‘Gateway to Growth’: Innovation hub launches in Canada’s capital

January 14, 2021


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A state-of-the-art global technology centre will arrive in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, and it aims to support growth on a global scale by bringing together industry, academia and finance professionals to the benefit of startups and enterprises alike.

On Thursday, the Kanata North Business Association (KNBA), the economic development arm of Canada’s largest technology park with the same name, announced the launch of Hub350, a community center for the tech park that will serve as a conduit for community members to connect with research, industrial and financial resources from Canada and around the world.

“This will be a gateway to growth, to finance, to talent, to success.” — Jaime Petten

“This will be a gateway to growth, to finance, to talent, to success,” said Jaime Petten, President and Executive Director, KNBA. “The Hub350 space will be the truest intersection of nature and technology – a trendy, natural atmosphere to attract world class talent and companies, while showcasing Kanata North as Canada’s destination to live, work, play and learn.” The centre plans to open its doors in the summer of 2021.

Rendering of Hub350. Credit: KNBA

Similar initiatives exist in other large Canadian cities, including the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

A ‘town hall’ for the hundreds of tech companies located in Kanata North 

Hub350 is located in the heart of the Kanata North Technology Park, Canada’s largest tech park situated about 20 minutes away from downtown Ottawa. The park is home to 543 member companies, including some of the country’s telecommunications stalwarts like Mitel and BlackBerry, international conglomerates like Cisco, Ericsson and Ford Motor Company, and a host of promising startups. It’s also home to L-SPARK, the country’s largest SaaS accelerator.

The new hub is meant to serve as a focal point, connecting different parts of the innovation ecosystem in Kanata North and beyond.

“With support from Hub350, teams like ours will be able to set up more meetings with post secondary institutions, corporate partners and investors in the future. Having these resources available all in one collaborative and dynamic community work space at the heart of the technology park will be invaluable,” said Tracy King, VP Marketing at Martello Technologies. “It’s great to see that, in many ways, we will now have a town hall for the hundreds of tech companies located in Kanata.”

The new hub is complementary to KNBA’s and the City of Ottawa Long Term Planning, Economic Development’s long-term mission to have the park designated as a special economic district. The area in which it’s located, the campus of telecoms giant Mitel, will emerge as a mixed use innovation district with ecosystem partners collaborating in this shared space.

The hub has already received commitments from nearby Carleton University to establish Kanata North satellite campuses directly in the technology park. Their campuses are now offering talent, research and training directly to Kanata North member businesses to accelerate everything from R&D to growth.

Canada’s push to attract technology talent

Hub350 will likely serve as another tool in the arsenal of regional business development leaders to attract tech talent to the area – once hailed as the Silicon Valley of Canada.

Rendering of Hub350. Credit: KNBA

According to KNBA, the hub will also be the home of Discover Technata – Canada’s largest aggregated tech job board. In an effort to rebuild the economy after COVID-19, the job board seeks to attract job seekers from around the world to Kanata North. It has been reported that there are currently over 10,000 open positions advertised on the Discover Technata Job Board, and 500 roles available locally with member companies located in Kanata North Technology Park.

For the past half-decade or so, Canada has increasingly been characterized as an alternative to Silicon Valley, prompted by government initiatives to encourage and support technology research and development as well as encourage investment in startups, among other initiatives. The nation has been looking to fill a dearth of tech talent as a whole, most notably inviting in techies whose US visas were cancelled during the term of President Donald Trump.


Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.


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