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June Wrap-up: Waterloo is a Beehive of Activity

June was quite a busy month in Waterloo, with new rankings, announcements, investments and more. Read the full wrap-up for all the details.

Waterloo was abuzz with activities and achievements in June.

New ventures and talent attraction strategies were announced. The region was recognized by Startup Genome, QS University Rankings and Metro Rankings Report for entrepreneurship and international business expansion. And local quantum researchers and aerospace companies received significant funding.

We were busy as bees last month in Waterloo, and with all this sweet success, we’re excited to see what golden opportunities lie ahead.

Here are the top stories from June 2023.

UWaterloo is one of the world’s top schools

UWaterloo has leapt from 154th place to 112th in the newly released QS World University Rankings. Waterloo also placed among the top-5 schools in Canada. Each year, QS evaluates approximately 1,500 universities around the world on a variety of indicators, such as sustainability, citations per faculty, employment outcomes and more.

In other exciting UWaterloo news, the school is set to become the first Canadian post-secondary institution to invest from its endowment into a venture capital (VC) fund. The for-profit fund, Velocity Fund II, is spun out of Waterloo’s Velocity incubator and operates independently.

Waterloo is a hotspot for business expansion

Waterloo nabbed top spot as the Tech Talent Leader for small cities in North America. The 2023 Metro Rankings Report recognized our region’s ability to attract and retain businesses, as well as availability of potential employees with a concentration on tech skills.

This ranking strengthens Waterloo’s reputation as a global hub for tech innovation and talent. It’s a reminder that our strategic location, vibrant startup and scale-up scene and reputation for innovation make Waterloo a prime spot for international business expansion.

The Corridor is a leading startup ecosystem

The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor has one of the best startup ecosystems in the world, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Silicon Valley, New York City and London. It ranked #8 in North America and #17 in the world according to the latest Global Startup Ecosystem Report from Startup Genome.

The report, which evaluates global tech hubs based on success factors such as performance, funding, market reach, connectedness, talent and knowledge, acknowledged the Corridor’s impressive 54.3% increase in ecosystem value and celebrated Waterloo’s reputation for innovation, highly skilled talent and industry leadership.

Federal government announces new strategy to attract talent

During a special announcement at the Collision Conference in Toronto, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser unveiled a new strategy to attract tech talent to Canada.

The strategy includes a dedicated pathway for permanent residents who work in the STEM sectors, a digital nomad program that allows foreign tech workers to work in Canada for up to six months and a new open work permit stream that will allow 10,000 H-1B visa holders to come to work in Canada.

Waterloo is set to reap the benefits of this strategy, as our community is ripe with potential for newcomers. From our entrepreneurial spirit to our thriving workforce, Waterloo is the perfect place to relocate.

Just ask Marcos Machado, Executive Director at Meta IT North America, who’s leading the Brazilian-based company to new frontiers in Canada.

ApplyBoard entrepreneur launches new venture

ApplyBoard co-founder Martin Basiri is setting his sights on a new mission: to finance international students’ passages to education. Basiri launched his new company Passage last month with $40M in funding from Drive Capital.

According to Basiri, the company will focus on helping international students obtain financing to attend universities and colleges in Canada so they can fill critical labour shortages in fields such as engineering, bioscience and skilled trades.

New Narwhals in town

Which Canadian companies will become world-class firms? According to the Narwhal 2023 List, local companies ApplyBoard, eSentire, Avidbots Corp., Auvik and Axelar Networks are prime candidates.

In fact, all five companies are well on their way to becoming global household names. eSentire, ApplyBoard and Axelar Networks have all scooped up unicorn titles within the last few years, and Avidbots and Auvik Networks have recently scored major funding.

$1.3M awarded to quantum researchers

Four researchers at UWaterloo were awarded more than $1.3M in federal funding to support small modular reactors (SMRs) research. The research is set to provide a new generation of nuclear scientists, engineers and policymakers with a deeper understanding of SMRs and advance the field of nuclear power generation.

Region poised for exponential growth

Teeming with new development and residents, our community is growing exponentially. A new study conducted by the University of Toronto concluded that the thousands of condos and apartments recently built in Kitchener are helping the downtown core recover from the impact of the pandemic.

New residents are joining our workforce and fueling growth and innovation in all sectors. New spaces, like the SDG Idea Factory, Sustainability Lab and Innovation Arena, are popping up around town and contributing to the diversification of our economy. Plus, new residential towers alongside existing transit routes are slated to bring a wave of density to our community.

If you’re eager to learn more about the region’s resilience in the post-pandemic world, discover eight ways we persevered over the last three years and how we’re carrying that momentum forward.

WISA announces funding for innovation

The Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics (WISA) announced the recipients of its prestigious Sustainable Future Competition funding last month. Emerging aeronautics innovators Palitronica, Sky Sight and EXO Insights were this year’s deserving recipients.

The funding is propelling aeronautical sustainability within Southern Ontario and driving social, environmental and economic growth in the sector. WISA is a key player in Waterloo’s aerospace ecosystem and is propelling our community to the forefront of aviation innovation.

OTTO Motors stacks up awards

OTTO Motors is on a winning streak. Since the beginning of 2023, the robotics and automation company has partnered with Mitsubishi, launched new software and scored a spot as a finalist for EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2023.

Last month, the OTTO Lifter was named the Material Handling Solution of the Year. This award recognizes the world’s best supply chain products and technologies that are breaking through in a crowded market.

Get in on the action

Waterloo is buzzing with success and you could be part of it. Contact our team today to learn how.