Known to many as a “sleepy Government town” at the intersection of two rivers, there’s a dirty little secret about Ottawa-Gatineau you may not know. The most educated city in Canada, Ottawa-Gatineau is home to the second largest concentration of engineers and scientists in North America after Silicon Valley. Bolstered by four post-secondary institutions where 20% of students specialize in STEM studies, over 10% of the region’s workforce are employed in technology (ICT) careers. And those who have an eye on growing their business globally can take advantage of the many Government programs hosted here.
But there’s much more to it than statistics. I believe a key reason the technology community thrives in this region is its openness and the desire of the people here to help one-another. There are a mind-numbing number of technology-themed meetups, workshops, and open-houses that are free and open to anyone, just a quick search away. Whether you’re interested in improving your startup, understanding cybersecurity threats and how to deal with them, improving your business’ user experience, or diving deeply into a functional programming language, there’s a meetup for you (and it’s probably happening this evening!). And those who attend are both happy and willing to help you on your journey. Hundreds of years of experience – likely of any type you can imagine – just a question away.
If you’ve ever been to this area you are probably thinking, “You’re burying the lead! The quality of life in Canada’s Capital Region is what makes it special.” I agree. With it’s amazing parks and rivers, and even a campground and a whitewater training centre, inside the City limits, citizens of Ottawa-Gatineau can enjoy nature every day. For a uniquely Ottawa experience, in winter you can have hot chocolate and a Beaver Tail while you skate on the World’s largest naturally frozen ice rink. If that’s not enough, drive ten or twenty minutes and you’re in Gatineau Park, home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the Nation. Drive a little further and you can enjoy world-class back-country camping, or take advantage of our whitewater region.
It’s no wonder the National Capital Region has become home to 1,750 knowledge-based businesses in a broad range of sectors including software, clean tech, digital media, aerospace, defence, security, communications, and life sciences. It is even home to, not one, but two connected and autonomous vehicle test tracks.
Whatever your interest, there’s something here for you. Though the best reason to come to Ottawa-Gatineau is for the people. The National Capital Region is a very welcoming city. It has even been selected as the #1 global city for “Talent, Technology, and Tolerance”, and as the #1 “Best Place to Live for New Canadians”. Ottawa’s citizens are wired to help others and they do so both in their professional context and in their personal lives.
After years working mostly abroad, I am very happy Converge invited me to join their team, giving me the opportunity to finally take advantage of all that the National Capital Region has to offer. So, if you’re looking for a great place to build or grow your technology business and improve your employees’ quality of life, come join us! And give me a shout when you get here.
About George Watt
A transformative leader, George has spearheaded initiatives that have enabled businesses and global enterprises to address complex technology problems, deliver new business benefits, and drive millions of dollars in savings and productivity gains.
He has delivered innovations of his own such as a knowledge base for a neural network-based predictive performance management solution, one of the earliest private clouds (2005), and a lightweight event management agent.