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.