• By: Allen Brown

How Does Government Support in Ottawa Make it a Winning Region for Start-ups?

Ottawa’s tech scene is one of the most aspirational in the world, and the city previously ranked as the number-one city in North America for tech talent concentration. This makes it beneficial for businesses in the region, as they have access to the best people for key roles.

Numerous other factors make Ottawa an incredible region for start-ups. Indeed, the government makes it easy for businesses to thrive if they contribute to the overall growth of the economy in the Canadian capital.

Various Industries are Thriving in Ottawa

When you look at the wider picture in Ottawa, it’s clear that certain industries are flourishing. For instance, the mobile sector is huge in the city. This is evidenced by the fact that many major app developers operate here, including the likes of Desingli and MindSea. Ottawa capitalized on the mobile market as it was beginning to boom, and also broke into iGaming at around the same time. This industry has grown exponentially, and there are now countless online casinos operating in Canada. There’s a constant need for new casino games, with Red Hot Luck and Beam Boys a couple of the latest releases. Businesses related to iGaming are in huge demand here, and they will always have an audience to market to.

The fact that all these sectors are booming can be attributed to the clever way that Ottawa has made things so smooth for businesses. The government understands that start-ups go through a life cycle, with different challenges emerging as they grow. This is why Invest Ottawa has programs like IO Ignition, IO Flex, IO Accelerator, and IO ScaleUp to help businesses at different stages of their early life cycle.

Start-ups Get Access to Early Investment

One of the main reasons why start-ups flock to Ottawa is thanks to the early investment on offer. There are numerous funds and support programs, which vary depending on the nature of a business. For instance, start-ups involved with clean technologies can avail of the Sustainable Development Technology Canada grant, which offers up to CA$50 million. It doesn’t just stop at financial assistance, though. There are also early guidance and networking opportunities available, and this all contributes to giving businesses the best start possible.

Canada has a multitude of Regional Development Agencies across the country, many of which are based in Ottawa. These provide a range of services to start-ups, including workforce training. There are countless tools available to small businesses to give them a leg up in the beginning.

Certain Start-ups Eligible for Grants

Along with investment, there are many grants on offer for start-ups in Ottawa and Canada as a whole. The grants are often focused on innovation, with the Strategic Innovation Fund being a prime example of this. Eligible projects can claim up to 50% of their projected costs, with the amount varying depending on the nature of the start-up.

There’s also the CanExport Innovation program, which provides up to 75% in development costs to businesses that fit the criteria. That’s an incredible incentive to spur creative business ideas in the region.

There are loads of factors that make Ottawa a hotbed for new businesses. Along with all the grants and investments, businesses are inspired to set up here when they see the success of others.