Let­ter from the ed­i­tor

Ottawa Business Journal - Techopia - - Letter From The Editor -

Busi­ness, as in box­ing, can of­ten be sum­ma­rized as a se­ries of small ad­just­ments to one’s op­po­nent. And in 2009, Ottawa was forced to make more than a few cor­rec­tions to our scrap­ping style. “It’s been a long year for Ottawa’s tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try, one seem­ingly fraught with dan­ger at ev­ery turn.” I wrote those words, or words to that ef­fect, to kick off the 2009 ver­sion of the Ottawa Tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try guide.

One year later, the same sen­ti­ment still rings true. Last year by al­most any mea­sure was a tough year for high tech; in Ottawa, the sell­off of Nor­tel and for­eign ac­qui­si­tions of home­grown firms such as Tun­dra Semi­con­duc­tor led to the sound­ing of many an alarm bell.

And though the over­all in­dus­try did see resur­gence in IPO and merger-an­dac­qui­si­tion ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the sec­ond half of the year, most ac­knowl­edge there’s still a long way to go be­fore re­turn­ing to the heady days be­fore the fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

But as this year’s mag­a­zine clearly shows, Ottawa is emerg­ing from the shadow of the Nor­tel dis­as­ter and ab­sence of ven­ture cap­i­tal fund­ing. Startup ac­tiv­ity at the grass­roots level is so hot it could be classified a brush fire, thanks to our in­tel­li­gent work­force and a slew of proac­tive busi­ness in­cu­ba­tors and ecosys­tems. And as Ste­fan Dubowski’s piece on mo­bile applications shows, there are many great com­pa­nies in Ottawa work­ing on mo­bile applications to solve prob­lems you and I haven’t even thought of yet.

Sim­i­larly, Krys­tle Chow’s story on the emerg­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for Ottawa firms in U.S. health care shows an­other bur­geon­ing mar­ket­place many lo­cal firms have no doubt af­fixed to their radar screens.

In­deed, we in Ottawa seem to be mor­ph­ing into some­thing I’ll call – at the risk of sound­ing a tad melo­dra­matic – a new era of tech­nol­ogy. It’s an era of big think­ing but smaller, more sus­tain­able com­pa­nies, per­haps. And while smaller com­pa­nies don’t lead to the next Cog­nos, they do pro­vide a strong crit­i­cal mass upon which our mid-sized and larger en­ti­ties can thrive.

And as OCRI chief Claude Haw in­di­cates in his let­ter on the op­po­site page, new sec­tors such as dig­i­tal me­dia are racing to fill the vacuum left by the col­lapse of ven­ture cap­i­tal and big tele­com play­ers.

We took our lumps in 2009, no doubt. But we also dusted our­selves off, got up off the can­vas and adapted to what the mar­ket threw at us – a key step to­wards a winning strat­egy.

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