Here is a guide with everything you need to know about Ottawa’s startup ecosystem and what it has to offer to entrepreneurs and jobs seekers moving to Ottawa. Wondering what are the options in Canada, to set up your entrepreneurial venture? Look no more as we have the answer to it and it is Ottawa!
With a population of 1.3 million people, the city is welcoming to entrepreneurial ventures and professionals who want to move here. Ottawa has a GDP of $58 billion and is a rapidly developing startup ecosystem. This fertile startup city has a lot of entrepreneurial potentials that is yet to be explored fully. There are over 500 companies with an average valuation of $3.8 million and a lucrative job market in this capital city. By moving to Ottawa, you don’t just make yourself a part of a dynamic business environment but also get a rewarding personal life.
Why Entrepreneurs Prefer Moving to Ottawa?
Ottawa has a healthy GDP growth rate and a number of startup industries that are thriving. Some of the fast-growing startup niches in Ottawa are tourism, healthcare, public service, tech, and manufacturing and construction. The city has a lot to offer and a lot of rare untapped entrepreneurial opportunities for startups. It also poses a lot of advantage regarding connectivity as it is the capital of the country and is well connected than most Canadian cities. Canada has been late riser on the startup scene, however early stage entrepreneurs and startup job seekers are moving there in big numbers to leverage its diversity and startup friendly policies. Ottawa remains, one of the most promising cities for entrepreneurs moving to Canada.
Ottawa has a Startup-Friendly Government
You can take advantage of the several state and federal government initiatives that have been introduced to help the startup ecosystem grow. The government of Canada has a special division of visa services exclusively for startups and entrepreneurs who are considering moving to Ottawa. Not just that, the Canadian government also has a funding program for startups in Ottawa. The grants through these programs are easy to acquire, and agencies do not have a stringent filtering process for the candidates. This is why more and more entrepreneurs are choosing Ottawa over other cities in America and Canada to begin their startup journey.
Move to Ottawa to Work with the Most Educated Workforce
A talented human resource capital is an asset to any startup no matter how big or small it is. The city has some of the world-renowned colleges and universities that offer top-notch courses in several fields. These institutes are rich sources of talent that graduate hundreds of skilled professionals for different domains. Startups can leverage this and get the best human resource capital for their firms within Ottawa. Over 25,000 students graduate annually from educational institutes in Ottawa specializing in STEM alone. The city has one of the highest concentrations of tech professionals in the world, by moving to Ottawa you can tap into this talent pool to grow your startup venture.
Get Affordable Resources in Ottawa
Real estate costs in Ottawa are very affordable making it an ideal place live and work. The city is one of the most affordable large cities in Canada. Rents for office spaces are reasonable, and the city has a good number of shared office spaces which are even cheaper than renting out entire office space. Moving to Ottawa for laying the base for your startup can help you save a lot of costs in terms of rent while at the same time give you access to plush office spaces without burning a hole in your pocket. A good office does a lot for your business’ image and is an essential part of running a business.
Get the Best of Talent at Affordable Prices
The city of Ottawa does not just top our list when it comes to the educated workforce but also when in terms of affordable workforce. The Canadian dollar is cheaper than USD which allows you to get more for the same cost as compared to American startup ecosystems. Taking care of your employees’ insurance needs is also more convenient and affordable as the country has a universal health care program which saves organizations a lot of money which otherwise would have been spent on healthcare. The lower Canadian dollar value also helps in attracting investors who can get more for lesser costs.
Ottawa has a Growing Tech Sector that is Gaining International Visibility
The large community of scientists, engineers, and other tech professionals in the city has helped the tech sector grow at an impressive rate. The National Research Council is another factor that has contributed to this growth. Some of the segments in the tech niche saw a double fold increase in the local venture capital funding in just a year between 2016 and 2017. Some of the critical sub-sectors that have outdone the others are:
AI Startups in Ottawa
One of the main AI applications of the sub-sector in Ottawa is autonomous vehicles section. Ottawa was the first city in Canada to have tested autonomous vehicles with the ability to communicate with live city infrastructure. The city’s proximity to Kanata North Technology Park, the largest Canadian technology park, is another driving factor for the Artificial Intelligence industry. The Ottawa AI industry comprises of close to 150 companies and more than 10,000 professionals.
Big Data & Analytics Startups in Ottawa
Moving to Ottawa is beneficial for tech Big Data experts and analysts as the city has a growing Big Data and Analytics industry. An up and coming name in this sub-sector is Klipfolio which is a trailblazing real-time business dashboard company. The venture has raised $16.8 million so far. Canada is home to several businesses that use Big Data in many ways to grow their business and to understand what drives it.
Cybersecurity Startups in Ottawa
One of the five largest network security companies, Fortinet, has a large R&D center in Ottawa. The company works with the federal government in the country and helps in improving the governments IT systems. The growth of the cybersecurity startups in Ottawa can be attributed to the presence of crucial organizations like the Canadian Communications Security Establishment, the Security Space, the Canadian Cyber Threat Exchange and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center. A lot of startups in Ottawa have established themselves in this field, and some of them are highly dependent on the institutions as mentioned earlier. One of the success stories worth highlighting is that of Interset which has raised 24 million till date. It is an AI and machine learning platform that helps detect insider threats.
Invest Ottawa is one of the crucial catalysts that is helping the startup ecosystem grow to become one of the top ecosystems in the world. Invest Ottawa does this by delivering programs and initiatives for economic development. The organization is a proud Startup Genome member as well.
Some other partners of the startup ecosystem in Ottawa are:
Kanata North BIA
Lead to Win
La Cite College
If you are an entrepreneur looking forward to working in high growth and rewarding startup ecosystem, you may want to move to Ottawa. One of the startup stories that have now become globally known is that of Shopify which is one of the largest companies in this ecosystem. The city boasts of highest per capita spending in R&D and has some of the best educational and research centers. It is not just your professional life that is benefitted but also your personal life when you move to Ottawa. The perks of living in the capital of a country are unmatched. The city has a 24/7 transport service, swoon-worthy scenic places, and a number of cultural festivals that you can enjoy with the warm and welcoming communities of Ottawa.
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