Recipient: Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation
Region: Waterloo Region
Stream: Regional Innovation Ecosystem
Total funding allocated: $3 million
What do you get when you combine a diversified economy with a skilled workforce, world-class research hubs and post-secondary institutions that generate work-ready talent pools? You get Waterloo Region.
With its innovative culture and growing set of amenities, Waterloo Region garners attention from companies looking to locate, relocate or expand. It also draws talent and investors searching for a strategically located and connected ecosystem. Waterloo has grown into a thriving central hub of economic activity, spanning industries such as technology, advanced manufacturing, automotive and more.
Created in 2015, the Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation (Waterloo EDC) serves as the first point of contact for foreign businesses looking to set up in Waterloo. It leads foreign investment attraction efforts for global investors looking for a foothold in North America, and supports local companies as they invest and expand. In fact, from 2016 to 2018, Waterloo EDC facilitated 30 investments in Waterloo Region, totaling more than $645 million.
“In our first three years, Waterloo EDC has demonstrated a clear ability to attract investments and help foreign-owned businesses expand in our region. The numbers speak for themselves,” says Tony LaMantia, Waterloo EDC’s President and CEO. “This investment from FedDev Ontario will supercharge our efforts, including building our capacity to generate and nurture leads. Our mission-driven team truly believes that our work is having positive social impact, strengthening our ecosystem and improving the lives of the people in our community.”
This collaborative project, with a $3-million investment from FedDev Ontario, involves targeting global companies from a variety of sectors to take part in 45 organized investment missions in the region, with help from up to 80 local companies to introduce them to global investors and export opportunities. Waterloo EDC has already hosted a delegation of German tech companies, connecting them with various local start-ups, and introduced a large automotive multinational to additional local companies. Additionally, it has welcomed a multinational aerospace company to Waterloo Region to discuss potential investment opportunities and introduced them to five local companies with shared interests.
Moreover, with FedDev Ontario’s support, Waterloo EDC expects to bring $40 million in brand new investments to the region, which will ultimately generate more than 275 jobs across southern Ontario. The organization has already found success, having helped Insticator—a New York-based adtech company—set up a development office with the potential for 40 new jobs and almost $10 million in investment through 2023. Enlighted, a Siemens-owned and California-based Internet-of-Things company, provides another example, having opened an R&D centre in Waterloo Region with an estimated 20 new jobs and $7 million in investment over the next five years.
Additionally, this collaborative project is working to enhance the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by strengthening working relationships and partnerships with the City of Guelph, Toronto Global and the City of Hamilton.
“This investment will build upon the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor’s global significance as a leading innovation cluster. Together with our partners, we are committed to attracting high-value foreign direct investment that builds sustainable prosperity not just in our own regions, but across southern Ontario and Canada,” says LaMantia.
FedDev Ontario is committed to working with Waterloo EDC to realize its vision of a locally rooted, internationally competitive and globally renowned Waterloo Region.