Ottawa entrepreneurs have strong startup, scaleup mindsets: report

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Ottawa’s entrepreneurs have the right mindsets to launch and scale up their businesses, but the startup community could use a bit more cohesion, according to the latest report from a global entrepreneurship organization.

Ottawa, alongside Gatineau, is one of six Canadian regions examined in the Global Startup Ecosystem 2018 report from Startup Genome, which works to improve tech hubs around the world. The organization partners with hundreds of private and public organizations – including Invest Ottawa – to gather its data and further its cause.

The report finds that Ottawa “thrives on a science-based economy” with the highest R&D spending in Canada per capita. Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and big data and analytics are all highlighted as strong sub-sectors in the region, with local firms Klipfolio and Mindbridge AI named as high-potential up-and-comers.

Startup Genome specifically shines a light on the productive mindsets of Ottawa’s entrepreneurs. In surveying local founders, the report finds that Ottawa entrepreneurs’ mindsets correlate strongly to both launching a startup and scaling it up.

To put that into numbers, 29 per cent of Ottawa founders surveyed had mindsets that indicated likely startup success and 43 per cent correlated to scaleup success. That’s above the global averages of 24 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively. Ottawa was the only Canadian hub listed among seven global cities that ranked highly in both of these correlations.

There’s still work to be done, however, as Startup Genome found Ottawa’s tech community was not as tightly knit as it could be. The capital was below global averages in terms of sense of community and founders’ relationships to one another.

In fact, a quote in the report from Shopify’s chief operating officer Harley Finkelstein seemed to confirm the need to bring the city’s entrepreneurs closer together.

“Ottawa is primed to be a world-class tech ecosystem. To drive this forward, we need to close the gaps between industries and build a stronger community that supports startups and innovation on all levels,” he said.