fit, check out our other programs for tech startups and scaleups here.

How can I access Invest Ottawa’s Market Insight team?

Invest Ottawa’s Market Insight team provides actionable data and analysis that help qualified entrepreneurs, startups and scaleups make educated decisions about their businesses.  As our programs and services are publicly funded, access to some of our offerings, including market insight, is guided by criteria established by our investors. For an overview of the criteria for our market insight services, please visit our Market Insights page.


How does Invest Ottawa facilitate foreign direct investment?

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) refers to investments made by foreign companies or individuals in our region. When a foreign company operating in a knowledge-based industry aims to land and expand in a new city, we actively work to make Ottawa an ideal candidate for this investment.

We also help facilitate a company’s expansion into the North American/South American market using Ottawa as a base for operations. This supports our mandate to facilitate job creation, investment and economic growth. To learn more about our FDI pursuits and global expansion services, please visit Why Ottawa

How does Invest Ottawa work with tech companies?

Invest Ottawa works with tech companies of all sizes in diverse sectors and in all stages of development. This includes:

  • Our Venture Path program suite, which is designed to shorten each step in the path to growth, from ideation and startup to scaleup
  • Our Global Expansion Team helps to develop and implement strategies with multinationals with headquarters outside of Canada and other large, established tech firms to support the local retention and expansion of these businesses and the jobs they create.

Starting a Business Basics

What is a business number (BN)?

A Business Number relates to a business as a Social Insurance Number (SIN) relates to an individual. It identifies your business to all levels of government (federal, provincial, municipal). CRA issues this nine-digit number. The number is attached to the 4 program accounts under CRA:

  • HST
  • payroll deductions (income tax, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance)
  • importer/exporter
  • corporate income tax

More information on registering and the program accounts can be found on the CRA website. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/registering-your-business/register.html

What government financing is available?

There are some government financing programs for businesses. They are typically targeted to specific industries, geographical areas or particular groups of entrepreneurs. Almost all financing programs consist of loans but there may be a few grants available. However, they do come and go for certain industries and/or types of entrepreneurs. One of the more common financing programs is https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/canada-small-business-financing-program/en. Entrepreneurs can also visit the Government of Canada website https://www.canada.ca/en/services/business/grants.html for resources including Financing programs. See also the Fundsearch portal on the Invest Ottawa website https://www.investottawa.ca/. 

How do I legally register a business?

You can register a business in Ontario if you are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or hold a specific work visa (check the status of this with Immigration Canada).

You have different structures to choose from when registering your business: Sole Proprietor, Partnership, Corporation, Cooperative or Not for Profit. For more information and to register a sole proprietor, partnership or provincial corporation, check out the information on Ontario.ca website  https://www.ontario.ca/page/business/start/register-your-business-online 

For information on federal corpoorations, not for profits or cooperatives, visit: https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/corporations-canada/en/business-corporations/how-incorporate-business  

Do I need a licence for my business?

Some businesses may require an additional licence to operate within the City. Check the City of Ottawa website to see if your business requires a license or permit to operate. You can also use BizPaL.

Market Intelligence Services

What is it?

Invest Ottawa provides up-to-date and practical information on high tech industries, competitors, markets, trends, and best practices. In 2015 alone, the Market Insight team provided approximately $3.5 million worth of reports and analysis to clients.

A team of dedicated analysts will work closely with you to identify the market information you need, culminating in a customized package of market research results tailored to your company’s specific goals.

As a portfolio client of Invest Ottawa, and in partnership with the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, you will have no-charge access to strategic information from 27 leading global market research databases.

For Ottawa and Eastern Ontario start-up companies that meet certain revenue and investment criteria, access includes: Forrester Research, Business Insights, Datamonitor, Frost & Sullivan, Gartner, IDC, BCC Research, and many more.

How do you access MI and what are the eligibility criteria to qualify for MI services?

To access MI services, the venture must be knowledge-based, and enrolled in the Invest Ottawa portfolio. Once a company is connected with one of our experts, they will be able to access MI services at the experts endorsement.

When can I expect to receive information back?

Based on the complexity of the request received, the MI team will need anywhere from five to 10 business days to process your request. If the nature of the request is urgent and you require data for a meeting or presentation, please alert the assigned EIR and, once the request is endorsed, we will do our best to accommodate your timeline.

Are there limits to the number of times I can access MI services?

There are no limits to the number of times an entrepreneur can access MI services. However, please keep in mind that there is a pipeline of clients waiting to gain access to MI services. To help complete the research process in a timely manner, we request that entrepreneurs prioritize the information they need based on their immediate business goals. Please note that clients must work closely with their EIR. If a client has not worked with their EIR recently, the MI team will refer the client back to their assigned EIR instead.

Can I reference the information from the reports in presentations or business documents?

You cannot copy and paste any figure, table or text from the report(s) provided into business development material, venture pitch or grant application without prior permission from the vendor. You cannot make reference to any market numbers or trends from the reports on your company website without permission – Unless prior permission is received from vendors, no part of the reports can be duplicated for public consumption. After obtaining permission, you must reference the vendor appropriately.

Does the MI team conduct primary research?

The MI team does not conduct primary research. It is an essential skill for entrepreneurs to be able to conduct their own primary research and gain valuable information. However, the MI team can provide guidance on resources and best practices for conducting primary research; for example, guidance can be provided on how to ask effective questions or which resources are available