The Kanata North Business Improvement Area is hoping a new promotional video will sell the community as the place to do business.
Launched at the BIA’s annual general meeting on Wednesday night, the video has a slight movie trailer feel to it, with a big-voiced man singing the praises of Kanata North and all it has to offer, both for business and recreation.
Executive director Jenna Sudds said there might be a perception in the business community that the area is struggling, especially since some high-tech companies have chosen to pack up and relocate downtown.
The BIA is hoping the video will help change that view, she said.
“There’s certainly a need and desire once again to be putting Kanata North at the forefront of the business community’s mind, particularly when thinking of a technology and innovation hotbed,” Ms. Sudds said.
In fact, that’s one of the reasons the city’s newest BIA was created three years ago, she said.
Ms. Sudds was the group’s first staff member and has been on the job for 18 months. In that time, she said, the association has had a major impact on the community in various ways, from promoting the area and being an advocate for members at city hall to hosting networking events.
But there is still more to do, she said.
“I think what we are proposing is that it’s done in a very collaborative fashion,” Ms. Sudds said, adding she hopes to bring Kanata North businesspeople together with city staff, tourism officials, Invest Ottawa and the West Ottawa Board of Trade to develop a marketing campaign for 2015.
Also at the meeting, the BIA announced its continued relationship with the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. The school, which already helps the BIA with strategic planning, will provide an executive in residence to help determine the business community’s training needs and identify gaps in talent.
The Kanata North BIA differs from most of its counterparts across the city because it serves an area dominated by tech companies, not the retailers and restaurants common in more central areas. Still, Ms. Sudds said the original board, which is still in place, was meant to be representative of the area and includes everyone from Sam Khatib of Papa Sam’s restaurant to Kevin Ford, who will take over CEO duties at Calian in March.
Ms. Sudds said the future is bright for the 500-plus companies that call Kanata North home, thanks in part to the global multinationals that have set up shop in the area.
“They have large, talented workforces, and the reality is that those businesses have attracted so much more to the area, so that we’ve created this fantastic ecosystem where there’s interconnectivity between the large business and the medium and small,” she said. “It offers businesses a lot in that realm, and I also think, from another perspective, the talent pool is really deep here and we continue to see growth as far as jobs being created.”