Canada’s largest tech park, Kanata North, about to roar
Jenna Sudds, Executive Director, Kanata North Business Association catching-upwith Ryan Gibson, Invest Ottawa, at TechTuesday talk PHOTO BY: thewedge.LIVEBy MAGGIE M, Editor, http://thewedge.LIVE | Host “WHERE IN the wedge IS MAGGIEM?”The evening of February 7, 2017, was special to the wedge as a rising figurewas speaking at The Marshes Golf Club, the famous Tech Tuesday event whereleading engineers and futurists gather monthly. Despite treacherous weather,the place was stacked.Jenna Sudds, a mother of three, a genteel ‘championista’ of technology, isExecutive Director of the formerly named Kanata North BIA, now rebranded,Kanata North Business Association. Sudds’s energies are not spent in thebeautification of and coralling of retailers in the area, the usual turf ofBIAs. Her mission has evolved into the unwitting Spokesperson for the fastest-growing tech region–and the largest–in Canada, the Kanata North TechnologyPark.Sir Terry Matthews is certainly the Great Mascot for the Park and the impetusto its success; but, in this arrowhead-shaped land, measuring less than asquare mile, Sudds is an Ambassador of sorts. She joins a delegation includingSir Terry and Mayor Jim Watson, all going to Queen’s Park this early March,“to raise awareness of Kanata North’s potential and its advances in self-driving, autonomous vehicle tech.”Many Canadians are unaware that Kanata North houses the highest concentrationof engineers and innovators already impacting the world’s future. A first mapdrawn up by Sudds and her team makes an instant statement about the brain andtech power within this real estate; however, many businesses are not featuredhere since they are too numerous. (I understand a second edition is inprogress due to its popularity.)Sudds put the Park in perspective in her presentation last night. To witnessthe statistics on screen for the first time, makes you want to run and ringL-Sparks’s bell. (L-Sparks is the Business Accelerator renown for its SAASlaunches, and headed by Leo Lax. When I visited, they rang a bell with eachsale made–or an angel got his wings.)Aerial view of the Park. PHOTO BY : Kanata North Business AssociationKanata North is a burb of Ottawa; yet, it contributes almost 14% of its GDP.Say what? That patch of land? Yes. It is a success story that needs to be,“hit out of the Park,” literally.The street signs state in bold, “SERIOUS TECH LIVES HERE. KANATA NORTH.” Andduring the day, 21,000 work there.(The audience chortled at Steve Langford, VPM Wesley Clover, when in hisintroduction of Sudds, he lamented Kanata North’s speedy growth andcorresponding slow, “speed of traffic.”)VIDEOStay-tuned for many future stories on this amazing hub of innovation.
Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative
Published on March 21, 2019Supporting High Technology GrowthAnd A Healthy Business EnvironmentIn Kanata-CarletonIntroductionI have long observed that our Kanata-Carleton business community has not beengiven enough recognition for its contributions to our City, our Province andour Country. Kanata North is Canada’s largest technology hub and yet thisremains a well-kept secret. It is time to profile the local high tech andbusiness community so that we can create new opportunities and attract newtalent, new business, and new investment. It is with this sense of positioningand advancing our local people and assets that the Kanata-Carleton’s High Techand Business Initiative is undertaken.I stated through 2017 and in the lead up to the 2018 provincial election thatthere is more our provincial elected representatives can do to promote ourlocal high tech scene. For over a decade there has been little accomplished tosupport the development of our local high tech and business community. Thishas been a costly oversight. We have an important business asset that enrichesour community, providing attractive jobs that sustain many families who chooseto live in Kanata-Carleton. These are the facts that I discuss at Queen’s Parkin profiling Kanata North and our community’s businesses and high techindustries.Since my election in June 2018, I have been meeting with local employers,employees, business associations, and tour companies to talk about thechallenges we are facing in our business community. I have listened tobusiness owners and entrepreneurs in Kanata and West Carleton. I have had theopportunity to host business round tables, including one at Mitel specificallylooking at challenges in Kanata North.I have met with the following companies and organizations and look forward tomeeting with more in the months ahead. Nordion | Nokia | Verizon (formerlyEricsson) | Calian | Mitel | QNX Blackberry | Renaissance Repair and Supply |Alion Canada | Spartan Biotech | Phreesia | Digital Health North | OttawaHospital Research Institute | CHEO Research Institute | Queensway CarletonHospital | Royal Ottawa Hospital | Bruyere | Algonquin College | La CitéCollégiale | Willis College | Invest Ottawa | Innovation Centre at BayviewYards | Ottawa Board of Trade | Kanata North Business AssociationOur local high tech industry is a very important community asset. Its healthand growth is a priority for me. I will work to 1) better promote Kanata Northand Ottawa’s high tech companies both locally and abroad; 2) help tofacilitate local business attraction for greater venture capital dollars; 3)focus on greater linkages between the local business community and Ottawa’seducation community; and, 4) bring broadband and greater Internet and cellservices to the business community in West Carleton.Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative4 Pillars of Sustainability and Growth 1. Profiling the Kanata-North Footprint 2. Attracting Venture Capital 3. Strengthening Networks with Education Community 4. Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell Services Our community has tremendous business associations that are making adifference in supporting and enabling business interests: Kanata NorthBusiness Association, Invest Ottawa, the Ottawa Board of Trade, and our localeducation institutions. I look forward to assisting their fine work to furtherdevelop the web of support for the Kanata-Carleton businessperson.Kanata North Tech Hub deserves greater attention as one of our country’seconomic growth engines. Our Kanata-Carleton business community deservesgreater attention for its significant contributions to our Ottawa Region andOntario. As your representative at Queen’s Park, this high tech and businessinitiative is my commitment to champion Kanata-Carleton’s interests and garnerthe deserved focus on our business community.Four Pillars of Sustainability and Growth1. Profiling the Kanata North FootprintDid you know Kanata North has a sizeable footprint? * Kanata North contributes $13 billion to Canada’s GDP.(1) * Ottawa is the country’s number one high tech-hub, hosting more than 1,750 tech companies and employing 68,500 people (roughly a third who work in Kanata North).(2) * Ninety per cent of all communications R&D in Canada still takes place in Ottawa, and 90 per cent of that is centred in Kanata.(3) * Ottawa is home to more of Canada’s 250 top information technology companies than Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary or Waterloo.(4) * Financial Times has recognized Ottawa as
2 for Economic Potential for mid-sized North and South American cities.(5)
The Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) – https://www.kanatanorthba.com/- has done a good job of quantifying the significance of Canada’s largest hightech business park. I am pleased to be working with the leadership of the KNBAto promote our community’s significance for the region and as an economicdriver for the province and country. In its 2018 Economic Impact Analysis, theKNBA reports that Kanata North revenue contributions to government are up 47%federally, 40% provincially, and 16% municipally in 3 years.(6) The businessactivity in Kanata North contributes more than 10,000 jobs in other areas ofOttawa and Eastern Ontario. This is a very important footprint for our Region,for the Province and for the Country.(7)Kanata North major economic sectors are listed as Information & CommunicationsTechnology and Software. The emerging sectors are: Defence, Security &Aerospace, Life Sciences, and Cleantech. Just last year technology giantsApple and Amazon, and automobile maker Ford Motor Company announced new workin Kanata. And, there is the exciting autonomous-vehicle activity spearheadedby BlackBerry QNX’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre.As a physician I am also excited about the companies and medical associationsforging innovations in health care and new developments with digital healthcare – such as those activities taken up by Digital Health North. I believeindividuals can improve their own health care through mobile healthtechnologies, telemedicine, and in biomedical research; it is remarkable thatKanata North and our local business and medical communities are playing a keyrole in advancing this Canadian innovation.As a side-note, from a work-life balance and quality of life perspective, itis important to also recognize that 50 percent of technology employees livewithin five kilometres of where they work in Kanata.(8) The KNBA reports thatsixty per cent of technology workers have been in the area for at least sixyears, while 30 per cent have been living in Kanata for 10 years or more.(9)We have a story that must be told: Other technology hubs in Canada havecelebrated their story — Toronto claims to be the nation’s tech capital; theUniversity of Waterloo is the MIT of Canada; and, Montreal possesses a vibrantenergy with an European flair. It is time for Kanata North to boast of itsimpressive character – a dynamic tech hub with welcoming business networks anda beautiful community in which to live and raise a family.My MPP Community Office will support all efforts to tell “our story.” As yourKanata-Carleton MPP I will be a loud voice and advocate for our business andcommunity interests at Queen’s Park. In profiling Kanata North, my goals willbe to: * work with our local business networks to assist the growth of the high tech sector * foster and facilitate new relationships in the community and abroad * support business owners with a focus on eliminating their unnecessary burdens with Ontario government regulationsI am proud of Kanata North – of its successes and its impressive character.2. Attracting Venture CapitalVenture capital is the life line of business start-ups and of innovation andgrowth. Increased venture capital sustains and grows a dynamic businesscommunity. Start-up companies with a potential to grow need investment – orseed money. Companies looking to take “the next step” are often looking forexpansion financing. When companies grow to a certain size, they will seekacquisition or buyout financing.Aside from the necessary cash influx, venture capitalists will often providethe business with counsel and experienced management, and introduce newbusiness connections. A business having ready access to capital will expandand grow, make innovative leaps of faith, and, ultimately, succeed on a largerscale. So, logic tells us that increasing venture capital investment in theKanata and West Carleton business community helps to ensure greater businessgrowth and job creation.I have had the opportunity to meet with Invest Ottawa -https://www.investottawa.ca/ – and to tour the Innovation Centre at BayviewYards. President and CEO Michael Tremblay and the team at Invest Ottawa aredoing good work to assist new, budding businesses and entrepreneurs. Theirefforts are supporting local projects by connecting ideas with money and bynavigating the investment process for local businesspeople.I look forward to working closely with this lead economic development agencyto help foster more business opportunities in Kanata and West Carleton. I willhelp, where my office can, to further Invest Ottawa’s mission of providing theaccess to resources to help businesses establish and grow. As a source ofinformation, my Community Office will help make the necessary connections forbusinesses to learn about the opportunities for venture capital assistance.In Toronto, I can make the necessary connections to Provincial ministries andagencies that provide business support.Within our local business community, I will raise awareness of the benefits ofa healthy venture capital market for local business and high tech industry.Foremost in Kanata-Carleton, we want venture capital investment to allowyoung, growing companies with potential to become medium-sized enterprises. Weare looking to expand markets, foster growth and innovation, employ morepeople, and generate greater profits and returned investment for our localenterprises.3. Strengthening Networks with Education CommunityFor years I have advocated to strengthen the ties between local business andour Ottawa education community. In my position as MPP I want to help fostergreater linkages between the high tech industries and Kanata-Carletonbusinesses with our education institutions and public school system. There isgreat potential for Ottawa’s universities and colleges to align with KanataNorth and the greater business community. There is also tremendous opportunityto increase our local brain power by championing more sciences, math, data-management and computer technology in our schools.Recently, at a Mayor’s Breakfast Event, Carleton University President Dr.Benoit-Antoine Bacon made the case for Ottawa as an “education city.” Thereare many exciting announcements by Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions tosuggest he is correct. Algonquin College has established a DARE District oncampus, a new centre that combines an energy lab, Indigenous entrepreneurshiphub, library, and analytics centre. La Cite has just opened a 40,000 square-foot Excentricite as a meeting place where local companies can workcollaboratively with students on business concepts and to commercializeproducts. The University of Ottawa has announced a new physical presence inKanata North – an office and classroom in Tower C at 555 Legget Drive tosupport greater networking between alumni, industry, researchers and co-opstudents working in high tech.As your Kanata-Carleton MPP, I hope to create helpful linkages betweenbusiness and education. Specifically, over the next few years, I hope to: * foster and support working relationships between the local business community and Ottawa’s education institutions; * advocate for more math and technology-based subjects in our schools; and, * raise greater public awareness of the potential of an enriched learning environment with the collaboration of business and educationI do believe our City of Ottawa – and our community in Kanata-Carleton – isblessed as an “education city.”4. Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell ServicesI hope and trust within my first term as MPP that we will see broadbandinfrastructure provided to the greater Kanata-Carleton business community. Iwant to see greater Internet services and better cell services for WestCarleton businesses and residents. Given that many of the rural neighbourhoodsare only 25-40 kilometers away from the Kanata North Tech Park, it is notunreasonable to think homes and businesses will be able to take advantage of21st Century technology.There has been repeated commitments at every level of government to providegreater broadband coverage throughout the western reaches of the City ofOttawa. The wards of West Carleton-March, Rideau-Goulbourn, and Osgoode haveregistered lower download speeds, on average, compared to the rest of thecity. Internet users in our Kanata-Carleton constituency – the City’s WestCarleton-March ward – are seeing the slowest download speeds, averaging 7.5megabits per second.(10)I have been advised on the success of the municipality of Mississippi Mills topilot broadband projects (the MM2020 project) and provide rural communitieslike Appleton, Almonte and now Clayton with greater Internet services.Ensuring reliable Internet and cell signals is a game changer for agri-industry, rural businesses and home-based entrepreneurs in those communities.I am encouraged that our neighbours have found a way. My staff have begunbackground work with our local West Carleton business community and I have metwith City of Ottawa Councillor Eli El-Chantiry to find the same success forKanata-Carleton.I hope to replicate the success of the MM2020 project and extend betterInternet services to all rural areas of Mississippi Mills: high-speed, high-capacity telephone, TV and Internet over optical fibre. This will provide ourWest Carleton business community with gigabit fiber access and Internet andcell service levels that are comparable to neighbourhoods through Kanata. Itwill also allow for our rural communities to support efforts to developgreater public WiFi zones.A Focus on ResultsIn putting down in print and publicly releasing the Kanata-Carleton’s HighTech and Business Initiative, my intent is to raise awareness of achievable,short term objectives for our community. These are objectives that willenhance and enrich the prospects of success for Kanata-Carleton’s high techand business enterprises. I intend to work on this initiative through my yearsin office – and to advance the 4 pillars of sustainability and growth duringthis term. To keep us focused on results, I will provide regular updates onthe issues identified in the months and years to come.Kanata-Carleton’s High Tech and Business Initiative4 Pillars of Sustainability and Growth 1. Profiling the Kanata-North Footprint 2. Attracting Venture Capital 3. Strengthening Networks with Education Community 4. Extending Broadband, Internet and Cell Services Ontario is open for business and the Provincial Government is working tofoster new growth and expansion by supporting a more business-friendlyenvironment.As your local MPP, I would like to state that Kanata-Carleton is also open forbusiness. My Community Office is focused on promoting local assets and helpingto facilitate new opportunities to strengthen our Kanata-Carleton high techand business community. My staff and I welcome meetings with companies,organizations and individuals who wish to contribute to our efforts.Again, I am proud of our community – of its successes and its impressivecharacter – and of its current and future potential.Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, MPPKanata-Carleton613-599-3000[email protected]Endnotes 1. Kanata North Business Association: https://www.kanatanorthba.com/2018-economic-impact-analysis-confirms-critical-expansion-of-jobs-and-the-economy/ 2. RBC Community Feature (February 11, 2019): https://discover.rbcroyalbank.com/surprise-canadas-top-tech-hub-is-its-capital-city/ 3. Ottawa Business Journal feature on Kanata North (February 11, 2016): https://obj.ca/article/kanata-north-still-bustling-energy-and-opportunity 4. Branham300 list rankings (published June 2018): https://obj.ca/article/techopia-fewer-ottawa-companies-rank-2018-branham-list-top-canadian-ict-firms 5. Invest Ottawa facts: https://www.investottawa.ca/blog/ottawa-tops-list-of-business-friendly-cities-in-the-americas/ 6. Kanata North Business Association: https://www.kanatanorthba.com/2018-economic-impact-analysis-confirms-critical-expansion-of-jobs-and-the-economy/ 7. Kanata North Business Association: https://www.kanatanorthba.com/2018-economic-impact-analysis-confirms-critical-expansion-of-jobs-and-the-economy/ 8. Serious Tech Lives Here Report: https://www.serioustechliveshere.com/technology-business-opportunities-kanata-north/ 9. Serious Tech Lives Here Report: https://www.serioustechliveshere.com/technology-business-opportunities-kanata-north/ 10. Ottawa Citizen news article (March 19, 2017): https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/rural-web-users-have-a-need-for-speedTech Hub for Emerging Businesses
An emerging tech hub in Ottawa
Kanata North seems something of a departure from political and bureaucraticOttawa, the capital that Canadians think they know so well — and it is,literally as well as figuratively.It’s a 15-minute drive from Parliament Hill, but for all its high-techresearch and innovation, its community atmosphere and esprit de corps, theunique community off Highway 417 might as well be light years away.It’s a youthful place of brilliance, creativity, and optimism where some ofthe best technological minds in the country gather each workday to invent newthings and make older ones better. And it’s a residential neighbourhood andrecreational area with all the associated amenities.It’s also growing. Tech employment in Kanata North has been consistently onthe rise since 1991. Combined, its Top 20 companies generated $3.3 billion inrevenues in 2015. Some say Kanata North is the land of multinationals, but thefact is two-thirds of its companies are Canadian. Here are some other thingsyou may not know about Kanata North.
Kanata North is the largest research and technology hub in Canada
More than 500 companies operate there, employing 21,000 people. It contributes$7.8 billion to Canada’s GDP, double that of Canada’s 26 other research andtechnology parks combined. And 90 per cent of all telecommunications researchand development conducted in Canada is done in Kanata North.Kanata North is building Ottawa’s technological economy.
Kanata North’s productivity is off the charts
Employees in Kanata North are three times as productive as the averageCanadian worker. In other words, per person, Kanata North workers contribute$255,000 apiece to GDP each year — three times the national average.
Kanata North is home to big operators and smaller startups, too
It’s the home of start-ups as well as industry giants like telecoms Nokia ofFinland, U.S.-based Ciena and Mitel, conceived and headquartered right here inKanata North. While Kanata North can accommodate firms employing anywhere fromtwo to 5,000 people, three-quarters of its tech firms have fewer than 50employees.
Kanata North is a self-contained community
Talk about convenience. You can work all morning, step out for lunch, and holdan afternoon business meeting while playing a round of golf. Out-of-townguests can stay at one of the on-site hotels. For those working in KanataNorth, home can be but a five-minute drive away. Quality of life goes hand-in-hand with Kanata North’s hard-earned reputation for technology and innovation.Traffic is not an issue, and nature trails abound.A technological ecosystem is part of what makes Kanata North unique.
Kanata North is built for success
It’s home to the two-year-old Centre of Excellence in Next GenerationNetworks, a not-for-profit, international consortium of industry, academic andresearch leaders dedicated to accelerating commercialization of next-generation communications technologies. More recently, L-Spark Incubator andAccelerator arrived, providing individualized mentorship for on-demand, orsoftware as a service (SaaS), providers with targeted support and exceptionalaccess to partners, investors and key contacts. The area’s collaborativeworkspaces are perfect for start-ups looking to tap into the wealth ofexpertise at hand in Kanata North.In short, Kanata North is the heart of technology and innovation in Canada. Ithas a long history of growing companies and it boasts some of the best andbrightest talent – inventors, creators and innovators – over a range oftechnologies, from wireless and telecom to photonics, optical, software andcloud SaaS.It is an ideal destination for companies that have outgrown their currentlocations, and those requiring more access to expertise and depth in theirfields. If a company is looking to capitalize on the leverage gained bylocating alongside companies in similar or complementary fields, Kanata Northis the place to go. The added bonus is that Kanata North is also a greatenvironment in which to live, work, and play, offering a peaceful, neighbourlyand convenient community with amenities and services for both business andfamilies.This Canadian tech park is attracting global talent to boost Ottawa’s economicrecoveryA tech park in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata is launching a multi-faceted effortto attract international tech workers to the area to help its pandemicrecovery.The Kanata North Business Association (KNBA), the business development arm ofthe Kanata North Tech Park, announced today its Discover Technata 2.0 talentattraction platform, which aims to build upon the 23,000 skilled techemployees working at the more than 540 companies in the park. The planconsists of virtual career fairs, talent roadshows and a new job board tohighlight all the tech opportunities available in Kanata North.> “Kanata North is a globally significant technology innovation cluster and a> major contributor to Ontario’s and Ottawa’s respective economies.” — Jamie> Petten, President at Kanata North Business Association.In August, Ottawa’s jobless rate had nearly tripled compared to its pre-pandemic rate, creating a need for valuable tech positions like these.Businesses in the park are major players in innovative industries like 5Gwireless networking, software-as-a-service, autonomous vehicles, artificialintelligence, assembly and manufacturing, cybersecurity, and others.“Kanata North is a globally significant technology innovation cluster and amajor contributor to Ontario’s and Ottawa’s respective economies,” said JamiePetten, President at Kanata North Business Association. “KNBA remains focusedon initiatives that will foster innovation within the city of Ottawa. We aimto further position this region as one of the worlds’ leading tech capitals byhelping drive the growth of the business area. At the same time, we’reoffering greater opportunities to talented professionals from around theworld, and giving them a chance to thrive in our innovation center.”With the current prevalence of remote work policies, more job opportunitiesare opening in the area for consultants, auditors, sales and marketingprofessionals, finance experts, and suppliers. There is also an exponentiallygrowing demand for research and development careers, especially those relatedto connectivity and 5G. Kanata North has become known for its position as oneof the world’s primary 5G tech hubs, with innovative businesses and startupsleading the way in research and development of the next generation oftelecommunications tech.Sir Terry Matthews, Image Credit: Alacrity Foundation“There is unprecedented growth taking place worldwide related to 5G wirelessbroadband networks and solutions,” said Sir Terry Matthews, the billionairebusiness magnate behind one of Canada’s most successful telecoms, Mitel, andwho also owns properties in the tech park. “Investments are being made aroundthe globe in the communications industry, which will result in significanteconomic growth for the areas where the tech suppliers are prominent …Initiatives such as those led by the Kanata North Business Association willensure continued growth for our global 5G and other leaders for years tocome.”In October, the Discover Technata’s Virtual Career Fair hosted more than17,000 guests, who showed interest in connecting with businesses in the park.KNBA will be holding a virtual roadshow to showcase all the opportunities thepark’s businesses have to offer to people from Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal,and Vancouver who are looking for work.Throughout the sprawling Kanata North area of offices, labs and residentialspaces, giant multinational brands like Blackberry QNX, Nokia, Ericsson, andHuawei share a community with up-and-coming startups like Youi.tv, Solace, andMartello.> “Canada’s tech companies continue to innovate and grow, even remotely,” —> Jason Flick, CEO at You.i TV.The park’s work-life balance is another selling point for potential workerscoming to the area, as more than 50 percent of employees in the park livewithin five kilometers of their office. The tech park is also home to a pairof universities and an autonomous vehicles public test track, which madeOttawa the first city in Canada to start testing self-driving vehicles withinlive city infrastructure.Ottawa was named Canada’s best tech hub to live and work in 2017, and hasbecome notable for its concentration of research and development jobs, as wellas opportunities for scientists and engineers.“Canada’s tech companies continue to innovate and grow, even remotely,” saidJason Flick, CEO at You.i TV, one of the emerging startups that calls theKanata North tech park home. “KNBA has been essential to help companies likeours extend our recruiting reach by attracting tech talent, and seasonedbusiness leaders to help us scale and grow our business.”Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.