How businesses can capitalize on Ottawa’s diplomatic community

As every local entrepreneur knows, Ottawa boasts a highly skilled workforce and some of the country’s top universities and research facilities. Such assets have helped make the city a formidable force in several industries, particularly high tech.

But as the nation’s capital, Ottawa is also home to another key advantage that might not be as readily apparent – about 170 diplomatic missions and consulates that give local businesses a unique window to the world.

Earlier this month, the Kanata North BIA hosted its second annual diplomatic tour and dinner reception. Representatives of various embassies toured three Kanata tech enterprises – Flex, QNX Software Systems and You.i TV– and had a chance to network with local tech executives and politicians, including Mayor Jim Watson.

“The Kanata North technology community has been enjoying impressive growth with many companies being recognized on the global stage as leaders in their fields,” said Jenna Sudds, the BIA’s executive director. “This event provides a wonderful opportunity for our business community to meet with international delegates and strengthen those relationships.”

Ms. Sudds told OBJ that Ottawa businesses have unprecedented access to government officials from countries around the world – a golden opportunity they can’t afford to miss.

“The business community can literally connect with over 170 countries within a few minutes drive of their offices,” she said in an e-mail. “This can’t be said anywhere else in Canada and local businesses should take advantage of this opportunity when looking to do business outside of Canada.”

Ms. Sudds said international embassies and consulates provide local companies with the chance to:

- Validate business ideas and opportunities in other countries;

- Provide guidance and make introductions to businesses and their government representatives;

- Learn business customs and culture;

- And create opportunities to meet with visiting members of state and delegations when in Ottawa.

She also noted the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service offers assistance to Canadian companies doing business in numerous countries around the world.

These trade commissioners “are incredible resources and have market intelligence from their market in these countries,” she said.