Invest Ottawa Replaces OCRI
On February 21, 2012, Mayor Jim Watson joined co-chair Jeff Westeinde and local entrepreneurs to officially open Invest Ottawa, the flagship of the City's $5.5-million annual economic development strategy.
Invest Ottawa, which replaces the Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation (OCRI), will foster start-up enterprises, attract new investment, and help existing businesses located in Ottawa expand beyond our borders. While OCRI was established in 1983 to leverage the emerging high-tech industry, the development of Invest Ottawa re-focuses the organization on further developing knowledge-based sectors such as green energy, defence and security, photonics, digital media, film and television, and life sciences.
"One of my priorities in this mandate was to establish Invest Ottawa to help attract more investment and foster greater economic growth in our nation's capital," said Mayor Jim Watson. "Recent headlines surrounding public service job losses underscore the need to diversify our local economy, and Invest Ottawa is going to help us do just that. Invest Ottawa is a clear commitment to inspire more entrepreneurs to build our prosperity to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow."
"I feel like Ottawa has a renewed interest in growing exciting businesses again." said Bruce Lazenby, Invest Ottawa's President and CEO. "We are now providing incubation services for startups, rapidly forming effective collaborations between the city's economic stakeholders to increase entrepreneurial activity, and hiring sector-specific business development executives tasked with measurable growth goals."
"This region's educated and talented workforce, outstanding amenities, and high quality of life make Ottawa an attractive location for any potential investor," added Mayor Watson. "Invest Ottawa is going to help us communicate this to potential investors, and I look forward to seeing the results."
"Invest Ottawa and our many partners want to bring a new attitude to economic development in Ottawa," said Mr. Lazenby "Backed by more resources, and the City's commitment to helping our next generation of entrepreneurs succeed on a global basis and create great local jobs as they grow, Ottawa will just keep getting better."
Invest Ottawa's launch occurs as the most recent Statistics Canada jobs report stated the region added more than 8,300 jobs in January and more than 20,000 jobs over the past year. This pushed the Ottawa and area's jobless rate down to 5.9 per cent, well below the national figure of 7.6 per cent.
Professor Richard Florida, the award-winning author of "Who's Your City?," rates Ottawa as the "Best Overall" city in Canada on a "Creative Class Index" based on the 3Ts of economic development – Technology, Talent and Tolerance.
About Invest Ottawa:
Invest Ottawa delivers economic development programs and initiatives that increase entrepreneurial momentum, wealth and jobs in the City of Ottawa and its surrounding region. Its goal is to make Ottawa the best place in Canada to start and grow a knowledge-based business. Invest Ottawa services include start-up incubation and mentorship, acceleration for existing companies, global business attraction and local business retention, targeted sector development, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa's diversified economy and high quality of life.
For more information on Invest Ottawa, please visit investottawa.ca