How did Waterloo Region become a tech hub (hint: it wasn’t because of Blackberry)

There’s a few factors that created the perfect storm and it started long before Blackberry. With one of the highest rates of startups, there is a deep history of innovation and desire to create.


University of Waterloo


Many say it started in 1953 when the University of Waterloo was created. Gerry Hagey and Ira Needles wanted to create a university that gave students real work experience, now known as the co-op program. This led to building relationships between the school and businesses. UW also has tons of programs that nurture startups and lets students retain ownership of their ideas, such as Velocity.


Angel Investors


Angel investors financially support startups at the early stages, often in exchange for a portion of ownership. Waterloo Region seems to have many investors interested in the startups here, at all levels. There is also funding available through various levels of government, private groups and not for profit agencies. 


Community Buy-in


Waterloo Region is proud of being labelled the Silicon Valley of the North, and wants to keep on growing. There are many champions that continue to network, build and create jobs to ensure the tech hub flourishes. Communitech is a driving factor in this and can be found in the core of Downtown Kitchener.


Blackberry hasn’t been the only big name to come out of Waterloo. As you explore you may want to check out Kik, Shopify, Google, D2L and many more!

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Al Shousterman
December 13, 2017
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