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Ottawa’s proposed innovation complex suffers Ottawa’s familiar inferiority complex

con027601_123462741By Francis Moran

When Ottawa’s newly reconstituted economic development agency Invest Ottawa earlier this year unveiled its proposal to convert a disused former city workshop in the Bayview Yards into a hub for the city’s technology and startup communities, I thought it was one of the boldest initiatives from an organization whose hallmark, at least in its previous incarnations, was not exactly one of bold and innovative thinking. I have long looked covetously at Kitchener-Waterloo’s Communitech Hub, Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District or Campus London in the British city’s east end, and I welcomed the IO effort to create a similar locus and anchor point for Ottawa’s considerable but largely fractured technology communities.

(And I use the plural of community advisedly here. Ottawa’s tech sector is an amalgam of communities that, best efforts of many people notwithstanding, continues to fracture between the older, west-end companies focused mainly on communications infrastructure and the younger, downtown companies working on software and apps.) Read More

To serve the entrepreneur, you need to think like an entrepreneur

photo_2254702_resize_articleLeo Valiquette

This may seem like an odd topic to raise in the early days of August. After all, it was a story that first broke in January and doesn’t seem to have garnered much media attention in the months since. But after my recent trip to Kitchener-Waterloo and immersing myself in the environment of the Communitech Hub, it seems that some discourse should be attempted on a subject that has perhaps provoked too little attention so far from mainstream media.

I am referring to plans by the City of Ottawa and Invest Ottawa to construct at Bayview Yards west of the Canadian War Museum an “innovation complex” that would repurpose an old 150,000-square-foot city workshop (pictured). According to a city staff report from January, the complex “would help to meet the growing demands of new entrepreneurs in Ottawa” and be modelled after Communitech and the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

The site is nestled in a rather forlorn light industrial area characterized by weeds growing from cracks in the concrete. However, this area is the focus of the city’s Bayview Community Design Plan.

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July roundup: What does it take to get technology to market?


By Hailley Griffis 

Last month’s lineup featured great posts that shattered common myths about how your brain functionality affects sales and marketing and whether or not your software demo may be killing your sales. We looked at worst practices in the world of social media marketing (and how to avoid them), as well as how to pitch an investor slide by slide. Most notably, our website was redesigned and we are happy to present to you the new and improved layout. Let us know what you think!

In case you missed any of it, here is a handy recap of our posts, as ranked by the enthusiasm of our readers:

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Happy summer day

Summer on the north shore of Prince Edward Island

By Francis Moran

Today is a typically confused holiday for we Canadians.

It’s the Monday of a long weekend that is enjoyed coast to coast.

Well, almost coast to coast; in that unique fashion of theirs, Quebecers express their distinct society aspirations on this day by not having it off. (Although they did get to enjoy their Fête nationale du Québec on June 24, so they can’t really complain.)

We have trouble deciding what to call this quasi-national holiday in the rest of the country.

For most, it simply carries the anodyne moniker, August Long Weekend.

For Haligonians, it’s Natal Day. (Although I lived in Halifax for more than 10 years, I was never a real Haligonian. At best, I was a reasonable Halifacsimile. But I always enjoyed the Concert on the Hill and fireworks on what was only nominally the city’s birthday.)

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The tech world should defend the Keystone pipeline


By Denzil Doyle 

It is encouraging to see the emphasis that President Obama is placing on the jobs and other economic spinoffs that will be created by the proposed Keystone pipeline, because if the arithmetic is done properly the numbers will surprise even the staunchest opponents of the project. They will demonstrate that the pipeline industry is a mature industry that uses a broad range of proven technologies.

The communications between Canada’s scientific community and its politicians and bureaucrats leave a lot to be desired. The environmentalists would have us believe that whether we are talking about the north-south or the east-west pipeline, we are dealing with unproven technology. To hear them talk, one would think that they are the world’s first pipelines and they will leak continuously.

The fact of the matter is that there are over two million miles of pipeline in North America and they are monitored by over 20,000 devices called Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Some of them have been in use since the early ’70s and the majority of them use satellite technology. A typical pipeline has a SCADA terminal at every pumping station and there is a pumping station about every hundred miles.

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