In November 2014, Able-One moved our head office from 100 Campbell Avenue to 127 Victoria Street South in the Innovation District of Kitchener, Ontario. When the team was considering location options for the new office, we couldn’t imagine leaving the Kitchener-Waterloo area.
This Kitchener-Waterloo region is a hub for Canadian technology companies and we wanted to continue to be part of the community. One of the best things about the community in Waterloo region is all the support available to help technology companies grow and succeed.
Here are 6 organizations in the Waterloo region that every startup and growing business should know about.
Communitech’s mantra is to help tech companies start, grow and succeed. They were founded in 1997 by a group of dedicated entrepreneurs who wanted to raise the profile of the Waterloo Region tech community. The Communitech Hub is just down the street from our office.
Communitech is a great rallying centre for the tech community on Waterloo Region. They have great events, spaces, programs, and entrepreneurs in residence that can help tech organizations as they grow. Their Tech Leadership conference (http://techleadership.ca/) in May is one of the best local events each year.
The Accelerator Centre provides a combination of in-house mentorship, educational programming, facilities, networking, and access to funding and facility services, with a goal of building successful companies. They help entrepreneurs start, scale, accelerate their time to market, and attract customers, investment and revenue. They are located in Waterloo, Ontario within the David Johnston Research + Technology Park, and at the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus in Stratford, Ontario.
In 2008 the University of Waterloo created Velocity. The first Velocity program was a residence on campus. Since then, Velocity has grown into a set of six interlinked entrepreneurial initiatives: Velocity Residence, Velocity Garage, Velocity Alpha, Velocity Science, Velocity Foundry and the Velocity Fund Finals (VFF). Velocity’s commitment to education, idea sharing and the creation of support systems has allowed it to become a highly successful startup community, which contributed to the success of companies like Kik, Thalmic Labs, BufferBox, Vidyard and MappedIn.
At the heart of Laurier Entrepreneur is the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship which is inspired by the vital role entrepreneurs play in society and driven by a desire to educate and create opportunities for students in the area of entrepreneurship. It provides support for the entire entrepreneurship community at Laurier and integrates entrepreneurship into the classroom. There are also Launchpad initiatives in KW and in Brantford.
Waterloo Region Manufacturing Innovation Network
The Waterloo Region Manufacturing Innovation Network (MIN) is a free online network for manufacturers in the Waterloo region and their stakeholders. MIN’s mission is to connect key stakeholder groups in Waterloo region’s manufacturing sector to strengthen the local supply chain and create a more responsive and globally competitive manufacturing community. There are many great hardware organizations that are growing out of Waterloo region, not just software startups.
The Canadian Digital Media Network
The Canadian Digital Media Network is dedicated to establishing Canada as a world leader in digital media (ICT + mobile) by creating and enabling connections and collaboration between entrepreneurs, companies, research institutions, government and intermediary organizations across the country.
Major initiatives include an exclusive online national collaboration platform; an online Research Portal that provides one-stop access to important information about key digital media issues; the CDMN Soft Landing program to drive Canadian success globally; National Tour events enable companies to go global; and CDMN Canada 3.0, Canada’s only national digital media conference focused on the commercialization of innovation.
If you are a startup in the KW area, we are interested in playing a role to help you grow. We are always looking for new partners that have solutions for security, modernization, managed services, and other technology innovations. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in talking. We may be able to offer some mentorship or even a path to market for your solution.