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Building Business Bridges to China
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Building Business Bridges to China

It’s was a whirlwind of meetings and connections for Ottawa’s Mayor, Jim Watson, Invest Ottawa and the 15 local businesses during a recent trade mission to China. Out of the gate, five major agreements were signed with Beijing’s Mayor Wang Anshun; two of which will positive impacts on the Ottawa Business Ecosystem.
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Best of the BOB’s
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Best of the BOB’s

Always a great party, the Best Ottawa Business Awards (aka the BOBs) is a celebration hosted annually by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Business Journal. For two decades the black-tie affair has been a "who's who" of the National Capital's business community. It's also a chance to recognize successful and innovative companies which are driving economic growth and prosperity in the nation's capital.
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Double Innovation: What Can We Learn From Unicorns?
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Double Innovation: What Can We Learn From Unicorns?

Canadians love our Double-Double Tim Horton’s Coffee (that’s two sugars and two creams for non-northerners!) But the term “Double-Double” doesn’t just apply to the world of coffee. Have you ever wondered why some startups made it to Unicorn status while others didn’t? Let’s explore the notion of “Double Innovation”. While Unicorns built amazing products with the right customer fit, these companies also innovated new go-to-market strategies. Meaning they developed innovative strategies beyond their product innovation to grow market share into the juggernauts they are today. In hindsight many of these strategies (referred often as growth hacks) now seem obvious; but good ideas always do. Here are some well-known examples:
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What does the evolution of the digital economy to 2025 look like?
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What does the evolution of the digital economy to 2025 look like?

On October 6th 2015, Ovum released the results of its extensive survey conducted with all types of digital ecosystem players. Invest Ottawa is pleased to share the highlights of Ovum’s view and key recommendations.
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President’s Report – November 2015
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President’s Report – November 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.
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#OttawaInc: Solink
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#OttawaInc: Solink

The surveillance industry has remained virtually unchanged for years. Set up a camera, record footage and access the content after an incident arises. Although the hardware has evolved, the uses for this visual data have been narrow in scope: mostly loss and fraud prevention. Ottawa’s Solink is on a crusade to change that mindset. In addition to saving companies time and money for fraud investigations; the company believes that the hours and hours of gathered video footage can offer key insights into the operations of a business.
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Ottawa’s Greatest Show and Tell: Maker Faire Ottawa 2015

Maker Faire is a festival that gives all “makers” a place to show off their products, designs, inventions, gadgets, knickknacks, and more! This interactive playground attracts people of all ages to come and “chat one-on-one with makers, try prototypes, ask questions, give input, and even cuddle-up with technology,” says Remco Volmer, Maker Faire Ottawa 2015 Organizer.
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Ottawa Tops List of Business-Friendly Cities in the Americas
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Ottawa Tops List of Business-Friendly Cities in the Americas

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:
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Blog Digital Media

Ask a Lawyer – Relying on Recycling Precedents… No Big Deal? Right?

There are many situations in which a digital media producer would want to get a deal in writing. Perhaps you want an option agreement signed with the creator of a comic that you want to bring to life with a game. Maybe you need a short-form co-production agreement with a new partner for an exciting new web series. It should not be a surprise that a lawyer is recommending that non-lawyers not rely on recycled precedents.
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Good Design Breeds Great Technology
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Good Design Breeds Great Technology

Ask Ron Gagnier about what makes design important; the first thing he'll point you towards is Google. Not to study the layout, but to point out the definition of design:
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#OttawaInc: Purple Forge

It's been a roller coaster ride as of late for Brian Hurley. The CEO has spent seven years bootstrapping his business, finding success servicing a variety of sectors and was anointed a "Startup to Watch". Now Purple Forge has suddenly shot to the A-list, after working with some of the world's most advanced computing technology. In partnership with IBM's Watson, the Ottawa company has created a mobile app for the city of Surrey, BC, that can process voice requests. In essence, it takes on the role of a 311 phone service. The company is now fielding requests from other cities for the same technology, it's on the brink of raising it's first round of funding and Hurley believes they are just scratching the surface, when it comes to leveraging Watson. Hurley spoke with IO about his rising firm and the Ottawa ecosystem.
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President’s Report – August 2015
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President’s Report – August 2015

President's Report – August 2015 A change of seasons is around the corner, making it the perfect time to unveil Invest Ottawa’s new strategic plan. Last year, we convened community leaders from across industry, post-secondary institutions, and the public sector to discuss a collective vision of the future and how to achieve it. The consensus: we want Ottawa to be the most innovative city in Canada.
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#OttawaInc: Popkey

Mobile is quickly growing as the most popular way to access information and stay in touch with social networks. Likewise, mobile messaging is quickly becoming one of the next big areas of focus in tech. Millennials are now sending close to 4,000 SMS and chat messages per month, but are looking for new ways to express themselves online. PopKey enables everyone - particularly millennials - to do just that: it involves the use of GIFs (which have been around for a few years now), but allows the user to send them quickly and easily, on the most popular messaging platforms, which has never been done through a keyboard. This app is a product of WorkshopX, which is based in Ottawa. Since the launch in October 2014 - when Apple first introduced third party keyboards with the launch of iOS 8 - PopKey has been ranked in Apple’s Top 100 Utilities as well as in the Top 5 third party keyboards. Amidst the busy schedule of an entrepreneur, Franco Varriano (Head of Growth and Partnerships) agreed to take the time to meet with Invest Ottawa and give us the scoop on his new app:
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China: Still A Great Opportunity for Ottawa Companies
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China: Still A Great Opportunity for Ottawa Companies

It has not been a good week for the Chinese stock market. Today has been no better. But for all the panic, the consensus among experts is that China is still a great opportunity for Ottawa business. Our CEO, Bruce Lazenby, breaks down the reasons why on CBC Ottawa Morning:
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#OttawaInc: Martello Technologies
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#OttawaInc: Martello Technologies

For startups, competing against large companies in the market tends to be quite intimidating. Some may try to contend with existing powerhouses, however there are other ways of growing a business. In some cases, small companies partner with big ones to leverage their resources. There are many advantages to this for both sides, as startups offer mature partners access to new customers, innovative products and management practices, and small companies benefit by gaining experience in the market. One example of this comes from local Ottawa startup Martello Technologies, a private company that develops fault & performance management solutions for unified communications (UC) systems.
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#OttawaInc: Versature
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#OttawaInc: Versature

From Alexander Graham Bell to Steve Jobs, there has been a lot of change in the telecommunications sector in the last 140 years. Ottawa has had a hand in contributing to this innovation by being the first city to lease telephones for commercial use to Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie in 1877, followed by the first common battery telephone system in Canada installed by Bell in 1900. Now, a local company called Versature has decided to continue tradition of evolving technology by creating a business phone service that is accessible over the internet. Their “Hosted PBX” phone service facilitates a localized atmosphere by allowing employees the freedom to connect from wherever they are in the world. With this, companies are no longer faced with the limitations of using a physical server (which resides in a single place) by allowing users to make and receive phone calls on the web.
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Blog Digital Media

Ask a Lawyer – Ten Service Agreement Tips

At the OIGC 2015, Mark Edwards and I participated in the panel, “Video Games and Protecting Your Valuable Intellectual Property – Why It’s Not Just a Game.” We spoke about a fictional game company developing proprietary work (a game called Lawyers Attack!) while supporting themselves by offering services to local businesses. Their first gig was developing a company’s web site and app. They also got the go ahead to gamify the experience.
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#OttawaInc: Halogen

Shopify’s IPO of upward of $131 million gained a lot of media attention in the Ottawa tech community. With new companies taking flight, it is important to reflect upon successful companies who paved the way and to realize that Ottawa’s tech sector has been up and coming for some time now. Locally-based Halogen Software, a leading provider of cloud-based talent management solutions, launched its IPO in 2013 with great success. The initial offering came in at over $50 million and the company has been on the rise with its global expansion ever since. President and CEO Paul Loucks talks about the company’s goals and Ottawa’s supportive ecosystem as a home base.
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#OttawaInc: Bluink Ltd.

Bluink: making life easier, one product at a time. That isn’t actually their motto, but it may as well be. Founded in 2010 by mechanical engineer Stephen Borza, Bluink is a product development company that creates software applications to simplify everyday life. They have been up and running for a few years, but from the sound of it, this past year had been a crucial step in the accelerating the company to success. From what Steve Borza called a lot of “serendipity”, karma and networking, Bluink was accepted to a four month stint at Plug and Play in California after a last minute application. The stay proved to be beneficial, and Bluink recently won the FinTech Accelerator Pitch competition in California, for the Injector solution, placing first out of around 886 companies that applied for the program, and 30 that pitched.
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#OttawaInc: Klipfolio
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#OttawaInc: Klipfolio

Innovative technology is always celebrated; however creating a successful business model behind those ideas, is often the real obstacle to success. For nearly a decade, Klipfolio faced this same challenge. The company's first product was a tool to help individuals organize information like the weather or stock market movements. When people started flocking to smartphones for this data, the firm switched its focus to business intelligence.
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