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Capital ADVOCACY. DIALOGUE. CONNECTIONS.

SOPHIA LEONG OF TELFER EXECUTIVE MBA ON HELPING LOCAL BUSINESS ACCELERATE p. 20

THE

SMALL BUSINESS ISSUE

Plus

ACCELERATING GROWTH Ottawa entrepreneurs & small business

WHY OTTAWA IS THE BEST PLACE

owners put the pedal to the metal Left to right: Hugues Boisvert, Greg Skotnicki, Patricia Liptak-Satov, Shelley True

PM 43 13 6012

THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF

to Live, Work & Play, and Invest

SEARIDGE SPREADS ITS WINGS

in Asia and across the globe

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Experts in Development and Project Management Dedicated to improving the Nation’s Capital

www.gbassociates.ca

IMAGINE, PARTNER, BUILD.

GBA gratefully acknowledges the efforts of all Hydro workers and first responders in the September 21st tornadoes.

The Canadian Firefighter Memorial Respectfully developed in 2012 by GBA


CONTENTS

Capital

FALL/WINTER 2018

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42

30

COVE R: KEVI N BEL ANGER

FEATURES

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30

42

Networking and Risk-taking Keys to accelerating your business

Immigrant Small Business Owners in Ottawa Creating Jobs, Providing Services, and Strengthening the Local Economy

NCR Small Businesses Expanding, Gaining Canadian, Global Presence

BY AL J E K A MMING A

BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N

BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N

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CONTENTS

Capital

FALL/WINTER 2018

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60

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FEATURES

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DEPARTMENTS

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Capital Context Ottawa Entrepreneurs get a boost before lift-off

The OBOT Perspective

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Post-Secondary Institutions Earn an A+ From Futureprenuers

Kanata North Home to small companies with big ideas

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Cultivating Millennial-Run Businesses through Dialogue

Five Ottawa Companies Making their mark in the world BY BA RBA RA BA LFO UR

IN EVERY ISSUE

8 From the Publisher

BY A L J E K A M M I N G A

16 Building the Capital Capital Build Task Force

BY ANNA WI L L I AMS

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On the Cover

CEO View Vibrant Community, Support System Sparking SME Growth in NCR

Capital ADVOCACY. DIALOGUE. CONNECTIONS.

Capital Around Town

SMALL BUSINESS ISSUE

Plus

p.22

ACCELERATING GROWTH Ottawa entrepreneurs & small business

WHY OTTAWA IS THE BEST PLACE

owners put the pedal to the metal

50

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Left to right: Hugues Boisvert, Greg Skotniki, Patricia Liptak-Satov, Shelley True

PM 43136012

THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF

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p.20

THE

BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N

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SOPHIA LEONG OF TELFER EXECUTIVE MBA ON HELPING LOCAL BUSINESS ACCELERATE p. 20

to Live, Work & Play, and Invest

SEARIDGE SPREADS ITS WINGS in Asia and across the globe

p.28 p.58

VISIT OUR WEBSITE! CAPITALMAG.CA FALL/WINTER 2018

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ALL URGE - NO SURGE NO SURGE PRICING EVER!!!!

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THE OBOT PERSPECTIVE

The New Ottawa Board of Trade Together, we can be stronger and make our business community a vibrant force

OUR BIG NEWS OF LATE has been the con-

Ian Faris, President and CEO Ottawa Board of Trade MAR K HO LLERON

solidation of the three Chambers in Ottawa into the new Ottawa Board of Trade. The members of the West Ottawa Board of Trade, Orléans Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce have provided an overwhelming mandate to create a single Chamber for the City of Ottawa. The organization returns to its roots that date back to its creation in 1857 by a special Act of the Federal Parliament. With those historic roots firmly planted in the ground, the Board of Trade is a modern vehicle that will be uniquely positioned to impact community prosperity through advocacy and economic development; bring greater value and benefit to our members and future members; and strengthen the voice of business in our community. The Board of Trade is demonstrating progress in achieving its vision and mission. We have put in place a Provisional Board of Directors, made up of executives from across the City, that will exercise its mandate to oversee the transition of the Chambers;

and to go about the collaborative work of building a modern 21st Century business advocacy organization. One that will work to the benefit of the entire business community in Ottawa. Additionally, we have branded the new organization with a logo that represents the many facets of our business community working together, including size of company, sector and geographic area; together with the aspirational message that we strive to represent stability, innovation, diversity and sustainability—all vitally important to success in a modern economy. The Board of Trade has established a new Strategic Plan that focuses on providing a superior membership experience by Building Business through connections, networking opportunities and constructive dialogue. We will advocate on behalf of members and the businesses by Creating Prosperity through work in areas such as economic growth, business competitiveness, infrastructure development, talent attraction & retention and by building an innovative, healthy and sustainable community. Finally, we will advance our City as a global, iconic Capital by Growing Opportunities by putting Ottawa on a leadership track with a cogent vision, that is best in class. If you’re not a member of the Ottawa Board of Trade, this is the perfect opportunity to be part of this growing movement. Together, we can be stronger and make our business community a vibrant force that can bring lasting change to make Ottawa the best place to Live, Work & Play, as well as the best place to Invest, Study & Visit.

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Capital Special people for special times IT TAKES A special kind of person to tackle—and overcome—

the numerous and varied challenges of entrepreneurship. As a result, today’s entrepreneurs are widely and accurately viewed as bold, innovative, dynamic and energetic. But while we’re united in our praise of entrepreneurs, we may not all be on the same page when it comes to identifying them. They are not, as it turns out, all extremely young and extraordinarily knowledgeable, particularly when it comes to modern technology. For starters, a recent survey found that 60 per cent of self-employed people in Canada are between the ages of 35-55, a significant increase from 15 years before. And only 17 per cent of micro-business owners are under the age of 50. There’s more. A Statistics Canada survey recently determined that about 50 per cent of all entrepreneurs fall in the 50 to 64 age range. There are good reasons why so many older Canadians are willing to take on the challenges and risks of entrepreneurship. Many were employed for most of their lives; now, financially secure, they want to turn their hobby into a career. Others may have lost their jobs through downsizing. Finding it difficult to find a new job, they’ve decided it’s time to strike out on their own. Unfortunately, the rising entrepreneurship tide has not lifted all Canadians. Women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses often face additional challenges. Data show women entrepreneurs seeking financial assistance are more likely to be rejected or receive less money. As a result, women own fewer than 16 per cent of all businesses in Canada. The good news is that steps are now being taken to alleviate that situation. When those steps take effect, the doors to entrepreneurship will be open to anyone with the desire and the ambition to succeed. And that’s good for everyone. In Ottawa, there’s even more good news. The recent consolidation of the city’s three chambers of commerce, resulting in the new Ottawa Board of Trade, is certain to benefit Ottawa’s entire business community, including entrepreneurs. As Ian Faris, the president and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade, says elsewhere in this edition of Capital, “we’re now uniquely positioned to impact community prosperity through advocacy and economic development.” A positive change, the consolidation is certain to produce positive results.

The magazine about doing business in Ottawa, created by the Ottawa Board of Trade in partnership with gordongroup. OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE 328 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON  K2P 0J9 Phone: 613-236-3631 www.ottawabot.ca President & CEO Ian Faris Director of Communications & Managing Editor Kenny Leon PUBLISHER gordongroup 55 Murray Street / Suite 108 Ottawa, Ontario  K1N 5M3 Phone: 613-234-8468 info@gordongroup.com Project Manager Terry McMillan Contributors Barbara Balfour Jeff Buckstein Emily Mathisen

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OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE Director of Membership Experience, Ottawa Board of Trade Chantal Calderone Phone: 613-236-3631 / 120 chantal.calderone@ottawabot.ca www.capitalmag.ca

ISSN 2371-333X. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of the contents without prior written authorization from the publisher is strictly prohibited. PM 43136012. Capital is published three times a year: winter, spring, and fall. Printed in Canada.

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MAR K HO LLERON

Robert Chitty, President gordongroup

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CAPITAL CONTEXT

Ottawa Entrepreneurs get a boost before lift-off BY A L J E K A M M I N G A

IN YEARS TO come, we may

well look back on 2017-18 and 19 as the golden age of entrepreneurship in Canada, particularly in Ottawa. Entrepreneurial spirit and startup activity are on the rise. Lenders are clearly eager to finance emerging businesses. More people—particularly the millennial generation—have decided they’d rather make a better world than better money. And more and more, that means starting their own business. One thing is certain: no matter their motive, if you’re a budding entrepreneur, you could not have chosen a better time to pursue your dream. To begin with, the

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cost of starting most businesses has dropped dramatically in recent years. One example: creating a web site for your new business today costs a fraction what it did even a decade ago. Your market has not only expanded, it has consolidated. Essentially, the world is now a single market. As an entrepreneur, that enables you start locally but think globally. Social media is your friend and ally. Thanks to social media, you can tune your product, build your brand, and grow your business—all at a remarkably low cost.

If now is an ideal time for entrepreneurs, it appears that Ontario—and specifically Ottawa—is the ideal location. While Canada as a whole is recognized as an innovation-driven nation, Ontario is frequently singled out as one of the top provinces in which to start a business. And the City of Ottawa offers much of what entrepreneurs are looking for—and need—to succeed. In Ottawa and the National Capital Region, entrepreneurs have ready access to various government programs such as small-business assistance, assistance for minorities and women,

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and environmental grants. And a lot of that help is available from all three levels of government. For example, Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for Canada’s Capital, leverages critical support from the City of Ottawa, Ontario and industry partners to support the growth and commercial success of entrepreneurs through every stage of the process, from first idea to first sale. Since 2012, it has helped to facilitate the creation of more than 6,350 jobs and worked with thousands of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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your competitors. You’ll also learn about cash flow and how to manage it. Acceleration If your business is already up and running, Invest Ottawa can enable and accelerate your growth strategy. It offers access to seasoned pros—mentors, serial entrepreneurs, and investors—who know what it takes to get a business sailing smoothly. These experts share their knowledge of market insight and intelligence, strategies to refine product or service and the most effective way to network and make valuable connections. The organization also recently announced the first roster of companies that will

participate in its new business acceleration program. This rigorous, milestone-based program is designed to rapidly and systematically accelerate the development and commercial success of qualified high growth tech firms. These companies span global markets and disruptive technologies such as cybersecurity, AV, AI and machine learning, AR/VR, Blockchain, Next Generation Networks, and the Internet of Things. Taking it Global Invest Ottawa is with you for the long run. Once your business is on a solid footing, you can accelerate your expansion plans by continuing to draw on the expertise of Invest Ottawa’s Global

Expansion team. This group is dedicated to foreign direct investment attraction, trade and local business retention and expansion. These experts provide Ottawa SMEs with targeted support that helps to open-up new opportunities with prospective customers, investors, and partners in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific region. Also, Invest Ottawa is based at Bayview Yards, a dynamic and energized hub that serves as a basecamp for homegrown technology talent, capabilities and companies. It is the ultimate one-stop business acceleration shop, ideal for helping entrepreneurs and companies launch, grow and thrive, and compete

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Starting up Invest Ottawa offers early-stage entrepreneurship programs and services help to address many, if not all, of the questions an aspiring entrepreneur is likely to ask. In fact, more than 26,080 local small business owners have benefitted from complimentary training seminars delivered through Invest Ottawa over the last five years. These hands-on sessions address every facet of starting and managing a business - from understanding the legal and tax implications of operating as a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation to knowing which permits you’ll need. Advice is available on researching the market, watching for trends and identifying

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CAPITAL CONTEXT

with anyone in the world. Leveraging $38 million from the municipal, provincial and federal government, and more than $1.3 million from corporate sponsors, Bayview Yards brings Invest Ottawa together with many organizations that deliver services and support to entrepreneurs and firms—all under one roof. This includes Carleton University’s Global Cybersecurity Resource (GCR) Accelerator which accelerates the growth of cyber firms with the potential to generate $1 million within 12 months; and the onsite Advanced Manufacturing and Digital Media Lab, which enables firms to design and manufacture prototypes that increase customer, investor and market

readiness. These initiatives benefit from funding provided by FedDev Ontario. Ontario Network of Excellence Like the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario recognizes that it benefits everyone to support the efforts of its growing body of entrepreneurs. The province offers that support through the Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE), a collaborative network of organizations designed to help entrepreneurs, businesses and researchers commercialize their ideas. The ONE provides a comprehensive suite of programs and services to assist those with a great idea— and an attitude to match—at every stage of the entrepreneurial process.

Experts will help you plan and launch your start-up business. Experienced advisors will show you how to take your business to the next level. Perhaps most important, you’ll learn more about how best to access loans, grants or tax incentives. Innovation Canada For many entrepreneurs, a lack of financial resources is often the difference between success and failure. Many of these dreamers are finding the funding they need—along with a healthy dose of expert advice—from the Government of Canada. The federal government values entrepreneurship so much, it has created Innovation Canada, a one-stop-shop for Canada’s innovators and entrepreneurs.

The Innovation Canada website matches entrepreneurs with the programs and services that best meets their needs. The website, part of the federal government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, is designed to position Canada as an innovation leader. For entrepreneurs, the path to success can be a perilous one. In many cases, finding the right government programs can mean the difference between success and failure. Fortunately, thanks to Ottawa, the Ontario provincial government and the federal government, the services and programs they need are readily available. For more information visit innovation.canada.ca

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Let EARN help you access an untapped talent pool.


BUILDING THE CAPITAL

Capital Build Task Force Opens the ByWard Market Door to Innovation and Young Entrepreneurs

THE CAPITAL BUILD TASK FORCE of the OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE, sees great prom-

ise in the new ByWard Market strategy—proposed in June to Ottawa City Council—particularly as an open door to young entrepreneurs and private sector investment. “It is a great time for people to jump onboard and create new possibilities for the ByWard Market,” said Ross Meredith, Chair of the ByWard Market sub-committee on the Capital Build Task Force. “Not only is the market opportunity

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tremendously attractive to entrepreneurs and innovators, but the resources available, and access to private capital, have never been better. The ByWard Market should be an iconic, public venue that brings residents and visitors together for locally-sourced food, amenities, and cultural experiences.” The Task Force applauded the efforts of the newly-formed Municipal Services Corporation, Ottawa Markets, that oversees the operations of the Parkdale and ByWard Markets and plays an integral role with the City of

Ottawa and the private sector in revitalizing this popular tourism area. They urge support for the inclusion of local produce and products, pedestrian pathways and new, modern infrastructure. The ByWard Market was established by Lt-Col. John By in 1826 and is still one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets. The legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, Colonel By was the mastermind of the iconic gathering place, and laid out the street plan of the Market, designating George Street and York

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Street to be extra wide to accommodate the creation of a public market and meeting place for people on both sides of the Ottawa River. The Task Force has called on the City, Ottawa Markets and the local Business Improvement Area to favour innovative, unique programming that respects the Indigenous heritage of the site and its history, but also prioritizes the safety of visitors and employees in the ByWard Market walking around, sitting or working in restaurants and shops.

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The demand for innovations in accessibility and safety for public realms has spurred the creation of startups and research institutes across the globe, which include Ottawa experts such as Marni Peters, a para-Olympian who advises on accessibility compliance locally and globally. “The ByWard Market has a unique opportunity to welcome innovators who have developed solutions that solve complex challenges for people with disabilities linked to pain, mobility, agility, hearing, seeing and more,” said Meredith, who is

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also General Manager at the Westin Ottawa. “For the many people with a variety of disabilities, including 16 per cent of Ottawa’s population, the fear of not being able to navigate busy, cluttered and visually-oriented environments is a major barrier to participation in ByWard Market life.” The Capital Build Task Force supports strategic planning efforts by the City of Ottawa, in collaboration with Ottawa Markets and the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area, to improve the visitor experience in a revitalized ByWard Market.

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CEO VIEW

Megan Cornell Founder and CEO, Momentum Business Law

Paul Meek Owner, Kichesippi Beer Co.

Seema Aurora President and CEO, TAG HR

Vibrant Community, Support System Sparking SME Growth in NCR CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

and professionals across the National Capital Region are bullish on the prospects for small business growth. They see a virtuous circle of positive attributes combining to make the NCR more and more appealing to those willing to take the risk of starting and growing a new business venture. Momentum Business Law “There’s this amazing entrepreneurial spirit currently in Ottawa that I didn’t see 20 years ago,” says Megan Cornell, the founder and chief executive officer with Momentum Business Law in Kanata.

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“It’s a great size, at a population of about a million, to grow a really good size business that’s locally based. It’s such a thriving city that still has a really incredible quality of life. It’s leading companies to continue to grow organically and create jobs here. Look for investment to continue to grow. And that’s fantastic for Ottawa and the community,” she adds. Small businesses here, as elsewhere, face multiple major challenges—including financial, marketing, and technical, among others - in an effort to survive and thrive in a competitive economy, and one of the widely-recognized strengths of the NCR is a strong

support network to help business owners deal with those issues. Cornell believes Ottawa is uniquely positioned to provide opportunities for SME businesses to grow and become global enterprises, in large part because of the assistance provided by local organizations, particularly Invest Ottawa and the Ottawa Board of Trade— which many of her firm’s clients have reported has developed “great programming” focused on local businesses. “I think those not-for-profit groups are doing a really fantastic job. Then layer on the fact that we’re in the nation’s capital, so we have unique access to

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politicians and government relations,” she says. Furthermore, having Export Development Corporation headquartered in the NCR makes their services that much more accessible for local businesses who wish to export their products and services overseas. The Business Development Bank of Canada, which provides critical financing and advisory services, also has a significant local presence. Professional support, including accounting firms to provide financial advice and taxation services, and law firms to provide sophisticated legal advice, is also widely available in the NCR, adds Cornell, who notes that small

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BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N


“Entrepreneurship has also grown substantially in other sectors, including manufacturing and retail. More and more people in the NCR are saying. I’m going to do my own thing and really get those creative juices flowing.”

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business owners often face, and require assistance to deal with simultaneous challenges. “Where [these organizations to assist] really shine, I think, is on some of the services-based programming where, as an early owner you’re wearing these multiple hats. You’re trying do marketing. You’re trying to do the human resources. You’re trying to do the business side,” she elaborates. Kichesippi Beer Co. Paul Meek, the owner and president of Kichesippi Beer Co., has relied on that local support system for his business. “We definitely lean heavily on the Ottawa Board of Trade. We feel we’ve got an excellent support base from the Board of Trade, City Hall, the Mayor and our local councillor. So in terms of the political ring, as well as the business community, there’s been good support to want to see us grow and succeed,” he says. Meek has watched the NCR’s business environment flourish over the past decade. In December 2009 when Kichesippi Beer was incorporated, he recalls thinking, “it looks like a very underdeveloped market in terms of brewing craft beer. I have some good experience in the alcohol industry as an employee, mostly focused as a territorial

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“We’re seeing a lot of reverse migration with a lot of ex-Ottawans who have gone away, and now decided to come back and choose Ottawa as the best place to raise a young family and enjoy a successful career.”

manager on sales to restaurants and LCBO stores. I’m going to jump in and go for it.” Kichesippi Beer, which launched with Meek as the sole owner and employee, has now flourished into a 20 person, 7,500 square foot brewery on Campbell Avenue that produces about 600,000 litres of beer annually. Kichesippi sells about half of that in kegs to restaurants, and the other half in cans to brewery, grocery, liquor and beer stores. Ottawa is an ideal location for a brewery because it has a very stable employment market, with good civic pride amongst consumers who enjoy supporting local products. Being the nation’s capital it is also a magnet that attracts tourist dollars, including people who want to spend their money to experience local products, says Meek. Meek would like his beverage to be recognized as such, too. “Right now, our growth plan is to sell in Ontario. Our longterm vision, to quote my wife Kelly, who is a part-owner of the business, is to be the Alexander Keith’s of Ottawa—to be part of the local experience - as much as Alexander Keith’s is recognized so closely with Nova Scotia. “We want people to come to Ottawa and say ‘I’m going to go to the canal. I’m going to go to the Parliament Buildings. And

I’m going to have a Kichesippi beer because that’s what you do when you’re in Ottawa,’” he says. TAG HR Seema Aurora, president and chief executive officer of TAG HR, a full-service staffing company for both contract and permanent placements to the federal government and to private businesses in the NCR, says she has witnessed remarkable local economic growth since founding TAG HR in 1990. A major factor behind this local growth is a workforce that has acquired a very high rate of education, in large part attributable to having access to graduates from multiple universities and colleges in the NCR, which contributes to higher salary levels and a higher standard of living. Moreover, “we’re seeing a lot of reverse migration with a lot of ex-Ottawans who have gone away, and now decided to come back and choose Ottawa as the best place to raise a young family and enjoy a successful career,” she notes. A vibrant entrepreneurial IT community has also emerged in the wake of the tech collapse of the early 2000s. The silver lining is that many local employees cut adrift from those companies decided to start their own small businesses, and are now

succeeding, creating thousands of high tech and other supporting jobs in the community. “We are leading in per-capita percentage of all cities in Canada in the knowledge occupation that is, areas that are using high technology, e-business, telecommunications, and creative AI technology,” says Aurora. Entrepreneurship has also grown substantially in other sectors, including manufacturing and retail. More and more people in the NCR are saying, “I’m going to do my own thing and really get those creative juices flowing,” says Meek. Aurora sees room for improvement in one area, however, that could provide even more small business growth in the future. Ottawans, like other Canadians sometimes tend to be very conservative, and downplay business opportunities. They need to grab those opportunities and promote themselves better, she says. “I have a lot of faith in the millennial population. They come in with a driving force of ‘let’s make things happen right now.’ I think if we can embrace that, and we are proud and more confident than ever of our Ottawa identity and origins, great things are going to continue to happen. “I’m very optimistic about our future,” says Aurora.

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TELFER EXECUTIVE MBA PROGRAM

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TTAWA’S VIBRANT, DIVERSE economy has been

sparked by the start-up of many new local small businesses whose owners have ambitious growth plans. Candidates and graduates of the Telfer School of Management’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program offer valuable hands-on, practical experience to assist those entrepreneurs cut to the chase in pursuit of their goals. “They don’t waste time doing things that are not necessary. Especially when you’re looking at start-ups and small businesses, when you have constraints in terms of head count and time, they need to be extremely focused on what they do best. Individuals from our program know exactly what their clients’ value proposition is. They know exactly which target or customer segment they need to go after,” stresses Sophia Leong, executive director of the EMBA program. The Telfer EMBA experience is also invaluable toward helping clients develop an effective strategy for getting their products or services to market, and do so with a sense of urgency, which is vitally important for a small business start-up. Although the business fundamentals to be applied are the same regardless of the client’s size, at times larger companies have more bureaucracy to deal with. “The benefit of small companies, one would hope, is there are not as many layers, so it allows for faster execution of the strategy,” says Leong. The work that Telfer EMBA candidates and graduates perform is exacting and demanding, but also rewarding and exciting, such as when skills are applied to help a small business expand their global presence, as many businesses in the NCR and across Canada aspire to do. Ottawa-based VideoShip Enterprise Ltd., which builds and supports content delivery systems, as well as customized video workflow tools for the broadcast and cable industries, credits Telfer EMBA candidates with helping to accelerate their ability to penetrate the large Chinese market.

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In trips with VideoShip executives to Guangzhou in 2015 and then to Shanghai and Beijing in 2016, the Telfer people made valuable connections with the government run China Central Television and several other high-profile Chinese media organizations on behalf of VideoShip. This has led to participation today in a key strategic partnership that provides authorized media and entertainment video content delivery to and from China, explains Colin Grimes, VideoShip’s vice-president of business development. “VideoShip greatly benefited from the capable and effective Telfer teams we worked with, as well as a positive influence from Sophia Leong. They were integral in forging business connections that we now rely on to support a new product line in an expanding new industry for us,” adds Grimes. In 2017, several Telfer EMBA candidates traveled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for their international business project, to assist a Canadian environmental remediation company, Nelson Environmental Remediation of Edmonton, which uses technology to remediate soil on site rather than cart contaminated soil away, explore new opportunities and make new contacts in that country. The business client was so impressed with the quality of the work performed, including a detailed report that documented market opportunities, and assessed the regulatory environment in Malaysia, that it asked to work with Telfer EMBA candidates again in 2018 to explore similar business opportunities in Vietnam. That trip, to Ho Chi Minh City, took place last April. Leong keeps the program current on what matters for organizations by working with an advisory board consisting of key Telfer EMBA alumni members with global connections. “This gives us visibility in terms of what matters in this context, especially from the senior level strategic and leadership perspective. From there, every year we’re tweaking 20 to 30 per cent of the program to consistently stay connected to what the market needs in terms of skill sets and competencies. We’re preparing our candidates for now and the future,” she stresses.

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HELPING LOCAL BUSINESS ACCELERATE ITS PRESENCE IN GLOBAL MARKETS


“They don’t waste time doing things that are not necessary. Especially when you’re looking at start-ups and small businesses, when you have constraints in terms of head count and time, they need to be extremely focused on what they do best.”

Sophia Leong Executive Director, Telfer Executive MBA University of Ottawa

The Telfer EMBA program has been chosen top of its class in the world for two straight years by CEO Magazine. “The way this particular program is delivered is different compared to other Executive MBA programs around the world,” says Leong. “We focus on the application and the practical aspects of business management, strategic management and leadership. We definitely lay a strong foundation when it comes to different fundamentals, but then very quickly pivot by leveraging six business consulting projects to make sure our candidates remain practical, relevant, and globally-oriented, for the clients we work with.” The result: a hands-on program that goes well beyond theory and strategy to, at all times, keep highly accomplished candidates who already have a solid track record of business credentials focussed on solving real business issues and on capitalizing on business opportunities. “They roll up their sleeves and work directly with our Canadian clients as if they are part of the organization,” says Leong. The Telfer EMBA program typically has between 32 to 36 candidates at a time who, by day hold a variety of senior

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positions, including chief executive officers, directors, vicepresidents, and managers, and who range in age from about 26 to 65. To further ensure diversity and enrich the Ottawa economy, the program allocates roughly 60 per cent to candidates in the private sector, 30 per cent in the public service, and 10 per cent in not-for-profits. The program is 21 months long, with the six business consulting projects—described by Leong as “our secret sauce,” ranging in length from six to 12 weeks, capped by an international project that takes between six to eight months to complete. “We layer on the skill sets, the tools they can use and the leadership behaviour that are conducive to their successes. When they graduate from our program it is with the full realization and comprehension that there is nothing they cannot do,” says Leong. The confidence, skill and know-how that Telfer EMBA candidates and graduates possess are translating into positive results for Canadian companies striving for international growth. That is good news for the National Capital Region’s already thriving local business sector.

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BY AL J E K AMMI NG A

NETWORKING AND RISK-TAKING

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KEYS TO ACCELERATING YOUR BUSINESS

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OR ENTREPRENEURS,

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just getting their business off the ground presents its own set of challenges. How do I get the financing I need, how can I be sure there’s a market for my product, what do I name my business, do I need a website, how do I reach my customers, is there anyone out there who can help me? And the list goes on. For entrepreneurs who overcome these obstacles— those who have achieved an initial degree of success —a new set of challenges emerges. Is it time to expand, what are my competitors doing, how do I attract and retain skilled employees, should I be seeking new markets for my products? These visionaries have already overcome daunting odds; despite the many challenges, they made their dream a reality. Now they want to make their small business a bigger business, to build on the success they’ve worked so hard to achieve. In other words, they want to accelerate their business. Obviously, they’re not alone. Every small business wants to grow and be profitable. But only those who have a clear vision of what they hope to achieve—and have a plan in place to get there—are likely to succeed. Capital spoke to four successful business owners and operators in the Ottawa area who, in their own way, overcame the perils inherent in entrepreneurship. And, like most entrepreneurs, they weren’t content to scale only the first rung on the ladder to success. They, too, were determined to accelerate their business. And they did.

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Greg Skotnicki, 47, is president of Market Maker Agriculture and an experienced—albeit somewhat bruised—entrepreneur. His first venture as an entrepreneur came in 1998 when he and a school friend opened an alternative healthcare clinic in Ottawa. Although the clinic continues to operate today, Greg acknowledged that the two made a lot of mistakes in the early days. “Among other things, we were out on our growth and financial projections,” he recalls. “That alone, made it difficult to keep the operation alive.” On the bright side, Greg says, he’s been able to draw on that experience in the ensuing years. One of the things he’s learned and feels strongly would benefit those looking to expand their business, is to spin off any new company rather than try to grow it within an existing business. “Your current business likely operates in a set way, developed over a number of years. And it probably works very well for that company. But that way of doing things may not suit your startup company. In fact, it may even inhibit its growth.” Also, while Greg says he’s pleased to see an increase in the number of agencies and organizations created to assist entrepreneurs, he feels that accessing the network of professionals you build over the years is an especially effective way to grow. “Yes, you have to spend time on your business but over the long run, I think you’ll be better served by going outside of your own business to speak to and learn from your network of experienced professionals.” That approach certainly seems to have worked for Greg—Market Maker Agriculture and its subsidiary, Manderley Turf Products are consistently ranked among the best-managed companies in Canada.

Greg Skotnicki President, Market Maker Agriculture

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Shelley True Founder and President, TRUEdotDESIGN

Shelley True, 45, founder and president of the marketing agency TRUEdotDESIGN, subscribes to Greg’s belief that networking— building relationships outside of your business—creates and strengthens relationships with your customers, suppliers and industry partners. As it turns out, they can also be a great source of advice and information when you’re thinking about accelerating your own business. As Shelley discovered in 2015. Working on a project together with the owner of the design firm, Avenue Design, Shelley was asked if she would like to purchase the business. “It came totally out of the blue,” she says. “I had absolutely no plans to expand through acquisition.” Still, she recognized immediately that she’d been given a wonderful opportunity to build her business. So she did what she’d done when she opened her own firm, TRUEdotDESIGN, three years earlier—she networked. “I spoke to lawyers, other entrepreneurs, financial experts—all of those people who could give me the advice and background I needed to make an informed decision.” It wasn’t easy, she says, but her decision to go ahead with the deal eventually paid dividends. “We not only retained all of our clients, we increased business by 25 per in the first year.” Clearly, her networking skills were rewarded—something entrepreneurs at every stage of their business careers can learn from. But another lesson, says Shelley, is the fact that all entrepreneurs must be ready to take risks if they hope to succeed. “Entrepreneurs are instinctively risk-takers. It’s important that they respond to that instinct.” After networking, of course.

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Count Hugues Boisvert, 37, the founder and CEO of the boutique law firm, HazloLaw, among those who believe that building and accessing a network of mentors and advisors is paramount for those thinking about accelerating their business. He goes so far as to suggest that entrepreneurs are as well served—if not better—by a board of advisors than by a board of directors. “Consult people who challenge you,” he says. “And don’t be afraid to ask questions, even of people you don’t know.” Hugues practices what he preaches—he says he’s currently mentoring about 15 young professionals and tries to make himself available to anyone interested in starting or accelerating a business. He is also a regular guest speaker at the MBA program and at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa. Hugues credits his success—he was named one of Ottawa’s top business lawyers and his firm was named one of the fastest growing companies in Ottawa—to his own mentor, the founder of Grosso & Co. a law firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina specializing in international business law. Hired after being called to the Ontario bar in 2005, Hugues says he found guidance and support from the firm’s founder, Juan Carlos Grosso. While he looks back on his days in Argentina fondly, Hugues says he’s pleased with the decision to practice international law in Ottawa. “No doubt, Toronto is better known but Ottawa offers a lot of advantages for our firm. Federal government departments like the Export Development Corporation are located here. Foreign officials and businessmen are represented here. It’s a good place to be for any company wishing to expand its reach.”

Hugues Boisvert Founder and CEO, HazloLaw

Patricia Liptak-Satov Vice-President of Operations, OakWood

Those who believe that entrepreneurism is genetic need look no further than OakWood where Patricia Liptak-Satov, 34, is making her mark as the vice-president of operations. Her grand father, John Liptak Sr., launched a furniture and cabinetry operation in the Ottawa area that later expanded into home renovation and building businesses. All while operating a dairy farm. “Even while I was in high school I’d go to management meetings,” says Patricia. She was inspired to join the business by “seeing my dad’s passion for it. You take a space and you change (people’s) lives.”

KE VIN BEL ANGER

Alje Kamminga Alje Kamminga is a former journalist and speechwriter who enjoys bridge, baseball and backgammon.

Ottawa business by size

Business by employer size

For 2016 the City estimates that there were over 22,300 employers within Ottawa. Despite the strong government presence, small businesses were the dominant size with 95% of employers comprising of 1 to 49 employees. Less than 1% of employers had more than 250 employees.

Employers with:

Source: City of Ottawa

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1 to 4 employees

49% 10,927

5 to 9 employees

23%

10 to 19 employees

14%

3,122

20 to 49 employees

9%

2,007

50 to 99 employees

3%

669

100 to 199 employees

1%

223

200 to 499 employees

1%

223

500 plus employees

5,129

< 0%

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A powerful voice for Ottawa’s business community

HE LOOK IS NEW, AS IS THE NAME. BUT THE GOALS OF THE NEWLY CREATED OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE REMAIN UNCHANGED:

T

- INCREASE PROSPERITY THROUGH ADVOCACY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - DELIVER GREATER VALUE AND INCREASED BENEFITS TO OTTAWA’S BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Only do it better. Creating the synergy required to ‘do it better’ was the driving force behind the recent consolidation of the city’s three chambers of commerce. The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the West Ottawa Board of Trade were the first to act, coming together in June to create a single organization—the Ottawa Board of Trade. Two months later, the Orléans Chamber of Commerce came aboard, giving the three organizations the single, powerful voice they had sought for years. The consolidation comes 17 years after the 11 municipalities of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton amalgamated as the City of Ottawa. At the time, it was assumed that the five existing chambers would also merge to form a single organization. But it wasn’t until about 18 months ago that the three remaining chambers agreed that their members would be better served by a single, united organization. Although still in its infancy, officials from all three organizations are optimistic that the Ottawa Board of Trade will truly benefit Ottawa’s business community.

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“There has never been a better time…to strengthen the Ottawa business community,” said Ian Sherman, chair of the Ottawa Board of Trade. “This consolidation marks a historic turning point for Ottawa’s business community,” said Mischa Kaplan, chair of the West Ottawa Board of Trade. “This…will enhance our synergies…bolster our Ottawa business community and represent the region in a more substantial way,” said Andrew Scott, chair of the Orléans Chamber of Commerce. Ian Faris, the president and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade, shares their optimism, pointing out that Ottawa’s business community will be better served when it speaks with one voice. “As a result of this consolidation, we’re uniquely positioned to impact community prosperity through advocacy and economic development,” he says. “We can now deliver greater value and benefit to our members and potential members and—perhaps most important of all—we can significantly strengthen the voice of business in our community.” The three organizations clearly don’t intend to wait until the ink is dry on the new deal before making their voice heard. They’ve already met to determine if there are additional synergies that can increase the number of businesses in Ottawa who support the organizations’ work; to enhance the impact of the organizations’ work on the Ottawa business community, and to position the Ottawa Board of Trade as the strongest possible voice for business in the Ottawa region.

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“We’re planning to launch a number of signature initiatives this fall,” says Faris, “once we have a fully integrated membership, staff complement, and communications vehicles.” Those plans include a new awards program for micro-businesses and entrepreneurs, a breakfast series to provide networking, education and recognition opportunities for businesses from various areas of the city, a Women’s Leadership Council and a Next Generation Council—to better focus the new organization’s work and initiatives to these growing segments of the board’s membership. Another major initiative will see the Board of Trade sponsor economic development and city building conferences to complement its advocacy initiatives on projects like LeBreton Flats, and LRT connectivity to areas like Kanata, Stittsville, Barrhaven and, eventually, the proposed Gatineau LRT system. And that’s only scratching the surface, says Faris. Together, the three chambers have voiced their support for the Ottawa International Airport Authority’s position on retaining non-profit; local community ownership of airports, they expressed their displeasure with the Ontario government about changes to labour and employment standards reform; and they provided the City of Ottawa with commentary and direction in support of the 2018 budget. More is already being done by the newly created Ottawa Board of Trade, with more to be done in the future,” says Faris. “Consolidation has given the city’s business community a strong voice,” he says. “We’ll be doing all we can to make sure that voice is heard.”

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Ottawa Board of Trade New Logo Explained… GREEN

Sustainability Vitality Prosperity

PURPLE Diversity Inclusion Wealth

ORANGE

Innovation Energy Expansion

BLUE

Stability Credibility History

Inspired by the circular shape of the “O” in the font and the “O” in Ottawa, the Ottawa Board of Trade’s new logo effectively captures the board’s heightened level of energy and enthusiasm. The logo consists of a series of multi-coloured concentric circles:  The green circle represents sustainability and support for the region’s natural environment;  the purple circle represents Ottawa’s diversity, inclusion and wealth;  the orange circle stands for the innovation and expansion of the city’s business sector;  the blue circle demonstrates stability and the area’s rich history

Did you know? The Ottawa Board of Trade was founded on June 10, 1857 by a special Act of Parliament Ottawa’s first Mayor, John Bower Lewis, was also the Board of Trade’s first Chair Mr. Lewis was also elected to the House of Commons, representing the riding of Ottawa City from 1872 to 1873 Decade by decade the Ottawa Board of Trade actively supported the construction of new buildings, homes, schools, hospitals, bridges and roads Through public opinion, the Board facilitated the introduction of tap water to residents via the Thomas C. Keefer plant in 1875 The Ottawa Board of Trade was instrumental in founding the annual Tulip Festival, and the Winter Carnival now popularly known as Winterlude

When taken in sync, the circles illustrate:  The value of working together The sectors of our economy The various sizes of our businesses (from entrepreneur to major employers)  The regions of our city “Our logo represents everything the Ottawa Board of Trade stands for,” says Ian Faris, the new organization’s CEO and President [he was also CEO and president of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce]. “It positions us a professional organization, wholly committed to serving the city’s business community and to promoting the region’s economic future.”

2018 Ottawa Board of Trade Executive Committee Ian Sherman, EY (Chair) Mischa Kaplan, Cardinal Research Group (Vice-Chair) Joelle Hall, Richardson GMP (Vice-Chair)

Lynn Johnston, TD Canada Trust (Corporate Secretary) Ruby Williams, Deloitte (Treasurer) Ian Faris, Ottawa Board of Trade (ex-officio)

Board of Directors James Baker, Keynote Group

Andrew Scott, Pita Pit Ottawa

Craig Bater, Augustine Bater Binks LLP

Greg Skotnicki, Market Maker Agriculture

Priya Bhaloo, TAG HR

Amanda-Lyn Smith, The Massage and Treatment Clinic

Dirk Bouwer, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP Michael Crockatt, Ottawa Tourism

Wendy Trudel, Community Employment Resource Centre

Wayne French, Waste Management of Canada Corporation

Shelley True, TRUEdotDESIGN

Cyril Leeder, Myers Auto Group

George Van Noten, The Minto Group

Mark Nisbett, Brookstreet Hotel

Rob White, Red Chef Ventures

Jorge Useche, RBC Royal Bank

Robert Rheaume, BDO Canada LLP

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WHY OTTAWA IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE, WORK & PLAY, INVEST, STUDY & VISIT

DOING BUSINESS

G7

As a capital, Ottawa is the political heartbeat of Canada with proximity to a large concentration of policymakers, government departments, and 65 federal research labs Proximity to GOVERNMENT offers strategic advantages for procurement opportunities. The federal government spent +$2.89 BILLION on goods and services from local firms in 2015-16 Total business tax costs in Canada are the LOWEST IN THE G7

Access to foreign markets:

130 FOREIGN CONSULATES within the city

Six high growth KNOWLEDGE BASED INDUSTRIES (KBI) that collectively employ 68,000 PEOPLE in 1,750+ COMPANIES

#1 Most Technology Intensive City in Canada COMPETITIVE R & D CAPABILITIES: Overall, Ottawa

leads in R&D spending per capita and accounts for 90% of Canada’s industrial telecommunications R&D

ICT Workforce 77,000

Life Sciences, Software, Digital Media, Communications Technology, Clean Technologies, Aerospace, Defence & Security

National Capital Region total workforce 756,000

Access to talent MOST EDUCATED CITY in

Canada with the second highest concentration of scientists and engineers in North America

#1 STUDENT RANKED City for students

There are 368,032 millennials in the Ottawa-Gatineau region representing 28% of the population A greater percentage of HIGHLY EDUCATED IMMIGRANTS live in Ottawa, compared to any other Canadian city

4 WORLD RENOWNED universities and colleges. 130,000 students with 20% of that student population specializing in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH (STEM) 28

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Every year, OTTAWA WELCOMES 6,000 NEW IMMIGRANTS, who make up a considerable proportion of the highly educated and skilled workforce in the city


#1

In 2017 Money Sense ranked Ottawa NO. 1 OUT OF 400+ as the best place to live in Canada

QUALITY OF LIFE Ease of getting around—14% of the workforce take PUBLIC TRANSIT and that number will jump once the new LRT rolls out

$91,121.76 #1 LOWEST COST OF LIVING of 5 major Canadian cities

Highest median income in Canada

Unemployment LESS THAN 5%

850+ parks

800 KM

of biking trails Ottawa is a four-season sports destination. It is home to professional sports teams including NHL, CFL and SOCCER

430+

cross country ski trails

4 + MAJOR MUSEUMS and performing arts

TOURISM

Public ART galleries Architecture and HERITAGE buildings FESTIVALS: ribs, blues, buskers,

Over 11 MILLION PEOPLE visited Ottawa during 2017— an 8.8 % INCREASE over 2016 and the STRONGEST GROWTH of any Canadian city

Sources: Invest Ottawa, Ottawa Board of Trade, Labour Market Ottawa, Money Sense

Source: Ottawa Tourism

writers, jazz, dragon boats, hot-air balloons, chamber music, Franco-Ontarians, tulips, winter, craft beer, folk music and more!

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Claudia Arizmendi Owner, The Cupcake Lounge

IMMIGRANT SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN OTTAWA CREATING JOBS, PROVIDING SERVICES, AND STRENGTHENING THE LOCAL ECONOMY BY JEFF BUC KSTEIN

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LAUDIA ARIZMENDI’S devoted

customers flock to her Cupcake Lounge bakeries in the ByWard Market and in Westboro Village to peruse 14 flavours of her signature cupcakes available daily, as well as various cakes, pies and other treats. Baking has always come naturally to the 51-year old native of Nueva Rosita, Mexico, who, along with many other immigrants to Canada, is pursuing her passion as a small business owner and helping to grow the National Capital Region’s economy. Arizmendi began her career as a kindergarten teacher in Monterrey, while also operating a small cake baking business. In 1992, she travelled to Ottawa to take a threemonth ESL course, and fell in love with the city. She returned in 1994, married a Canadian and started a family.

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“I stayed home for a while to raise my children. When I was at home, I decided to start making cupcakes in the shape of flowers. At first I had a small business baking cakes for friends and family. When it got bigger and bigger, I decided to go back to school, and did the bakery and pastry art program at Algonquin College. I graduated in 2006,” says Arizmendi. “After I finished the baking program I started working and getting some experience, and tried to define the basis of my business. I wanted an all-natural bakery, where I would bake everything fresh from scratch with the best ingredients available. No pre-mixers, additional flavours or dies. Real butter. Real vanilla. Real eggs,” she says. Arizmendi’s first bakery in the ByWard Market launched in 2011; a second in Westboro Village followed in 2013. Today, her bakeries employ between 15 and 24 people, depending on the time of year. Valentines Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas are especially busy times. Opening a small business is never easy, but the obstacles can be especially acute for new Canadians. Arizmendi, a native Spanish speaker, says language was the biggest hurdle to overcome, in addition to the normal start-up business challenges. “The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation—now Invest Ottawa, was a key organization for me. It was amazing the amount of information they had, and the help they gave me. They got us started with a business plan,” says Arizmendi, who also received Canada Small Business Financing start-up loans from Industry Canada to establish her two locations. Hamed Zadeh, 36, chief executive officer of SINIX Media Group, was born in Tehran, Iran, and grew up in both Iran and Mexico before immigrating to Canada as a teen in 1999. “When I came to Canada, I didn’t know a single word of English,” says Zadeh, whose native language is Persian Farsi and who also speaks Spanish. He needed to study hard in ESL courses to adapt. Zadeh’s initial dream was to become a police constable, but back injuries suffered in a car accident prevented him from pursuing that goal. Fortunately, he had another marketable skill, having learned how to create graphics, flyers and posters from how-to videos on the Internet. A friend who ran a printing business was impressed and asked him to work part-time. “I worked for him for eight or nine months. I loved it,” recalls Zadeh, who joined with three partners to found Single

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Pixel Studio, a graphic design and videography company, in 2010. Later that year, Zadeh and a silent partner bought out the other two and restructured the company to offer design and printing services only. The company was rebranded as Sinix Printing Canada in 2011 (operating as Ottawa Print Services) and Zadeh bought out the silent partner to become the sole owner in 2017. In 2018, Zadeh founded SINIX Media Group with three companies under its umbrella: flagship Ottawa Print Services, along with MiNi Billboards, which business clients use to advertise their products and services, and SnapLite, which partners with an LED lighting manufacturer to provide snap-on, snap-off backlit display solutions. The Ottawa Board of Trade has provided a lot of assistance, says Zadeh, who recalls meeting his future SnapLite partner at one of the networking events.

Today, Zadeh has seven full-time employees, one part-time employee and two contractors. He says his business is growing so quickly that he is actively pursuing candidates for two new positions. Last year was an especially successful year, with the sesquicentennial celebrations taking place in Ottawa marking Canada’s 150th birthday. Ottawa Print Services printed more than 90,000 Canada 150 pins. They also did branding work for the VIP section for the 2017 JUNO Awards, as well as providing signage, branding and other services for the 2017 Grey Cup. “I’m motivated to build a company that will leave a lasting legacy for the next generation of entrepreneurs. I want to demonstrate that no matter what background you come from, if you live in Canada, you have a dream and you work hard, anything is possible,” Zadeh stresses.

Hamed Zadeh CEO, SINIX Media Group

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Warren Sutherland, 42, is the owner of Sutherland Restaurant, Bar and Coffee House on Beechwood Avenue. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Sutherland graduated from Michigan State University, and worked for a year in the U.S. as an electrical engineer, but discovered that wasn’t what he wanted to do, and decided to change careers. He attended the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, graduating in 2003. “I realized I had a passion for this industry, as well as a natural aptitude,” he recalls. Sutherland immigrated to Canada in 2004, with the assistance of Warren Creates, who is head of the Immigration Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP in Ottawa. Creates is recognized by the Law Society of Ontario as a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law and Citizenship Law (Immigration + Refugee Protection). Sutherland found the NCR appealing. “I’ve lived in quite a few cities since I left Jamaica.

Certain cities are not family friendly. Ottawa is very family friendly—beautiful, lots of green space,” he says. In his late 20s, Sutherland became a small business owner. He and his ex-wife Phoebe owned Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro. Sutherland has also been involved in partnerships with several local restaurants, including The Piggy Market in Westboro Village, [a venture he is still active in], as well as SmoQue Shack in the ByWard Market, and The Slice & Co. pizza eatery on Elgin Street. Sutherland initially found it difficult to find specific information about small business ownership in the hospitality industry, creating “a huge learning curve” to determine, for instance, the specific licensing required, and where to get it. “Now, it’s second nature to me. I know exactly where to go—quickly. All the things to file,” he says. Sutherland believes it is more difficult for restaurants to get financing than other small

business ventures because restaurant margins are viewed as too thin, with many ventures ultimately not succeeding. Despite knocking on many doors, including seeking financing from banks and venture capitalists, “my current restaurant came from a lot of investment from me personally, and from my family members,” he says. Sutherland Restaurant, which opened in late 2016, serves various Canadian and vegetarian menu options. “The décor is very nouveau style. Some say it reminds them of restaurants on the west coast of Canada. The food is influenced by my travels throughout the world, and also by my Jamaican heritage. The menu changes seasonally, not only by weather but by produce availability as well,” he explains. Employment opportunities are available, but Sutherland says a current problem in restaurants is a lack of staffing. “I’ve had advertisements up for a long time for positions, and I’m getting no bite,” he notes.

Immigrant-Powered 1 C  anadian immigrants are more likely to own businesses, both small and incorporated firms, than those born in Canada.1 2 A  pproximately 24 percent of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada with at least one employee are owned or run by immigrants (Statistics Canada 2014). This has increased slightly from 22 percent in 2011 (ibid.). 3 I mmigrant-owned businesses are more likely to export than businesses that are Canadianborn owned (14 percent versus 11 percent) and nearly half of them introduced at least one type of innovation between 2012 and 2014 (ibid).

Source: www.icc-icc.ca, www.cigionline.org

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Warren Sutherland Owner, Sutherland Restaurant, Bar and Coffee House

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ROBE RT C HIT T Y

1 The data on immigrants was based on those ages 18–69 and those who entered Canada after 1980. This accounts for 75 percent of all immigrants in Canada and therefore underrepresents the total number of possible immigrant entrepreneurs who may not have been captured in the Green et al. (2016: 10) data set.

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PERLEY-ROBERTSON:

HELPING LOCAL BUSINESSES GROW THROUGH IMMIGRATION

W

HEN IMMIGRANTS COME to the

National Capital Region (NCR) and want to use their knowledge and expertise to establish another important small business, they seek out good legal advice. Warren Creates, the 59-year old head of the Immigration Law Group at PerleyRobertson, Hill & McDougall LLP in Ottawa, is one of the best. Much of Creates’ effort centres on obtaining work permits for clients who, in some instances, are being transferred to a Canadian branch, subsidiary or affiliate of a company in their native country. “We do the paperwork to make sure it operates smoothly,” says Creates. Many immigrants that Creates has assisted have established successful small businesses, including restaurants, corner stores, gas stations, tech companies, and other endeavours in the NCR and elsewhere across Canada. Creates also represents dozens of national sporting organizations, as well as provincial bodies, in their recruitment of the top sporting coaches in the world. There are, he notes, significant opportunities for business growth in the NCR, including relatively modest housing and commercial rents, compared to larger Canadian cities. Yet the NCR is big enough to provide a critical mass for a new small or medium sized enterprise to establish a market or network relatively quickly. Foreign-born entrepreneurs face additional obstacles primarily because of a lack of familiarity with the business landscape and educational training in Canada compared to a person who was born here. That requires professional support to guide them through the process of dealing with legal issues such as labour laws, licensing, and leasing, says Creates. “One of the fabulous benefits of being in a firm like Perley-Robertson is that it’s a full-service law firm. Our firm has corporate lawyers, tax lawyers, employment lawyers, family law lawyers, intellectual property lawyers, leasing lawyers, among others. We do a lot of collaboration to make sure clients have access to the expertise that’s here,” he stresses.

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Creates helped Warren Sutherland, who is originally from Kingston, Jamaica, immigrate to Canada in 2004 after Sutherland had studied and worked in the United States for about ten years. Sutherland, a local restaurant owner, praises Creates’ style, noting that he was very personable, which helped ease the stress associated with coming to a new country. Moreover, Creates provided assurances that he had all of the legal issues covered to ensure a successful immigration process could be completed. Creates “was very knowledgeable. He knows every rule and how to go about the process. And he was very thorough. Every single ‘I’ was dotted and every ‘T’ was crossed in my situation. He laid out exactly how it was going to be,” says Sutherland. Creates also knows first-hand the political oppression, crushing poverty, and other atrocities that refugees to Canada are escaping from in their countries of birth. He has traveled and worked in 50 countries around the globe, including war-torn hotspots as conflict raged. “When you do this work, it’s wonderful to deploy those skills in an advocacy way to preserve and protect life,” says Creates, who is proud of having assisted thousands of refugees and other immigrants enter Canada. “I really enjoy having that opportunity in my business career,” he adds. As a result of his efforts, Creates has earned recognition from the Law Society of Ontario as a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law and Citizenship Law (Immigration + Refugee Protection). For example, in addition to having travelled to Iraq and Afghanistan to handle immigration and asylum cases directly with his clients, Creates has travelled to Ethiopia and Eritrea extensively since 2007. “I’ve helped individuals and groups assert their refugee claims against Eritrea, and be heard by both the United Nations and Canada in their depositions and their evidence, so that Canada resettled them,” he says. Creates began his career as a Government of Canada immigration lawyer in 1986. “It was a great training ground. Because of that,

Warren Creates Canadian Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship lawyer

Photo: Michelle Valberg

I’ve got a really good appreciation for how the government works, and approaches immigration cases,” he says. Creates also worked in Malaysia and South Korea between 1988 and 1993, representing nationals of several countries who were seeking to immigrate to Canada. “I dealt with immigration officers in our Canadian embassies throughout Asia. They trained me, and told me about the kinds of cases, evidence and documentation that would meet the quality and standards they would approve,” Creates recalls. For example, he notes, a prospective immigrant’s impact on the labour force is a prime consideration. Federal and provincial governments often require specifics that include a certain level of higher education, and professional or industry related skills or experience. They also typically seek somebody young enough to be able to contribute to the Canadian economy for a period of time. Net worth is not necessarily a key factor in the selection process, as some applicants mistakenly assume. “The rules and the regulations in each of the programs have to be understood. They’re sort of like tools in my toolbox, and I need to apply those to every individual case,” says Creates. Each of those individuals admitted to Canada will ultimately enrich the diverse Canadian culture. In many instances, a new small business started by an immigrant will also emerge to expand the economy of the NCR and other cities, and create employment opportunities.

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The new Hydro Ottawa Smart Speaker Skill is available for all Amazon Echo devices as well as the Google Home and Mini

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S THE POPULARITY of voice

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assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home continue to soar—sales in the past year alone were more than double the previous year— so do the expectations of their owners. No longer content to ask their smart speakers to simply play their favourite music, turn down the lights or turn up the heat, users want them to serve as a smart hub for their homes and their lives. They expect—and increasingly demand—voice access to an ever-expanding selection of products and services. Not surprisingly, businesses have been quick to recognize and tap into the enormous potential of smart audio. None more quickly than Hydro Ottawa. It is the first utility in Canada to offer a voice assistant skill. “Anyone shopping during the last holiday season could not help but see this huge demand for smart audio devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant,” says Julie Lupinacci, the Chief Customer Officer for Hydro Ottawa. “They were flying off the shelves. So when our customer service team met after the holidays, we agreed that it would be a good idea to explore how Hydro Ottawa might use smart audio to further enhance the experience of our customers.” Virtual assistants are gaining impressive market share and becoming an essential way consumers choose to communicate. Already, Google reports 20 per cent of mobile searches are done by voice. Today, Hydro Ottawa customers who have downloaded the smart speaker skill can use Alexa and Google Assistant to find out how much electricity they’ve consumed and what

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they can do to reduce their use of electricity in the future. Those who want—or need—a reminder about when their next bill is due, can simply consult Alexa. Those Hydro Ottawa customers interested in being even more cost-efficient can ask when it’s best to do the laundry or run the dishwasher. Although the relationship between voice audio and Hydro Ottawa is in its infancy, Lupinacci is convinced it will be a long and successful one. “An increasing number of our customers appreciate the convenience of being able to obtain information and receive advice solely by speaking to a personal voice-enabled assistant.” Hydro Ottawa is committed to providing its customers with increased choice, convenience, control and communication. “Once we inform all of our customers that we’ve made this service available—and they see the benefits available to them—I think we’ll have met all of those goals,” she says. As for the future, Hydro Ottawa customers will determine how far the company takes its relationship with voice-enabled devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. “The adjustment period may take a while,” says Lupinacci, “just like it did when we first offered paperless billing or mobile apps. But we believe, and I’m convinced that our customers believe, that smart audio will succeed. After all, by increasing customer access to personalized and actionable energy insights, it saves them money and energy.” Downloading the Hydro Ottawa Smart Speaker Skill is simple and straightforward. Just visit hydroottawa.com/smart-speakers and follow the instructions.

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SPONSORED CONTENT

The PPRC Team of Consultants includes Rehabilitation Counsellors, Job Developers, Job Coaches and Administrative Assistants.

INCLUSION

IT JUST MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE

A

CCORDING TO MARIE Bountrogianni, Dean of

the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Toronto’s Ryerson University, there is a strong business case for the proposed new Accessible Canada Act. “It is a shrewd move for the Canadian economy,” she wrote recently in The Globe and Mail. “In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, making Canadian businesses architecturally, physically, technologically and attitudinally accessible will significantly help their bottom line. After making reasonable accommodations, business owners will also find that they can recruit from a new pool of highly skilled workers.” In a Globe and Mail article from September 2017, Rich Donovan, CEO of Return on Disability, cites the economic impact that persons with a disability have. “Stats show that the 18.7 per cent of the population that self-declares as a person with a disability (PWD) makes an average annual income of 91 per cent compared with those living without a disability,” he says. “Simple math means 6.2 million Canadians with a disability control $55.4-billion in annual disposable income. When their friends and family are added to the market, disability touches 53 per cent of consumers controlling more than $366.5 billion. Globally, this market opportunity is more than $10 trillion.” The Benefits of Inclusive Hiring Inclusive Hiring is a business mindset that brings benefits to the bottom line, creates opportunities and strengthens your company’s position within the market. Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care Inc. (PPRC) has been helping employers find suitable employees from within their talent pool of differently abled candidates for 24 years. We have learned that the business case for hiring people with disabilities is proven and sound. Many of the employers who have accessed our services and our candidates are happy they did.

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Just ask Katie Saumure, Demonstration Manager, Professional Warehouse Demonstrations: “It has been a great six-year experience,” she says. “I explain what jobs I want to fill and PPRC identifies a pool of qualified candidates for me to interview.” Or Little Ray, from Little Ray’s Reptiles: “We are a small business—when an employee is training, that is 100 per cent of my work force,” he says. “The job coaching allowed us to work with Kevin to identify his strengths and match him to a job that works for us and him.” Ahmed Abdi-Salah, Branch Rental Manager for Enterprise Rentals Kanata, found a great fit with PPRC client Nicholas: “Nicholas is a positive and reliable worker,” he says. “He lifts the atmosphere whenever he is at work. You can really tell when Nicholas has done the job—he catches the little things that stand out for us and the customers.” Inclusive hiring comes naturally for Dimitri Segounas of Evripos Janitorial Services Ltd.: “It is part of our core values,” he says. “We hire from all walks of life, what counts is ability—everyone is unique and brings something to the table.” PPRC can help Despite these positive experiences by local businesses, a poll commissioned by CIBC in 2017 found only half of Canadians with a disability are employed. We can change that, and we must, because this hidden talent pool is smart for business and provides solutions where everyone benefits. Improve your business opportunities by working with PPRC to become an inclusive employer. We offer etiquette and disability awareness training, along with job accommodation and placement services for persons with disabilities at no cost to you. Contact Linda Simpson at lsimpson@pprc.ca or at 613-748-3220. Visit www.pprc.ca for more information.

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AFTER 100 YEARS

WELCH’S ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT THRIVES

N

O DOUBT, GEORGE A. WELCH would be delighted to see the wave of entrepreneurship sweeping over Ottawa and the National Capital Region these days. After all, it was his own strong entrepreneurial spirit that led him, at the tender age of 10, to take on the demanding task of looking after several paper routes. True, he had a more pressing need to succeed than many of today’s entrepreneurs— he desperately needed the income to help support his family—but there seems little doubt that a seed was planted when George accepted the responsibility of those first paper routes. Less than two decades later, in 1918, that seed would take root when the 29-year-old, now in possession of a hardearned CPA, founded Welch & Company in an office in the Elgin Chambers, overlooking Confederation Square. Over the years, the attitude that George Welch brought to his fledgling company has not only survived, it has flourished. As a result, today’s Welch LLP is a leading chartered professional accounting firm, widely respected and universally recognized for the services it provides and for the manner in which it delivers them. In 2018, like in 1918, Welch’s relationship-driven approach to client service enables the company to identify industry-related issues—before they become problems—and develop effective and innovative solutions. As for the entrepreneurial spirt so bravely displayed by George Welch more than a century ago, it, too, is alive and well. Just ask Bryan Haralovich, the head of the company’s Technology Services group. Hired in October 2011, after 20 years of working with national firms, Bryan came to Welch with a single goal—to make the firm’s considerable expertise more readily available to the rapidly expanding, entrepreneurial driven, high-tech market. “High-growth entrepreneurs were largely underserved in terms of the services we had to offer,” Bryan says. “That’s largely because high-tech is a volatile sector. Decisions often

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have to be made in a shorter time frame than more established industries like real estate or construction. As a result, it can be difficult for high-growth entrepreneurs to be aware of and to recognize the value of the services we offer.” Bryan’s task? Educate the marketplace while embracing and adding depth to Welch’s capabilities. As it turns out, he is ideally suited to the task. “I came to Welch without a client base,” he says, “so I couldn’t offer Welch a list of potential clients as a hiring incentive.” What Bryan could offer was extensive experience in providing financial services to a broad range of entrepreneurs, from private to public companies, and including charities, government departments and agencies. He had also done his homework and was delighted to find Welch’s sterling reputation was accompanied by a willingness to tailor its services for a new marketplace. In short, it was an ideal partnership. “Welch has an independent way of looking at things,” says Bryan. “Couple that with an overwhelming desire to make a positive difference and it’s clear why we’ve been successful in attracting high-growth entrepreneurs from the high-tech sector.” Simply put, he says, Welch shares his passion for serving and helping entrepreneurs, those folks who want to make a difference, who want to do things their way. And who, more and more with Welch’s guidance, do exactly that. “Really, we’re helping these entrepreneurs see their business through a financial lens. And being part of the Welch team allows me to address matters that are important to entrepreneurs and their companies in a meaningful, business-like manner.”

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Accompanying that meaningful, business-like manner is a welcome personal touch. As Bryan points out, Welch is a bit of a family business. Over the years, a number of family members have held various positions in the company. “That family background has strengthened the connection to our clients. We’ve come to know our clients, to understand their needs and their motivations. The services we provide them address the hard issues. The relationships we’ve created help us understand the softer issues.” As Welch looks back on a century of success, it looks forward to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirt that led to its formation—and sharing its considerable abilities with a new generation of entrepreneurs.

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George A. Welch, Founder

Deans Berry was recognized for his entrepreneurial mindset, followed by John Berry and currently Peter Berry, marking 3 generations at Welch LLP

Bryan Haralovich, Partner

“Welch has an independent way of looking at things. Couple that with an overwhelming desire to make a positive difference and it’s clear why we’ve been successful in attracting high-growth entrepreneurs from the high-tech sector.”

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A GREAT IDEA LEADS TO AN EVEN GREATER PARTNERSHIP W

HEN FLOODS OVERWHELMED

the Westgate area of Ottawa in 2005, most homeowners sought higher ground. Bruno Giammaria, on the other hand, sought a solution, one that would protect homes against sewage backup and provide extra drainage and flood protection. By 2007, he’d found one. Or, more accurately, invented one. By combining the benefits of a backwater valve and a trap, Bruno’s creation—called a Backwater Trap—prevents sewer water and gases from backing up. It also provides additional protection from groundwater under the concrete floor. And, unlike conventional traps, Bruno’s Backwater Trap does not require water to properly seal a property from the outside. It is always closed, opening only to allow water down. As a result, water is allowed to drain out, but wastewater, unhealthy gases and odours are blocked from coming in. For a man with Bruno’s abilities— he founded his own company, Bruno’s Plumbing and Heating, in 1971 and has a number of related innovations—defeating flood water was relatively straightforward. Especially when compared to getting his invention to market, which, as it turned out, proved to be considerably more complex. By 2008, Bruno was ready and anxious to have his Backwater Trap approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). However, he was informed, he would need to submit a prototype as part of his application. Who better able to help an inventor with a prototype, he figured, than another inventor?

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“They had the technical knowledge, the attitude and the willingness to work with me on this unique project.”

ROBE RT C HIT T Y

Bruno Giammaria

So he reached out to his friend Tony Cuffaro, who had created Remar (Rescue-Marker), a tool used by hospitals, long-term care centres and other healthcare facilities to quickly identify occupied rooms. Tony introduced Bruno to his manufacturer, Plas-Tech Fabrications Inc., who created the plastic prototype that Bruno required for his CSA application. While the CSA approved the prototype, moving the process yet another step forward, Bruno quickly realized that he would need a mould if he was to manufacture and market his Backwater Trap. In the fall of 2010, Plas-Tech Fabrications Inc. referred Bruno to L-D Tool & Die. As it turned out, the die had been cast—literally— for a successful and rewarding relationship. Lawrence (Laurie) Dickson, who co-founded L-D Tool & Die in 1990 with partner Dave Tait, says there was nothing unusual about Bruno approaching the company about a mould for his new creation. “We’re a little different from other tool and die companies in that regard,” says Laurie. “We don’t just fill customers’ orders, we insist on working with them, to make them a

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part of the process. We want to make sure they get exactly what they need and want.” In Bruno’s case, that was easy, says Laurie. “We liked him right away. He was engaged, he was motivated and he looked to be dead honest.” The feeling was mutual, says Bruno. “Although I’d never met them before, I was very impressed by both owners. They had the technical knowledge, the attitude and the willingness to work with me on this unique project. If it wasn’t love at first sight, it was close.” One of the first challenges the new partnership faced was cutting costs. “Producing the moulds in Canada would have added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the final cost,” says Laurie, “so we suggested that the mould be produced in China, which could do the job at a fraction of the cost.” Once the mould arrived from China, L-D Tool & Die produced Bruno’s first Backwater Trap. After testing the product themselves, Bruno and his partners at L-D Tool & Die submitted it to the CSA. After another round of tests, the CSA approved the Backwater trap for use in Canada and the United States in May of 2013.

Unfortunately, Bruno suffered the fate of many entrepreneurs. His market was limited and getting the word out about a new product—no matter how effective—can be difficult. In short, while Bruno’s Backwater Trap was widely praised, there was not an immediate flood of orders. That’s likely to change following a ruling earlier this year. “In February, the Ontario Building Code approved the use of the Backwater Trap in municipalities across the province,” says Bruno. “It’s not mandatory at this moment but for the first time, builders and contractors can be confident that the trap meets every requirement of the province’s building regulations.” While Bruno and the folks at L-D Tool & Die expect demand for the Backwater Trap to increase as more folks become aware of its effectiveness, both are looking to the future. Bruno, for example, says he has a few ideas for new products while Laurie and Dave continue to offer a wide range of services to an even wider range of customers. “We’re proud that we have always delivered a complete line of services, from mould design and manufacturing all the way through to small and large volume production runs,” says Dave. “Today, the markets we serve include medical, defence, hightech sector clients, industrial and electrical. That’s in addition to customers in the construction, landscaping, automotive, recreational, and consumer markets.” On that list of customers—right near the top—is Bruno Giammaria.

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BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N

NCR SMALL BUSINESSES EXPANDING, GAINING

CANADIAN, GLOBAL PRESENCE

Many successful small businesses rooted to the National Capital Region have grown in size and are now punching above their weight on the national and international stage.

G

IANT TIGER STORES is a prime

example. The iconic retailer opened its first store in the ByWard Market in 1961. Today, there are 16 local outlets, and 500 employees at the corporate head office, amongst more than 245 retail locations, and about 8,500 employees across Canada, with plans to open another 15 to 18 stores a year nationwide over the next few years. “We see a pretty aggressive growth path. Our customers like what Giant Tiger has to offer, and so we keep opening stores to deliver that. That’s creating more great careers for people that want to join the Giant Tiger team—and we’re happy to offer those,” emphasizes senior vice-president of human resources Ron Hyson. “Giant Tiger has been very successful over the 57 years that we’ve been in business. We have many stories of people with 25,

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30, 40, 45 years [of service], that have been with Giant Tiger that we’re quite proud of,” Hyson adds. Management is also looking to the future, and how to stay on top of an unprecedented rate of change in the industry as it expands and tries to appeal to more consumers. “The focus of the company has always been steadfastly on doing the right thing for our customers and in our communities. About six years ago we underwent a very significant project called our New Store Experience. We took a look at the overall journey and path of the consumer in our stores, and they went through a refresh,” says Alison Scarlett, Giant Tiger’s director of brand communications. Under the New Store Experience campaign, stores were redesigned to provide more bright and cheery décor, with aisles

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that were easier to navigate, and more clearly defined departments. “We have defined the areas of the store to create an easy shopping experience for our customers. As an example we created ‘houses’ within the store for fashion, but within the houses we have made them occasion based, dressy, casual, athleisure,” Scarlett elaborates. Hyson offers this advice for NCR-based companies seeking external growth: first, look inward, and determine what made you successful in your home base. “For us, it’s always been about people driving the success of Giant Tiger through attracting the right talent to grow the business. The key to attracting the right talent has always been about having the right culture, where people want to come, and stay, and continue to grow their careers here,” says Hyson.

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The Pythian Group, Inc. is only a generation old, but it has already made its mark on the global stage. Ottawa-based Pythian, a global IT product and services company that helps businesses adopt innovative data and cloud technologies to help them compete in a changing, competitive marketplace, currently has 450 employees worldwide, and a presence in over 30 countries and 150 cities. “We realized if we wanted to have a really, truly elite team, we needed to establish ourselves overseas,” says Paul Vallée, Pythian’s co-founder, president and chief executive officer. “Essentially we believe that data is the most valuable resource on the planet. We’re helping our customers keep it available, make it secure, help with their systems

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performance and bring their applications to market faster. We’re also helping them unlock the opportunity that their data represents by applying more advanced analytics capabilities,” Vallée explains. About 150 employees, or one-third of Pythian’s global workforce, is situated in the firm’s head office here. “Ottawa is a phenomenal place to host a head office for a business. We have access to very educated talent that is confident playing on the international stage. Even our headquarters is a very well functioning and wellgelled United Nations of people from all over the world,” says Vallée. This cultural diversity is very positive for both the brand of Pythian as well as for Ottawa/Canada because it gives the company a head start both in terms of being able

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to attract talent from all over the world and in understanding how other countries work when dealing internationally, he elaborates. “As we invent these technologies, and continue to develop them, more and more work will be able to be delivered over the Internet,” Vallée predicts. “That means more and more work is going to be consumed globally by people who are ultimately not sharing a whole lot of homogeneous characteristics.” Ottawa is also attractive because we are recognized on the international stage for having a stable government with low corruption, a mature judicial system, and a reliable power and Internet infrastructure. “You don’t need to work globally very much to realize that these things matter a ton,” Vallée stresses.

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Ottawa Start-Up Helping Remote Northern Areas Grow Food BY J EF F B UCKST EI N

When University of Ottawa students Corey Ellis and Alida Burke traveled to Iqaluit with a student group called Enactus uOttawa to facilitate a series of entrepreneurship workshops, they discovered that hunger was a very serious problem in the territory’s fly-in communities, caused by food shortages and exorbitantly high prices. “Visiting Iqaluit for the first time in 2015 was a notable experience, as Corey and I had never been exposed to the challenges of food insecurity before,” recalls Burke. “Hearing about peoples’ experiences, as well as seeing the high prices and low quality firsthand for basic food items, really put it into perspective and drove us to want to do something about it,” she says. Ellis, 23, and Burke, 22 responded to the challenge by co-founding The Growcer Inc. The business manufactures a hydroponic system that utilizes three ingredients essential for plants to grow well carbon dioxide in the air, nutrient-rich water over the roots, and light. Much of that system is automated by a computer, and can even be used by people with no agricultural experience. “When you put those things in [in] the right amounts, and you control the environment within tight parameters, you’re able to optimize the growing speed of plants,” says Ellis, The Growcer’s chief executive officer, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

The fully-built hydroponic system, which is 40 feet long, nine and a half feet tall, and eight feet wide, plus all of the automation equipment and hydroponic supplies, costs $180,000, plus shipping and installation. It is a modular ‘plug-and-play’ unit. Additional units can be subsequently purchased and plugged into the existing unit(s). “When the system arrives, it’s literally a matter of a day or two to unpack everything, inventory, plug it in, fill up the water tank with a garden hose, and you’ve got a commercial farm,” says Ellis. “We have a great support system here in Ottawa, from advisors to partners, which has helped us start and grow our company,” says Burke, the chief operating officer. She cites, for example, the contribution of Invest Ottawa, whose Accelerator Program The Growcer is participating in, noting that “we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.” Burke recalls the pride she felt when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau toured the hydroponic facility at Invest Ottawa’s Bayview Yards location last spring. “It was great to have Prime Minister Trudeau tour our system and to see his interest in our work. It really puts in perspective the support we’ve received from Invest Ottawa as well as [from] all levels of government,” she says. Another positive factor has been access to excellent talent in the National Capital Region.

“Think of it a bit like an IV. We’re basically giving an IV to plants. We’re bringing nutrients to plants so it doesn’t have to work so hard to put out roots. It’s getting everything it needs, and right away can put out leaves a lot faster than it would grow in soil,” he elaborates.

“People want to join who have a ton of experience in areas that really align with our business, whether that be sustainable agriculture or working in an Indigenous context, [or] engineering. There’s a huge pool of candidates out there for the roles we’re looking to fill,” Ellis says.

The Growcer focuses on high yield, rapid growth plants. Some of the popular produce types include lettuce, bok choy, spinach, arugula, kale, and herbs like basil, cilantro, dill, and rosemary. Other produce includes brassicas like broccoli and peppers.

So far, sales have been exclusively within Canada, to Churchill, Manitoba, to Kugluktuk, Nunavut, and to Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec.

The Growcer commenced operations in June 2016 with assistance from the University of Ottawa’s Startup Garage, an initiative to support student entrepreneurs, which provided both mentorship and financial assistance. The Business Development Bank of Canada and Futurpreneur also provided start-up financing.

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“We’re looking for new markets to export to. We’re looking at northern Europe as one of the first places—similar climate, similar challenges. Our systems are well-designed for environments where water use is a challenge,” says Ellis. The Growcer is aiming to export to Europe in early 2019.

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“Ottawa has given us an incredible opportunity to take hold of the market, and to refine our service offering, and be positioned as we start our expansion into the greater Toronto area.”

Dymon Storage Corporation’s local roots trace back to 1995 in commercial real estate development and assisted-living retirement homes, but the company is now focused entirely on storage. It currently has about 1.3 million square feet of storage space for its residential and commercial customers in eight facilities across Ottawa, with another four buildings currently under construction, that are expected to be completed in 2019 and 2020. These facilities range in size from about 125,000 to 250,000 square feet. “Our facilities are large, so we get great economies of scale, and because of that we can pass on those savings to the guest,” says senior vice-president Steve Creighton. There are also plans to open up to 80 new sites in Toronto over the next seven to ten years. “Ottawa has provided us a great incubator,” says Creighton, who notes that facilities have generally only taken between five and 12 months to fill. “Ottawa has given us an incredible opportunity to take hold of the market, and to refine our service offering, and be positioned as we start our expansion into the greater Toronto area,” he adds.

“The Greater Toronto area is an unbelievable opportunity for us. The population is growing at a very fast pace, and a vast majority of new immigrants into Canada end up in the GTA,” notes Creighton. Furthermore, with the cost of real estate in the Toronto area, people can now only afford to buy homes or condos that are getting smaller, and so it is harder to fit everything into a home, he elaborates. Despite ambitious expansion plans to Canada’s largest city, Dymon’s corporate head office will remain here. “We’re not going to forget where our roots are. We’ve done very well here, and we’re very proud to say that we started off in Ottawa,” says Creighton.


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PLAYGROUNDS DELIVERING FUN

on County Road 9 just outside Plantagenet, Ontario, about an hour from Ottawa. Started in 1993 by Métis entrepreneur Richard Martin, the company manufactures one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art playgrounds that have been installed in communities around the world, including Saanich, British Columbia, San Antonio, Texas and Guangzhou, China. Residents of Ottawa can also experience Dynamo’s designs. The playground at Ashgrove Park, on Uplands Drive, is billed as “a great destination for a family outing.” In the fast-growing international playground design and manufacturing sector, Martin has been steadily guiding the company to greater innovation, higher production, and more revenues. The company—now recognized internationally as a leader in the design and construction of playground structures—generates almost $10 million annually, employs 50 people and holds seven patents on unique playground structures.

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AS WELL AS PROFIT

HE HEADQUARTERS OF DYNAMO PLAYGROUNDS sits

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Dynamo’s Riverview Park in Mesa, Arizona was voted the best playground by USA Today in 2015. The park is one of the company’s proudest achievements and features the tallest mast net in the world: a giant 50-foot climbing tower that will hold up to 250 people at the same time. There’s also a 60-foot-long caterpillar mesh rope climbing structure. Clearly, playground structures today are more than monkey bars and swing sets. In 2014, Martin, who had been outsourcing manufacturing overseas, decided to become his own manufacturer. However, despite his company’s success, he had difficulty accessing mainstream lending. As a result, Martin approached the Métis Voyageur Fund (MVF) part of a network of 55 Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) that finance and support Indigenous entrepreneurs. While the MVF was capitalized by the Government of Ontario for $34 million in 2012, the Government of Canada recently committed an additional $2.5 million to the MVF as part of its Métis Economic Development Strategy. The MVF provided Martin a $1.2 million loan to finance the

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purchase of a 10,000 square-foot building and the required manufacturing equipment. “Without a doubt, Dynamo would not be manufacturing in Canada if it were not for the help of the Métis Voyageur Fund,” says Martin. “It was truly a blessing.” Created in the 1980s, with support from the Government of Canada, Aboriginal Financial Institutions have helped create new businesses and expand existing businesses by providing financing and business support services to Indigenous entrepreneurs. The government recognized that Indigenous businesses face persistent barriers to accessing business financing, including outdated provisions of the Indian Act, remoteness, lack of credit history and few or no assets. These conditions have prevented Indigenous businesses from accessing affordable lending at mainstream financial institutions. Since then, the AFI network has leveraged an initial federal investment of about $240 million into over 44,000 loans, totaling $2.4 billion, to businesses owned by First Nations, Métis and Inuit people across Canada. The success of the network has been remarkable. Very few government-funded initiatives generate the leverage and measurable outcomes of Aboriginal Financial Institutions. Yet, federal support is stuck at 1980 levels, making it difficult for the network to keep up with demand from the growing Indigenous business community and to respond to the growing opportunities for Indigenous businesses across Canada. “You would think that this would be a good problem to have,” says Shannin Metatawabin, Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, the umbrella organization for Aboriginal Financial Institutions. “This initiative has demonstrable success, clear demand, and a proven track record. And the return on the federal investment is truly outstanding.” Currently, the Government of Canada provides about $35 million a year to support lending to Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs. This seed funding is able to maintain a lending portfolio across the network of over $100 million annually. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is committed to closing the socioeconomic gap between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Canadians. Increasingly, Indigenous Peoples see business development as the path to greater independence and self-sufficiency. Shannin hopes that the next federal budget will acknowledge, with renewed support, the important role that Indigenous entrepreneurs can play in helping close that gap.

Shannin Metatawabin CEO of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association

Richard Martin CEO of Dynamo Playgrounds

“This initiative has demonstrable success, clear demand and a proven track record. And the return on the federal investment is truly outstanding.”

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POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS EARN AN

A+ FROM

FUTUREPRENEURS Post-secondary institutions not only provide guidance and support to futurepreneurs, many also offer classes designed specifically to increase their knowledge and hone their skills.

ALGONQUIN COLLEGE: its state-of-the-art DARE District (dedicated to Discovery, Applied

Research and Entrepreneurship) features the Maker Zone and Studio, accessible, creative areas designed to assist members of the Algonquin community as well as external partners.

UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA: the Entrepreneurship Hub offers an entrepreneurship mentoring

program, a co-op program to enable students to earn money while working at their own companies and an entrepreneurship fund to provide space, financing and mentoring to startups. LA CITÉ: Ontario’s first French-language college of applied arts and technology recently

opened its immersive technology and entrepreneurship pavilion, Excentricité. This 34,100 s.f. state-of-the-art hub will welcome students, professors, entrepreneurs, clients and partners to participate in collaborative, hands-on, and creative educational experiences. This exceptional infrastructure, which includes a studio with a 360o projection capacity, a Business Accelerator, a War Room, a Training Room, and numerous collaborative rooms, is expected to be a crossroad of exchanges and gatherings to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. CARLETON UNIVERSITY: Students help fellow students navigate the challenging terrain

of entrepreneurship through their innovative Hatch program. The entrepreneur incubator works with budding entrepreneurs to develop their business plans. It then connects them with investors, partners and a community of like-minded peers.

ONLINE BIZPAL: Visit the Ottawa Board of Trade website, ottawabot.ca and you’ll find a link

to BizPal, an innovative online service that provides simplified access to information about business permits, licences and other requirements needed to establish, operate and grow your business. All at no cost.

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SPONSORED CONTENT

UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA

AT THE EDGE OF A 50,000TH CO-OP PLACEMENT!

F

OR ALMOST 40 YEARS, the

University of Ottawa has been helping local, national and international organizations recruit talent through their CO-OP program. As the winter of 2019 recruitment process is getting underway, the CO-OP team is at the cusp of a significant milestone: a 50,000th CO-OP work term! Many employers are quite familiar with hiring CO-OP students and routinely use it as a pipeline for attracting and retaining talent within their organization. As Cassy Aite, Co-founder and CEO at Desk Nibbles, has said, “At our fast growing start-up, hiring CO-OP students is vital to our company’s success. With the help of the University of Ottawa’s CO-OP team, we’ve been able to recruit several talented students that take on challenging and impactful tasks. The uOttawa CO-OP team goes the extra mile to ensure that the process is seamless and meets our hiring goals.” Mr. Aite echoes what many other employers have voiced about being able to work with motivated and passionate students that are eager to learn

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new skills and immerse themselves in what could turn out to be a potential full-time employment path once they graduate. Employers that have yet to hire CO-OP students would be easily swayed to do so when learning about some of the key reasons to recruit talent from the University of Ottawa. As Chantal Yelle, CO-OP Team Lead, Business Development, at the University of Ottawa tells us: “Whether it is by gaining year-round access to wellmotivated, qualified employees, or by evaluating potential full-time staff in a controlled environment and therefore reducing costs and risks, or by gaining input into what students learn, CO-OP students are an ideal fit. Organizations can source temporary employees for peak periods or special projects and, thus, promote their organization as one that’s interested in developing the potential of young people.” For the winter of 2019, approximately 1,100 students in nearly 80 different programs of study will be looking to secure a work term. For the summer of 2019, nearly 2,000 students will be available

to employers looking to take part in the process. As Ms. Yelle mentions: “By offering CO-OP in many different programs, the University of Ottawa is able to help a wide range of employers meet their recruitment needs.” For small organizations or start-ups that want to hire CO-OP students, there is even an added incentive currently in place to help them get on board. For the winter of 2019 work term, Ottawa based start-ups and small enterprises with 100 employees or less can be eligible to receive a $3,000 grant. With the winter recruitment process now underway, interested companies should reach out to the University of Ottawa quickly to take advantage. With nearly 50,000 work terms under their belt, the University of Ottawa’s CO-OP Program can clearly be seen as a key piece of an organization’s HR puzzle. For employers interested in learning more about CO-OP at the University of Ottawa and its potential impact, check out their website or contact Ms. Yelle directly at chantal.yelle@uottawa.ca (coop.uottawa.ca).

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CULTIVATING MILLENNIAL-RUN BY A N N A W I L L I A M S

BUSINESSES THROUGH DIALOGUE


It’s important to shape the prevailing narratives concerning millennial entrepreneurs into conversations that will help them grow their businesses.

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ONVERSATION FOR THE sake

of disseminating knowledge is only the first step to benefiting the future of the National Capital Region and our country as a whole. We all have something to learn both from the generations that came before us and the contributions of those who will follow. So, what do we know about millennial entrepreneurs that will allow us to help them scale up their businesses for the betterment of our future? We know what drives them to start their companies—and how that affects the way they run their businesses in contrast with more traditional methods of operation. A couple of factors tend to influence the drive that vitalizes millennials’ ambitions to create a company. “I think it’s because people want to work for themselves, very honestly,” says Brennan Turner, Co-Founder and CEO of FarmLead. “The main point is that—why not try. Why not try to build something or create value and do something maybe that somebody’s passionate about?” That assessment is pretty bang on, according to a Wells Fargo survey of 1005 small business owners that compares answers

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from millennial participants with those of participants from preceding generations. While both groups generally cite the same three reasons for starting their companies, the incongruence of their respective emphasis on each highlights a shift in focus between the generations.1 Most small business owners convey a desire to work for themselves and control their future when asked why they started their companies, while others cite flexibility at work or the ability to lead an impassioned career as the main reason for their decision (ibid). However, millennial entrepreneurs are less motivated by the idea of being their own boss than small business owners from prior generations and are more driven to create a company in order to do work they are passionate about (ibid). Let’s unpack those three main priorities in the context of millennials. Why do they want to work for themselves? Well, for one, millennials experienced the global recession as adolescents or young adults—according to President of the Pew Research Centre Michael Dimock, this impacted their life choices, future earnings, and entrance into adulthood.2 The heightened unemployment rate made

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self-sustained job security sound pretty appealing, especially for the purposes of supporting a family and handing the business down to future generations. Beyond that, though, from a millennial point of view, there is a connection between the three reasons small business owners start their companies: together, they allow the entrepreneur to craft the system by which they do business from scratch. In working for themselves, millennials are free to create a flexible process and office culture that fosters the passion and mission they wish to encourage in their company. “I was working at a corporate gym for quite a long time as a personal trainer and… there was a huge disconnect between the messaging we were given [and]…what we were teaching, which makes a lot of people feel like a fraud…You can do it your own way and you can be impassioned when you come from the heart. When you come from the heart, it feels different,” says Stephanie Karlovits, Founder and CEO of EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle. That passion and inspiration will make your team more productive, too. An article by the Harvard Business Review reveals that

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“In working for themselves, millennials are free to create a flexible process and office culture that fosters the passion and mission they wish to encourage in their company.”

employees who are inspired by their company’s leaders and mission are 125 per cent more productive than those who are merely satisfied.3 “People follow enthusiasm,” says Karlovits, “and as the leader and founder, I mean, it comes from you.” So where does the millennial desire for systems optimization come from? Well, just as the recession impacted their youth, so too did the rapidly evolving technology that permeated their formative years. From a fairly young age, millennials grew acclimated to a norm of near-constant prompts to update their personal devices. These factors may have helped to entrench an inclination for systematic optimization in the millennial psyche. Now, as millennial entrepreneurs run their businesses, their eye for process extends beyond technology to drive the realization of their company mission and passion. Every day, Brennan Turner personally analyzes and interprets grain market trends and posts his findings on FarmLead’s website so that farmers can make informed decisions during their transactions. “I love it, first of all,” he says. “It’s a passion of mine…but…we have literally tens of

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thousands of farmers who are reading and counting on this information to make decisions that are impacting their lives, and their families’ lives, and I mean at the end of the day, one of our…broader goals at FarmLead is to slow…or stop the decline of farms in North America. So we want to be able to give any farmer…the information and tools they need to be more profitable.” It seems like they’re onto something—a way of thinking the National Capital Region should encourage. As leader to the rest of the country, it has a job to support the people whose businesses will one day bolster our economy—people who have a lot to contribute to and learn from the way Canada currently thinks and works. So how do we encourage millennial entrepreneurs? “I’m involved at Invest Ottawa and in a program there which helps entrepreneurs realize their potential, and so that’s a key resource for entrepreneurs to explore…There are programs out there and so…I’d just encourage them to reach out and do some research…to uncover what resources are there to help them,” says Chris Bisson, Co-Founder and CEO of Escape Manor. That makes a promising start to the dialogue, but the conversation is just beginning. The next best way to support millennial entrepreneurs in the National Capital Region is to cultivate ongoing discussions that will help them understand what it takes to scale their businesses. “It is sometimes a problem to scale up projects…Having new staff and having more staff is a very different skill set,” says Mike Keogh, Co-Founder at BREAKFaLL. “That can be a bit challenging and a bit of culture shock, so it’s good if you see how other companies work… and…have a sense of some of the basic project management skills and what it takes to keep a project going, and make sure everyone’s on the same page.” So what can we do as an NCR business collective to keep the conversation going and make sure we all stay on the same page? Well, it couldn’t hurt to take a leaf from each others’ books. Anna Williams Enthusiastic reader, writer, and editor committed to the creation and perfection of meaningful stories and content.

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EPIC FITNESS + LIFESTYLE: EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle is a full ser-

vice Personal Training studio, gym and alternative health care company. Founded in 2012 by Stephanie Karlovits, we have been inspiring people in Ottawa to live #theEPIClife ever since. https://www.epicfitnessottawa.com/ FARMLEAD: “A robust marketplace that brings verified buyers

directly to farmers and helps producers of more than 100 different crops all across North America…FarmLead aims to facilitate greater equality, efficiency, and transparency in grain marketing…Our online grain marketplace allows farmers to find more buyers and identify the best possible deal; while grain buyers can easily access and identify the grain for sale in their desired location.” https://farmlead.com/about/company/ BREAKFALL: “A group of independent game developers who want

to create new and exciting interactive works. We are guided by the principle that independent developers are free to be daring in design, and sometimes being simple is daring. Armed with nostalgia for the games of yore and a sense of amazement at the tools available to indie developers nowadays, we’re hoping to make something unmistakably crafted by, and for, love of the game.” http://breakfall.ca/about ESCAPE MANOR: “We are placing you and your friends in a themed

adventure. As the clock counts down, you use logic and teamwork to find clues, solve puzzles, and escape before time runs out! 2 to 12 players…45 to 60 minute gameplay…tons of adventures to choose from. We look forward to locking you up!” https://www.escapemanor.com/ottawa 1. Wells Fargo, Millennial Small Business Owner Study (2016, June 27) 2. Pew Research, Defining Generations (2018, March 1) 3. Harvard Business Review, Garton & Mankins, Engaging your Employees (2017, October 25)

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Starting them young

How the Junior Achievement program encourages young people to get started BY EMI LY MAT HI S EN

You may have heard of the Junior Achievement (JA) program: it was founded in 1919 in the United States, and has become one of the largest youth business education organizations in the world. It is the largest youth business education organization in Canada. Last year in Ottawa, the Junior Achievement Ottawa team reached 5,653 students in 221 classrooms, with the support of 500 community volunteers.

The programs serve to build confidence, and to teach students the skills they’ll need. “It’s not all about starting a business, it’s also about transferring those soft skills, and having the confidence to talk to a potential customer, to come up with solutions,” says Wong. The programs also teach financial skills: “The students look to assess: ‘What makes a good investment? Is it sustainable? What are the costs? What’s the revenue?’ We do calculations of break even points, and give them a chance to put into practice financial management skills,” says Wong.

“Junior Achievement is really about talent development for youth, and also about helping students open their minds to the different careers they can pursue,” says Albert Wong, Director of Junior Achievement Ottawa.

JA students are 50 per cent more likely to start a business and three times more likely to spend less than they earn. One such business is the recently launched Sitter Next Door, which connects parents to babysitters.

JA does this by running programs both during and after school. One such program is the Company Program, where students work to create business plans and actually start companies.

“By providing hands on learning opportunities, we’re instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in youth. We want students to be thinking innovatively and creatively,” says Wong. For more information please visit the website onfe-rope.ca

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SEARIDGE

SPREADS ITS WINGS

L

IKE THE INDUSTRY it serves,

Searidge Technologies delivers its solutions and services safely and efficiently to destinations around the world. And it does so with an unrivalled degree of success. So much so that Searidge is now universally recognized as a global leader in the delivery of remote tower and digital airport solutions.

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In just 10 years, innovative technology developed by the Ottawa-based company has enhanced safety and efficiency throughout the aviation industry. For example, Searidge was the first company to place an operational video system in an air traffic control tower. And it was the first to introduce Artificial Intelligence (AI) for air traffic control (ATC) and airport efficiency.

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MAR K HO LLERON

IN ASIA AND ACROSS THE GLOBE


Moodie Cheikh CEO, Searidge

“Entrepreneurial thinking created this company, entrepreneurial thinking will sustain us moving forward.”

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But while naturally proud of his company’s many achievements, CEO Moodie Cheikh recognizes that the company must continue to act boldly and decisively if it is to build on that success. The market for remote tower and digital airport solutions is large in terms of potential revenue but has a relatively small number of target customers, he explains, and Searidge is not alone in its desire to attract what is a limited number of customers. One of the things that separates Searidge from its competitors, Moodie believes, is its insistence on hiring people who bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the company’s diverse workplace. “We expect our employees to think originally, to weigh risk against reward, and to support and accept support from fellow workers,” he says. “Entrepreneurial thinking created this company, entrepreneurial thinking will sustain us moving forward.” To secure its position as an industry leader, Searidge decided to adopt a global strategy (only 10 per cent of its business comes from within Canada). So two years ago, it began seeking new opportunities in the booming Asia Pacific (APAC) market. “The demand for aviation services in that region is already high,” says Moodie. “And it’s growing. In fact, the Asia market is now experiencing faster growth than Europe and North America combined.” The move to APAC required some nimble moves on the part of Searidge and its talented team of workers. The company transferred one its senior managers to the United Kingdom and moved another manager out of its European office to Singapore. “We are, by necessity, a 24-hour-a-day company,” says Moodie. “But because we deal in a small market, we’re not a particularly large company. At the moment, the Searidge workforce totals about 50, adding an average of four or five new employees annually.”

In addition to the personnel moves, Searidge enlisted the support of two major players in the air traffic management industry—NAV CANADA and NATS, the United Kingdom’s leading provider of air traffic control services. The two companies assumed joint ownership of Searidge in the spring of 2017. The deal, says Moodie, has been a key factor in Searidge’s success in Asia. “Although NAV CANADA and NATS are now major shareholders in Searidge, we continue to operate as an independent business. And that allows us to better service our customers, help drive innovation and expand our reach into key markets.” Key markets like APAC. In Hong Kong, the Civil Aviation Department selected Searidge to install its Digital Tower solution for a trial at Hong Kong International Airport. As part of the trial, 28 fixed cameras and two pan-tilt-zoom cameras will provide coverage of both of the airport’s runways and terminal apron areas. In Singapore, NATS—with Searidge on board—was asked to develop a smart digital tower prototype for Changi Airport. With 58 million passenger movements a year, Changi Airport is the largest and most complex in the world to test such a prototype. Searidge provided advanced camera and video stitching tools during the trial. Cameras will be able to track, pan, tilt, and zoom, to enable a closer look at objects or areas of interest, while radar and weather data can also be augmented on screen to provide greater situational awareness. For Hong Kong and Singapore, Searidge turned out to be the solution. For Searidge, Hong Kong and Singapore turned out to be the beginning.

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KANATA NORTH HOME TO SMALL COMPANIES WITH BIG IDEAS (AND BIG COMPANIES WITH BIGGER IDEAS) BY E M I LY M ATH I S E N

T

HE KANATA NORTH Technology Park has not always

been what it is now: home to more than 21,000 skilled employees and responsible for contributing over $7.8 Billion to Canada’s GDP. But, since the founding of Mitel in 1972, the Park has been a great place to take your small business global. Over 500 businesses are based in the Park, and some of them are doing truly fascinating things. From You.i TV, the app provider behind TV apps for brands like the Cartoon Network, Fox, and the NBA; to Solace, the company behind American Express’s quick credit and purchase authorizations, you may have used many of the technologies built in Kanata North without even realizing. “Kanata North is unique in its concentration of talent.” says Jamie Petten, Executive Director of the Kanata North Business Association. “Technology products are being brought to market from here. Global companies, like Time Warner and Daimler are investing. A lot of these partners and enterprise customers have a footprint around the world.” Businesses are growing so fast that it can be a challenge to keep supplying that pool of skilled, prepared workers. “We’re always thinking, how do we continue to attract, nurture and maintain talent,” says Petten. “We’re working with amazing customers and have amazing opportunities. We’re world leading in many ways. We need to keep bringing in the best people.” To do this, the Kanata North Business Association has developed strong relationships

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with postsecondary institutions, including developing co-op and internship opportunities, so students are ready to take employment after they graduate. Companies in the Park are seeking to maintain momentum and success, and quickly, because they’re not just producing technology that you use today, they’re producing technology that you may use in the future. Solace, founded in 2001, makes technology that enables open data movement. This August, Solace announced it would be powering Daimler’s “Mercedes me” app, which will allow users to do things like park their cars while standing outside their vehicles (amongst others). In fact, the Kanata North Technology Park is building a lot of technology like that. “We’ve become a vibrant and active hub for autonomous vehicles and testing,” says Petten. The Park has one of Canada’s only public test tracks for autonomous vehicle technology, and was the first one to connect to live City infrastructure. BlackBerry QNX, whose software is used in more than 120 million vehicles, including Toyota, Audi, BMW, and Ford brand cars, led the initiative to create the test track. But other companies, like Cohda Wireless and Nokia, have also been involved; many partners are working to make driverless cars an everyday occurrence. “The technology will lead to the future of self-driving vehicles in Canada,” says Petten.

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FIVE OTTAWA COMPANIES

MAKING THEIR MARK IN THE WORLD BY B A R B ARA B AL FOU R

I

T’S NO LONGER a secret:

Ottawa is a hotbed of talent, birthplace of great ideas and home to a burgeoning tech industry that’s making significant global contributions. We talked to five local companies who are putting our city on the map in a very big way. INSTANT POT Robert Wang has perfected the art form of making the perfect soft-boiled egg. That’s his daughter’s favourite breakfast food, and one that requires precise timing down to the second. Luckily for her, Wang has not one, but three Instant Pots at home—a seven-in-one kitchen appliance he just happened to invent in 2009. The serial entrepreneur and company CEO designed the device—a combined pressure cooker and slow cooker—to bring innovation to a space where there had been none for decades. “The slow cooker was first patented in 1937. Crockpots were introduced in 1971. Since then, there hasn’t been much else,” says Wang, who holds a PhD in computer science and specializes in artificial intelligence. “We wanted to introduce something that caters to today’s generation, which

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suffers from lack of time and would rather spend it with friends and family than standing beside the stove, cooking.” Today the Instant Pot is the number one cooker brand and among the top five small kitchen appliance brands in North America. For the past three years, during Amazon Prime Day, it has been the highest-selling non-Amazon-made product on the continent—a feat no other brand has achieved, Wang points out. The 80-employee company is growing fast—and with more than 20 openings right now, snapping up talent like hotcakes.

whose father, John, founded the company in his basement in 1974. Today Ross Video is a half-billion-dollar organization. Their dynamic client base ranges from the world’s largest broadcasters and sports stadiums to celebrity rock bands, internet providers and government organizations. “Ottawa has been good to us and, looking forward, we see no end in sight,” says Ross. “Even though we now employ almost 700 people, we expect this annual growth to continue and we’re looking for the people that will help take us into a very exciting future.”

ROSS VIDEO As an international leader in video production technology, Ross Video could have located their headquarters anywhere in the world. After all, their products are already used in more than 140 countries. But for CEO David Ross, Ottawa is not just home but the community that made his company’s success possible. “We’ve enjoyed 27 consecutive years of record sales, at a consistent average of 17 per cent growth per year. Ottawa has been a big part of that, with its incredible talent pool and all its economic advantages,” says Ross,

PROSLIDE If you’ve ever taken the plunge down a water slide, chances are you’ve experienced the innovations of a leading water park design firm called ProSlide. Headquartered in Ottawa with offices in Shanghai, Amsterdam, Beijing and Seoul, ProSlide designs and manufactures water slides for top resorts around the world— think Disney, Six Flags and Seaworld. It’s the only company to ever win the industry’s highest honour—the IAAPA Impact Award—three times. Over the past 30 years, it has also won more Best Water Ride awards

Ross Video

ProSlide® Double TornadoWAVE™ at Jeju Shinhwa World, South Korea (ProSlide photo)

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than all other water slide manufacturers combined. It’s no coincidence that the steep grades and gut-twisting drops of their water rides, each one more gleefully terrifying than the last, mirror those of the ski slopes—the company was founded by a former national ski team racer, Rick Hunter, in 1986. His partnership with one of Canada’s largest sailboat manufacturers brought the highest-quality fiberglass to the industry. To this day, ProSlide rides are known for superior ride performance and premium quality. In 2019, more than a dozen new rides and innovations will be unveiled, says Hunter. “We’re going to continue to take ride performance to an even higher level. The sky’s the limit.” SHOPIFY Most people don’t associate their ability to shop online with the e-commerce giant first started by two Ottawa entrepreneurs in 2006. Today, Shopify has more than 3,000 employees around the world and has exceeded $72 billion in sales on its cloudbased commerce platform, where businesses of all sizes can design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels. Shopify currently powers over 600,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries, offering options such as tap and chip payment readers, same-day delivery, and multi-channel return, and exchange options. Its CEO, Tobias Lütke, was named The Globe and Mail’s CEO of the Year in 2014, while the company itself has been included on numerous lists of most innovative companies in the world.

The platform has gained the trust of not only billion-dollar brands like Red Bull, Nestle, and Kylie Cosmetics, but also several Canadian provinces using it to run e-commerce operations. Having already signed deals with local marijuana companies, Shopify is also tapping into the vast revenue potential of legal recreational cannabis in Canada. In addition to its Ottawa headquarters, Shopify’s other offices are located in Montreal, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and San Francisco. GUSTO WORLDWIDE MEDIA Canada’s most innovative food TV channel is barely five years old but is already being watched in more than 170 countries. Founded by industry veteran Chris Knight, Gusto TV sold the Canadian rights to its brand to Bell Media in 2016 and is now known as Gusto Worldwide Media. The partnership enabled a significant expansion in their operations, including a workforce that has since tripled in size, and a new 13,000 square-foot TV studio complete with sound stage, commercial kitchen and post-production services. The new space serves as the production hub for Gusto’s numerous award-winning food and cooking series and is also available for lease to external producers. As one of Bell Media’s four specialty channels, Gusto TV is now being rebranded under the CTV banner as CTV Life. Knight’s ultimate plan? To launch Gusto globally as an international channel, with a particular focus on the U.S., China, the U.K. and Germany; its first overseas linear channel was launched in Singapore in August.

Made in Ottawa – Beer – According to the Ontario Beverage Network, Ottawa is home to 21 independent craft breweries! Beyond the Pale Brewing Co. Bicycle Craft Brewery Big Rig Brewery East & West Broadhead Brewing Co. Clock Tower Brewpub Conspiracy Theory Brewing Co. Covered Bridge Brewing Co. Dominion City Brewing Co. Evergreen Craft Ales Flora Hall Brewing Kichesippi Beer Co. Lowertown Brewery Nita Beer Co. Overflow Brewing Co. Small Pony Barrel Works Stray Dog Brewing Co. Tooth and Nail Brewing Co. Vimy Brewing Co. Waller Street Brewing Co. Whiprsnapr Brewing Co.

Shopify

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Gusto Worldwide Media

Visit https://ontariobev.net/ ottawa-brewers-directory/ where you can learn if the brewery also serves food or if they offer mail delivery. Cheers!

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THE NEW OTTAWA ART GALLERY (OAG)

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CONTEMPORARY LUMINOUS ADDITION to Ottawa’s

downtown core, the new Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) spans six floors, and more than 55,000 square feet. The Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment project, including a hotel and condominiums, represents a public-private investment of over $100 million. OAG’s primary multipurpose rental space, the Alma Duncan Salon, features state-of-the-art film and digital projection capabilities, floor to ceiling windows, and retractable seating for 250, or 350 capacity standing. Two large outdoor terraces, a bold and modern board room, and the open and airy Sky Lounge (pictured) provide unique and alternative spaces for both public enjoyment and private rental. All event bookings enjoy the advantages of a dedicated professional event coordinator, on-site catering by Jackson café, free unlimited Wi-Fi, and the convenience and accessibility of a first-class downtown location. Art lovers won’t want to miss the Firestone Gallery, a space dedicated to works by the Group of Seven and other important Canadian artists. Additional gallery spaces offer visitors access to OAG’s Permanent Collection, as well as historical, contemporary and touring exhibitions and special projects. Admission is always free, with the gallery open daily 9am to 9pm (closed on some holidays), and complimentary curated gallery tours can be booked by appointment. Guests can complete their gallery visit with lunch, dinner or a signature cocktail at the beautiful Jackson café, located on OAG’s main level. Co-created by Ottawa Restaurateur Caroline Gosselin and Executive Chef John Leung, Jackson offers a changing menu inspired by OAG’s exhibitions. Plates are primarily plant based, artisanal, and organic when possible, with an emphasis on sourcing ingredients from small local family farms.

JACKSON A cocktail bar, restaurant & café. The newest addition of the Eighteen Hospitality Group opens its doors within the new Ottawa Art Gallery. Named after the famed Canadian Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson. Jackson started as a passion project for wellness between co-owners Caroline Gosselin and John Leung. Caroline is a co-creator of E18hteen, Sidedoor & The Clarendon Tavern. Apart from working over 18 years in the restaurant industry she has been trained in the world of yoga, meditation and ayurveda. It was during this journey into wellness that the concept of Jackson was born. Jackson embodies wisdom, wellness, taste & love. “THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT IS LOVE!” – Caroline Gosselin

Event Rental Inquiries: Beth Evans, Facilities & Events Coordinator, Ottawa Art Gallery bevans@oaggoa.ca, 613.233.8699 x 231 Media Inquiries: Véronique Couillard, Public and Media Relations Manager, Ottawa Art Gallery vcouillard@oaggao.ca, 613.233.8699 x 244

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Chef Leung’s career spans more than 20 years. He began as an apprentice to Chef Kurt Waldele at the National Arts Centre and went on to hone his craft at premier dining establishments around the world, including El8hteen, the official residence of the British High Commissioner, National Gallery of Canada, Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, Daniel Restaurant in New York City, and at Nobu in London, England. Leung takes inspiration from around the globe and leads an extraordinary team, combining locally sourced ingredients and sustainable seafood to produce tantalizing dishes. Jackson’s mission is to help raise consciousness around food. A movement that promotes primarily plant-based, healthy food to increase a healthy mind, body, spirit and planet, high—vibrational food. Locally sourced & globally creative. Reservations can be made on OpenTable, through jacksoncafe.ca or directly on Instagram by clicking Reserve. 613 680 5225 / @jacksonottawa / hello@jacksoncafe.ca / www.jacksoncafe.ca / oaggao.ca

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Hon. Lisa MacLeod

L-R Mitch Bird, Kathryn Hendrick, John Moser GBA

Ian Sherman EY

Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

CAPITAL AROUND TOWN

L-R Kristy Cameron Bell Media, David Coletto Abacus Data, Rob Mariani Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Cheri Chevalier, Microsoft

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THE LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW EXPERTS Emond Harnden is trusted, not simply as advisors, but as an integrated member of our clients’ HR departments and senior management teams. We are devoted exclusively to advising management on labour relations and employment matters. It’s a forward-thinking approach to labour law.

ABOUT US

À PROPOS DE NOUS

As a boutique labour and employment law firm, Emond Harnden has represented the interests of management in both official languages since 1987.

Emond Harnden est un cabinet d'avocats en droit du travail et de l’emploi qui représente exclusivement les intérêts des employeurs, dans les deux langues officielles, depuis 1987.

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CAPITAL Magazine Fall/Winter 2018  
CAPITAL Magazine Fall/Winter 2018  
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