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When Swedish multi-national Syntronic arrived in Ottawa to open its first North American R&D facility late last year, Invest Ottawa delivered. Thanks to their help, Syntronic's president, Hans Molin, found office space, conducted 100 interviews, hired 30 employees, filed all of the necessary legal paperwork and permits, enrolled his children into schools, hockey and ballet lessons and found a home for his family, all within just 72 hours.
This is the attitude toward service and attention to detail that has helped Ottawa rank #1 in business friendliness among mid-sized cities in the western hemisphere. FDi's Cities of the Future, the results of a survey of 421 locations conducted by the Financial Times of London, also ranked Ottawa third overall in the mid-sized category, joining a list of well-known American cities occupying the top 10, including: Oakland, Raleigh, Birmingham and Saint Paul.
With 1,700 knowledge-based sector businesses employing more than 66,000 people, nearly a third of which are in software development, Ottawa is establishing itself as one of the top hubs for technology innovation in North America. Over the past five years, Ottawa has raised more money from technology IPOs than all other major Canadian cities combined, proving that the city is no longer Ontario's best kept technology innovation secret. In 2014, Kinaxis launched its IPO, selling more than $100-million of stock, eclipsing talent management software firm Halogen's IPO of $55 million the previous year. And in the spring of 2015, Shopify raised $131 million in venture capital funding, and their IPO indicated a market value of $1.27 billion, topping a rapidly growing list of Ottawa technology firm success stories.
Ottawa's reputation as a technology powerhouse strengthens with every new piece of the innovation ecosystem puzzle sliding into place. In addition to existing commercialization centres such CENGN and MDCC, the Bayview Yards Innovation Centre is set to open its doors in the fall of 2016, providing local businesses support to help bring their cutting edge products to the global market faster, while the incubator and accelerator, L-Spark, focuses on further development of Ottawa's prosperous enterprise software market. Another attribute working in Ottawa's favour is its status as a G7 capital. This allows the region to benefit from links to government research labs, federal procurement and access to 130 consulates and agencies.
As North America's third most sustainable city and the most affordable among Canadian and US cities ranked by Mercer's cost of living index, Ottawa provides its citizens a quality of life to match its business-friendly environment. Ottawa is safe, and fosters a multicultural lifestyle for singles and families. Ciena's James Frodsham succinctly sums up the Ottawa advantage: "a thriving technology hub and a great place to do business."
Visit Invest Ottawa to learn more about opportunities for your business in Canada's capital city
July 30, 2015
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All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted. Information is accurate at the time of publication.