Waterloo's Future is Bright, Even if RIM's Isn't

Posted by Rob Lewis

When Research In Motion exploded into a global success in the early 2000s, the company—which became the largest of Canada's technology sector—spurred Waterloo's development, influencing it to become the entrepreneurial gold rush it is today.

But as RIM falls from grace, Canadians worry that the city of Waterloo will crumble alongside it. This isn't likely going to be the case.

RIM's success was profound enough and sustained long enough that its positive effects on Waterloo should prove permanent. According to an infographic by local startup Sortable, there are more than 850 tech firms and 550 tech startups within the city's metro area today, with well over 500 new companies having been started in the past three years. 

Reinforcing these numbers is Ian Klugman, the CEO of Communitech—a local startup incubator that RIM helped fund—who told The Verge recently that the Waterloo region had about 50 companies 15 years ago and today has over 1,000.

Now 30,000 people work at tech firms in the region of Waterloo, which is described as the "second best performing economy in Canada," generating $25 billion in revenue from the tech sector and earning patents at three times the national per capita average. 

Further, Waterloo is both one of our country's fastest growing populations—and also the third youngest. As well, it's home to numerous startup incubators and accelerators, including Velocity, Hyperdrive, and the Accelerator Centre.

And that's not to mention the University of Waterloo, which was recently named Canada's top engineering school and has been described as the country's "most innovative university." No wonder the city was recognized as "the world's top intelligent community" in 2007.

Ian affirms that, on average, one local startup is founded every day. So if RIM collapsed tomorrow, it wouldn't hurt Waterloo, even though 8,000 employees work there today. In fact, it may even prove a boon to the region.

Infographic: Sortable

Company:
BlackBerry
Website:
http://www.blackberry.com
Location:
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Research In Motion (RIM), a global leader in wireless innovation, revolutionized the mobile industry with the introduction of the BlackBerry solution in 1999. Since then, BlackBerry products and services have continued to change the way millions of people around the world stay connected. With the launch of BlackBerry 10, we have re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry. Not only did we introduce a... more

Company:
Sortable
Website:
http://www.sortable.com
Location:
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Sortable is a Waterloo based startup building decision engine technology, through their network of sites they provide consumers with personalized high quality recommendations. Sortable.com lets users skip the research and easily find what they are looking for all on one site without having to deal with endless pages of results on Google. more


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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of Techvibes.com.  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more




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