What Good is OCRI?

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.
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Mobile App Companies in the Ottawa Region

UPDATED: go here https://purplejunction.com/2012/08/25/updated-mobile-companies-in-ottawa/

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There has been a lot of interest in the mobile app development cluster in Ottawa.  I recently took an  inventory of companies in Ottawa who were developing mobile apps or mobile related software.  The current list of companies I found is below:

If anyone has others to add please drop me a note at brian@purpleforge.com, or add to the comment thread for this posting.  I will keep this list up-to-date.

Looking for a job at a great mobile app company?  Send your resume to careers@purpleforge.com.

Older versions of this post:

https://purplejunction.com/2010/07/17/mobile-app-companies-in-the-ottawa-region/

Ottawa University #8 in Research Income in 2008

Research Infosource published a report titled “Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities List 2009 Analysis“.

researchuni Ottawa University came in #8… unfortunately Carleton University didn’t make the list.

Pharmaceuticals to Replace Telecom as Canada’s Top R&D Spenders?

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.

millionclub

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.

Ottawa-Gatineau #9 in Small Business Growth

Ottawa-Gatineau is #9 in small business growth among Canadian CMA’s (Census Metropolitan Areas):

cmagrowth

Some Interesting Statistics

  • Small businesses employed roughly five million people in 2008, comprising nearly half of the private-sector labour force.
  • Between 1998 and 2008, small businesses created more than one-third of all new private sector jobs. In 2008, they created roughly 70,000 jobs, almost 70% of the Canadian total.
  • About 25% of small businesses operate in the goods-producing sector and the remaining 75% are in service industries.
  • 64% of businesses in Canada have 6 or less employees:

bizdistribution

  • Small businesses are highly represented in the following industries:
    • Construction
    • Non-institutional health care
    • Professional services
    • Retail
    • Accommodation & food services
    • Truck transportation
    • Forestry

ref:  Canada’s Small Business Juggernaut, BMO, October 2009