Tech highway for a mega-region

Posted 3664 days ago by OttWatch in category Company News with 0 Comments 

Companies in the corridor, almost 6,000 of them, spanning the software, photonics, wireless, cleantech, digital media, life sciences, and microelectronics sectors, employ more than 250,000 people. There are almost 30 universities and colleges along the Ottorloo corridor.

By James Bowen and Tony Patterson
From SCAN's Print Edition

Ontario’s high tech regions are building an economic highway to link themselves tighter as the ecosystem idea of economic growth gains traction (SCAN issues passim, search ‘ecosystem’ here on the SCANsite). Funded primarily by Queen’s Park and nicknamed Ottorloo, the freeway has various official names and guises.
First is the Ontario Technology Corridor (OTC), now a couple of years old but little publicized until recently (the website was launched just last month). OTC links Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo as the heart of high tech in the province, which in turn is the heart of one of 10 tech mega-regions in North America.
Economic development agencies of the three cities have formed the MaRS Collaboration Network (MCN) to help start-ups and entrepreneurs overcome hurdles. OCRI (Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation) in Ottawa has imported some training methods from MaRS (Medical and Related Sciences) in Toronto, and in turn is exporting its highly successful Entrepreneur’s Edge program to Communitech in Waterloo.
Ideas are great, real products and services even better, but business plans are needed in order to access capital ─ not just private capital, but public funds, such as the $29 million Ontario Investment Accelerator Fund. Executives-in-residence (EIRs) at the three agencies help build business plans and serve as mentors for SMEs ready to take a next step. Peter Becke, a longtime Nortel exec and former CEO of Cybercore, fills this role at OCRI, as does ex-Ottawan Dan Mathers at Communitech.