Region/Countries: Canada, North America Industry: Other Date: February 2019

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin technology companies can find partners and customers in Waterloo, Ontario.

Since the early days of handheld device pioneer BlackBerry (formerly Research in Motion), Waterloo, Ontario, has been known as Canada’s “Silicon Valley.” A lower cost of living, available talent pool (thanks to its proximity to renowned post-secondary institutions such as the University of Waterloo) and access to venture capital have created a fertile environment for business growth and subsequent partnership opportunities.

The University of Waterloo welcomes collaboration with various industry partners in the fields of knowledge, processes, data, designs, plans and training. It has a flexible intellectual property policy, allowing industry and researchers to reach agreements deemed fair by all parties. In January 2019, Ontario Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek announced support for expanding Ontario's automated vehicle pilot, centered within the Waterloo tech hub.

BlackBerry has moved from handsets to enterprise security, and other thriving Waterloo-area businesses include enterprise information management company OpenText as well as high-performance drone maker Aeryon. The list of fast-growing companies in the Waterloo area includes everything from turnkey e-commerce rewards service providers to environmental science. Companies that grow will be more amenable to working with tech partners that can help them better achieve their own goals.

Waterloo's vibrant business environment and thriving tech sector offer a prime expansion destination for Wisconsin tech partner companies.