Ottawa Tops List of Business-Friendly Cities in the Americas

Oct 7, 2015

We are going to need a bigger mantle over the fireplace.

The city is running out of room to display all the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) awards that keep coming. In April the Financial Times (via their research arm fDi Magazine) analyzed 77, mid-sized cities, in the Western Hemisphere and bestowed upon Ottawa the following:

  • #1 for Business Friendliness,

  • #2 for Economic Potential,

  • #10 for Human Capital and Lifestyle, and

  • #3 Overall (one of only 2 Canadian cities in the Top 10)

From Left to Right: Dr. Henry Loewendahl, CEO of WAVTEQ Stephen Blais, Ottawa City Councillor Lana Legostaeva, Vice-President of Invest Ottawa Chris Knight, Global Commercial Director of fDi Intelligence (Financial Times)

From Left to Right:
Dr. Henry Loewendahl, CEO of WAVTEQ
Stephen Blais, Ottawa City Councillor
Lana Legostaeva, Vice-President of Invest Ottawa
Chris Knight, Global Commercial Director of fDi Intelligence (Financial Times)

In a ceremony at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), held in Anchorage, Alaska on October 6th, the city of Ottawa was awarded the title of most “Business Friendly”, mid-sized city, in North and South America. On hand to receive the honour was Ottawa City Councillor Stephen Blais and Invest Ottawa Vice-President, Lana Legostaeva.

Attended by over 1000 people, the IEDC conference includes the presentation of fDi Magazine’s American Cities of the Future Awards. These awards are the largest regional rankings that the magazine publishes in terms of geographical ground covered and it is an intensively competitive field, 421 locations were analyzed for the study.

“Representing Ottawa’s dynamic private sector at this International event was an honour and a privilege,” Says Stephen Blais, Councillor for City of Ottawa. “It was a chance to show other municipal leaders from around the world, that Ottawa businesses thrive both locally and abroad.

Data was collected in five categories: Economic Potential, Business Friendliness, Cost Effectiveness, Connectivity, and Human Capital and Lifestyle. This is the second time in two years the publication has recognized Canada’s Capital. In 2013/14, it awarded Ottawa the top spot for its FDI strategy. 

FDI 2015 - biz friendly

““This award is further proof that Ottawa’s talented network of knowledge-based companies is helping attract new investments and jobs to our city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “In the years ahead, we will continue to support this key industry, work to diversify and grow our economy, and give investors even more reasons to choose Ottawa.”

FDI 2015 - overallThe Ottawa ecosystem continues to be recognized for its hi-tech strategies,” said Bruce Lazenby, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa. “Consider the following….

• In the last five years, Ottawa software companies have raised more money in the public markets than every other city in Canada combined.

• Ottawa companies have spent nearly $1 Billion buying foreign companies

• Of the top 250 Canadian ICT companies, Ottawa is home to more than Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary or Waterloo.

…Combine this with our local talent and resources; there has never been a more exciting time to grow a business in the nation’s capital.”

FDI: A City’s Economic Engine

“Foreign-Direct Investment” may not be a household term but it’s a process that’s critical to creating jobs and wealth. Andrea Blaylock, a former Business Development Manager at Invest Ottawa, explains it this way, “FDI helps build the Ottawa ecosystem with companies based outside of Canada. We target key technologies and businesses, which will benefit by expanding into our city”.

In 2014 overall global FDI investment inflows rose 9% to $1.45 trillion. In Canada, it hit nearly $70 billion in 2013.  The opportunities to attract international dollars are also moving beyond natural resources and manufacturing. As big data starts to take over our daily lives, the knowledge-based industry (KBI) will play an integral role in growing our local ecosystem. Blaylock, says strong FDI strategies are critical for any city looking to compete on a global scale and create jobs,”Typically the companies are enticed by the cost advantages (low tax rates, government incentives, relative cost of talent and a lower cost of living) and a business-friendly climate for building a local research & product development centre”.

Recent expansions from international companies such as Syntronics and Ciena showcase the growing demand for Ottawa talent. Furthermore, for years Ottawa has led the country in Software and Communications IPO’s and Shopify’s recent filing cements that status. When you factor in the addition of the commercialization centres of excellence, the creation of world-class incubators and the future Innovation Centre taking shape; many believe our FDI attraction will simply gain strength as Ottawa becomes the most innovative city in Canada.

 Learn more about our award winning FDI strategies here



Back to Blog