Purple Forge is a proud finalist for the following 2011 OCRI Awards:
- Most Promising Startup
- Next Generation Executive - John Craig, VP Sales and Marketing
Purple Forge is also a proud finalist for the following Exploriem Bootstrap Awards:
- Most Innovative Source Bootstrap Capital
- Fastest Growing Startup (Last Three Years)
I had an interesting discussion last week regarding OCRI with a few local entrepreneurs. The general issue being “What good is OCRI?” for entrepreneurs in Ottawa.
There was a lot of negativity about the lack of relevance and the fact that OCRI has increasingly become something of a joke around town due to its public fights with politicians (“The City does not own OCRI!”), lack of transparency and general lack of results. OCRI has serious issues, there is little debate on that point.
However, it is worth noting that OCRI does/has run some programs that, in the past, I have personally found of value and which are worth highlighting:
- OCRI Awards - The annual award program is a great help to local companies from a marketing perspective. It raises awareness of local companies in the region, and for the winners offers ongoing value for marketing as well as during fund-raising and talent recruiting.
- Market Research – It is not generally well-known, but OCRI can offer free market research reports (covering competition, market sizes, market trends) from major research firms. These research reports typically cost thousands of dollars per report and are out of reach for most entrepreneurs at the early stages. The OCRI membership fee alone is worth the value of the marketing reports that OCRI can offer for free.
- Trade Shows – In the past OCRI has co-ordinated international trade show participation where they have provided shared booth space at discounted prices for local companies. For an early stage company this sort of assistance is very valuable as trade show participation is generally costly to plan, execute and fund. In the case I was personally involved in, we were also able to receive partial re-reimbursement for our travel expenses from another government program OCRI was co-ordinating with.
- Venture Capital Forum – I have participated in two forums over the years. I found the preparation for the events and pre-screening coaching provided by OCRI to be constructive and valuable. While no financing came out of the events, there was value to the networking and experience in presenting. The resulting improvements to my pitch were helpful in subsequent VC pitches I gave.
- Entrepreneurship Center – Early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I used the online resources of this program extensively. The material was well-organized and practical… and saved me a ton of time.
- Events – In the past, OCRI has co-ordinated some very relevant, inexpensive and useful networking and educational events. In particular, the Bill Gates events were world-class.
- Job Board – In the past, I have posted jobs to the OCRI job board. Having a job board that is regionally oriented and which doesn’t have outrageous fees associated with it can be very useful to an early stage company when recruiting.
If you are an entrepreneur in the Ottawa region working on launching or growing your start-up, the following organizations have the most to offer:
- The Ottawa Network – Networking events – connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and suppliers – membership fee (negligible) and per-event fees (negligible)
- TiE - Educational and networking events focused on wealth creation – membership fee and per-event fees
- Lead to Win – Education and support in growing your company (introductions, advice) – all free
- CLD - Support in growing your company (grants, loans)
- IRAP - Support in growing your company (grants, advice, introductions)
- The Code Factory – Incubator space (inexpensive) and networking events/workshops (usually free)
Yesterday I attended the TiE event on “Leveraging Government Funding – Sources and Strategies”. It was a good session. For any aspiring entrepreneur in Ottawa, I highly recommend joining the TiE organization.
For those entrepreneurs looking for alternative sources of capital for their start-up, a very good site which provides comprehensive information to help you find available programs from Federal and Provincial governments is http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/search/sof/.
Research Infosource published a report titled “Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities List 2009 Analysis“.
Ottawa University came in #8… unfortunately Carleton University didn’t make the list.
RESEARCH Infosource released a report last week titled “Canada’s Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders List 2009 Analysis“
Canada’s communications/telecom sector was the number one R&D spend – with 2008 research spending on associated products and services representing 40% of total industrial R&D. Of the top 100 R&D performers, 15 were from the communications/telecom sector.
In 2008, Nortel was the number one R&D spender. Nortel spent more on R&D than number 2 Bell and number 3 Magna combined.
Next year’s report will likely see the pharmaceutical sector replace communications/telecom products as the leading performer of R&D in Canada. According to RESEARCH Infosource -
The full effect of the deteriorating world economy will be reflected in next year’s Fiscal 2009 corporate R&D spending results. It is hard to envisage better overall performance than in 2008. For one thing, it appears that Canada’s perpetual R&D spending leader (Nortel Networks) will be absent from the list in 2009. In consequence, total corporate R&D spending will undoubtedly be affected – in a downward direction.
The full report from RE$EARCH Infosource is available here and is worth reading.