That's progress: five Ottawa firms land on Canadian Business's New Innovators List

Andrew Waitman
Andrew Waitman is CEO of Ottawa software firm Assent Compliance, which topped Canadian Business magazine's list of environmental leaders. File photo

Shopify headlines a new list of Canadian companies that are “forging a more progressive path forward” based on factors such as innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion.

The e-commerce juggernaut is one of several Ottawa-based companies on the New Innovators List released Tuesday by Canadian Business magazine. 

Created by Canadian Business and the Toronto-based Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, the list evaluates companies based on criteria such as innovation, diversity, equity and inclusion. 

A panel of judges chose 50 winners, which were placed in five best-of lists, including Best and Brightest, environmental work, people policies, innovation-driving activities and impact intentionality.

Shopify topped the Best and Brightest list, with Canadian Business praising the software firm for its “openness and magnanimity.” Ottawa-based fintech firm Brane – which develops technology to protect and store cryptocurrency assets such as bitcoin in a bid to keep them secure from hackers and other bad actors – came in at No. 5.

Meanwhile, emerging Ottawa tech giant Assent Compliance – which made headlines last month after landing more than $440 million in fresh venture capital – finished atop the “Environment Leaders” category. 

Assent’s platform ensures that some of the world’s biggest companies and their suppliers comply with an ever-growing list of government regulations on everything from human rights to health and safety standards. Canadian Business hailed the company for leading by example when it comes to being environmentally conscious, noting Assent “crafts all internal policies – from office renovations … to travel rules – through a green lens.”

Another rising local tech star, Giatec Scientific – which makes smart sensors that measure the consistency and quality of concrete – placed fifth on the list of "Innovation Leaders," with the magazine citing its "three-year roadmap for novel software and hardware milestones, backed by its proprietary and patented technologies."

Another fast-growing Ottawa firm, online marketplace CanadaWheels.ca, cracked the top three in the “Impact Intentionality Leaders” list of companies that operate with “social and environmental purpose” and “quantify and track the benefits they create and communicate the effects of what they do to stakeholders.”

The magazine said the online retailer of automotive wheels, tires and parts is “working to bring transparency to an industry often known for opacity,” adding it encourages consumers “to consider sustainable choices” when making purchasing decisions.