President’s Report – November 2015

Nov 11, 2015

The cool weather always seems to creep up at this time of year. However, Ottawa’s business ecosystem continues to stay hot. The last few months truly demonstrate what happens when all the stakeholders work together.


It was a great party; one of the best in recent memory. Hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders packed the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park for some hyper-networking and valuable thought leadership. The day was capped off by a fireside chat between Paul Lem of SpartanBio Science and Tobi Lutke of Shopify.

We’re already out to make AccelerateOTT bigger and better for 2016!


This past August, in partnership with i-Canada, we launched a study to measure the level of business innovation in the Nation’s Capital. The belief amongst experts, like Dr. Sorin Cohn, is that Ottawa is a strong contender to lead the country in business innovation. He adds:

Ottawa has a technology intensive sector, with more than 1700 companies in communications, life sciences, cleantech, IT and software. Ottawa alone accounts for 90% of the country’s industrial telecommunications R&D.   These clusters of expertise are inherently stronger at managing innovation; turning research into commercial applications. The city is also home to 65 federal research labs and has two brand new commercialization centres in next-generation networks (CENGN) and medical devices (MDCC). These are all resources for Canadian companies to test products, shape new ideas and bring their cutting-edge products to the global market faster. 

For a deep dive into the criteria that makes a firm excel at business innovation, please read this interview with Dr. Cohn.


Our incubator has been a hub of activity these recent months. The following startups are now part of the Invest Ottawa family:

Contextere: Focusing on the “Internet of Things” in the industrial space

uMov Technologies: Focusing on innovative products for cycling

FamousReno: Connecting clients with contractors

Vendeve: A freelance community for women entrepreneurs

Nesta Holdings Inc.: An Investment holding company focused on acquiring, cultivating and monetizing cannabis businesses for the U.S. market.

These young companies will now receive all the benefits of being under our roof: in-depth workshops, guidance from our highly valued entrepreneurs-in-residence and a litany of connections to the business community. As we welcome the next generation of entrepreneurs, join us in congratulating a graduate of Invest Ottawa’s incubator.

Proximify: Identifies connections among members of a network based on shared interests, skills and experience

They have seen great success in a short time, proving that Ottawa’s ecosystem is a place where young tech companies can grow and thrive.


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)

At a ceremony at the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) annual conference, 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 of Finance and Administration, 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). Congratulations are in order for all stakeholders in Ottawa’s business ecosystem for creating an environment that encourages growth and nurtures those trying to establish their own business.

This November Invest Ottawa, along with the city’s mayor, Jim Watson, will be spearheading our largest trade mission to China to date.  A delegation of 14 businesses and associations will head to Asia from November 16 to 19th and meet with Beijing municipal leaders, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Canada’s ambassador to China. During the visit, Invest Ottawa will organize and host an innovation seminar for more than 100 Chinese investors and entrepreneurs.

After China, our delegation will head to Thailand from November 20 to 22nd. It is the first time we have organized a trade mission to this market. The goal in both countries is one and the same; creating relationships which will help create more jobs and more economic growth for Ottawa.


The Ottawa technology sector continues to build momentum and create jobs. Consider the following:

In August of this year, a US-based, Swedish company, Qlik, opened their first office in Ottawa. Invest Ottawa worked closely with Qlik to facilitate this foreign

Qlik Employees at New Ottawa Office

Qlik Employees at New Ottawa Office

direct investment attraction: helping them to find office space, connecting them with a professional services company to incorporate, and working with them to plan their launch event.

Kivuto / Texidium are taking steps to open a new office in Brazil with the support of Invest Ottawa and its partner in Brazil PLUG n’ WORK. The goal of our partnership with PLUG is to build relationships and create opportunities in a market of 1.5 Billion consumers. Read more about it here.

CENX was selected as one of the first projects supported by CENGN and recently closed a Series D round of financing worth $12.5M. CENX is a software company that fuses big data analytics, deep networking expertise and leading-edge computing technologies.  Read more about this rapidly growing Ottawa firm in our #OttawaInc spotlight.

And Amika Mobile received big accolades at the ASIS 2015 Security event.  The firm was awarded “Judge’s Choice” for top ASIS 2015 “Security’s Best” award. Amika Mobile Corporation specializes in critical and emergency communication and control with its flagship product, Amika Mobility Server.

If you have news you want to share, remember to use the hashtag #OttawaInc on your twitter feed. Whether you are a bootstrapped start-up or legacy company that is pushing the boundaries of innovation, we want to help tell your story.


Our highly successful Summer Company program has concluded for another year. The program provides students with resources and seed money to begin their own business. 2015 saw 42 businesses in Ottawa with no shortage of ideas: clothing companies, video production firms, organic foods, even longboard manufacturers just to name a few.

Three of our most successful companies were:

Westscaping Ottawa:   Local landscaping company servicing Westboro

Ottawa Student Windows: Residential windows and eaves trough cleaning

Tacklebox Productions: Video Production Company

Altogether these businesses generated $300,000 in sales! Most of that revenue was earned in less than three months. Congratulations to all these young entrepreneurs who continue to raise the bar each year.


Here are all the ways we have supported Ottawa entrepreneurs and companies in 2015 YTD.  Always happy to hear your comments, input, suggestions and ways we can help.


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