I don’t know if the term Innovation Corridor will catch on. It’s kind of wordy. It doesn’t really sound as interesting as the Silicone Valley. It sounds more like the information superhighway. Remember that one?
I think that was Al Gore. Remember him. He’s the guy who invented the internet.
Anyway, our three local mayors and Toronto’s mayor John Tory, went down to California to invite Canadians living there back to the Great White North.
“Come back”, they said, “we have lots of jobs for you. We have paid maternity leave and a diverse culture. Come back and buy a house. Be close to your ageing parents. Come back and see for yourself how much Canada’s high tech industry has grown and advanced in the last few years”.
For non-Canadians in the tech sector, Canada offers, tech investors and companies wishing to set up here a lot of brilliant, innovative minds and companies. Canada is also cheap. Cheap rent, cheaper labour and the US dollar can buy a lot more in Kitchener that it can in San Jose.
Toronto and Waterloo Region are separated by just 112 Kilometres (70 miles). The ‘corridor’ has the second highest density of startups in the world, second only to the silicone Valley. We are home to more than 15,000 tech companies and 200,000 tech workers.
In Waterloo Region there are currently 13 California firms doing business and employing 1,900 workers.
Furthermore, 18 California venture capital companies have invested millions of dollars into Waterloo Region’s technology companies over the past two years.
Waterloo Region has a long history of entrepreneurship. In the past 20 years we have created a strong startup ecosystem supported by our leading post-secondary institutions as well as our maker spaces and co-working facilities, including the Communitech Hub, Velocity, and the Accelerator Centre.
Our population is only about 550,000 but in the last five years we have seen rapid growth of the startup ecosystem, producing 1845 new startups and attracting $650M in investment.
I’m sure the mayors told everyone how great we are.