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Ottawa Tops List of Business Friendly Cities in the Americas

We are going to need a bigger mantle over the fireplace.

The city is running out of room to display all the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) awards that keep coming. In April the Financial Times (via their research arm fDi Magazine) analyzed 77, mid-sized cities, in the Western Hemisphere and bestowed upon Ottawa the following:

  • #1 for Business Friendliness,

  • #2 for Economic Potential,

  • #10 for Human Capital and Lifestyle, and

  • #3 Overall (one for only 2 Canadian cities in the Top 10)

Data was collected in five categories: Economic Potential, Business Friendliness, Cost Effectiveness, Connectivity, and Human Capital and Lifestyle. This is the second time in two years the publication has recognized Canada’s Capital. In 2013/14, it awarded Ottawa the top spot for its FDI strategy.

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Ottawa’s Mayor, Jim Watson, says this is a just another signal that the tech sector is back in Ottawa,“Our knowledge-based industry is burgeoning, with more than 1,700 companies here employing over 66,000 people. Our high rankings when viewed through the lens of foreign direct investment stand testament to our continuing efforts to cut red tape and to create a business ecosystem that gives investors every reason to choose Ottawa.”

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Bruce Lazenby, CEO of Invest Ottawa, says,”The Ottawa ecosystem has been growing at a rapid pace, having led the country in software and communications IPOs in the past five years and with over a billion dollars spent by Ottawa firms acquiring foreign companies. With our local talent and resources, there has never been a more exciting time to grow a business in the nation’s capital.”

FDI: A City’s Economic Engine

“Foreign-Direct Investment” may not be a household term but it’s a process that’s critical to creating jobs and wealth. Andrea Blaylock, the Business Development Manager for Software at Invest Ottawa, explains it this way, “FDI helps build the Ottawa ecosystem with companies based outside of Canada. We target key technologies and businesses, which will benefit by expanding into our city”.

In 2014 overall global FDI investment inflows rose 9% to $1.45 trillion. In Canada, it hit nearly $70 billion in 2013. The opportunities to attract international dollars are also moving beyond natural resources and manufacturing. As big data starts to take over our daily lives, the knowledge-based industry (KBI) will play an integral role in growing our local ecosystem. Blaylock, says strong FDI strategies are critical for any city looking to compete on a global scale and create jobs,”Typically the companies are enticed by the cost advantages (low tax rates, government incentives, relative cost of talent and a lower cost of living) and a business-friendly climate for building a local research & product development centre”.

Recent expansions from international companies such as Syntronics and Ciena showcase the growing demand for Ottawa talent. Furthermore, for years Ottawa has led the country in Software and Communications IPO’s and Shopify’s recent filing cements that status. When you factor in the addition of the commercialization centres of excellence, the creation of world-class incubators and the future Innovation Centre taking shape; many believe our FDI attraction will simply gain strength as Ottawa becomes the most innovative city in Canada.

source: Ryan Gibson,, published May 14, 2015