It’s official, 2021 was a massive year for new business investment in Waterloo.
In fact, it broke numerous records.
Waterloo EDC is the organization tasked with attracting new investment from international companies and helping local companies expand. We help our clients access government funding programs, find real estate and office space, connect with talent and more. Our services are complimentary – provided through funding from our government partners.
Our key success metrics are 1) investment value and 2) new jobs. The context: providing value for the investment our funders have made in our organization.
In a normal year, we’d deliver our results as part of an annual Public Information Meeting, but COVID-19 has made that impossible in 2020 and 2021. Instead, we’ve produced a video presentation that reviews results, priorities and opportunities/threats we see on the horizon. You can find the full presentation for 2021 at the end of this story.
Don’t have time to watch the whole thing? Here are the highlights:
$363 million in new investment for Waterloo
In 2021, the Waterloo EDC team closed 16 deals valued at $363 million – this is the most investment value we’ve ever landed in a single year. Of these, nine investments were local expansions of existing operations and the other seven were new investments from international companies. About 63% of the investment value was in advanced manufacturing, with another 35% in tech.
Perhaps the most impactful number is 700, as Mayor Berry Vrbanovic explains:
“The big numbers are impressive, of course. Bringing $360 million in new investment to our community in just one year is a major achievement. But I would like to focus on the smaller number too – 700.
Waterloo EDC’s work this year created 700 new jobs in our region in addition to the hundreds of jobs that were retained through these new investments. That’s 700 lives made better. 700 families made better.”
$2 billion in potential future investments
Our investment deal pipeline, which identifies potential deals and the stage they’re at, currently includes 90 deals with an estimated value of $2.14 billion. That’s more than $2 billion in potential new investments that might be made in our community – new tech offices, new manufacturers, local expansions, etc.
Of this total, three deals valued at $13 million are listed as “forecast,” which means there’s a high probability of a landed investment in the near future. The bulk of the pipeline is in the “pipeline” stage, which is where Waterloo is a potential location for a new investments – we’re in the competition for new investment – but there isn’t a clear decision date in sight.
A healthy pipeline is key to any sales organization – this pipeline shows that Waterloo EDC is positioned for continued success.
181x return on municipal government funding
Since its inception, Waterloo EDC has depended on funding from all eight municipal partners in Waterloo Region to provide our services to companies looking to locate, relocate or expand in Waterloo.
In 2021, we are proud to reveal that for every $1 our municipal partners invested in Waterloo EDC, our organization delivered $181.60 in new corporate investment. This 181x return on municipal government funding is an organizational record.
We achieved this incredible return on investment by leveraging our core funding to attract additional support from provincial and federal governments. This incredible year is also a result of sustained work over the course of the last six years of Waterloo EDC’s operation and pent-up demand stemming from a slow-down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Future focused on investment readiness
As noted, we have a substantial pipeline of opportunities where Waterloo is competitive, but we cannot rest on our laurels. Waterloo EDC is focused on closing new investments and further growing our pipeline.
However, we also have a major additional priority in the year ahead: investment readiness. Many investment opportunities – particularly in advanced manufacturing – require substantial available serviced land. In some cases, we do not have the necessary serviced land to compete. Preparing more serviced land for potential investments must be a priority if our community wants to grow.
The sky is the limit in Waterloo – we have an excellent location, a workforce that is the envy of communities across Canada and an incredible post-secondary ecosystem. We are in control of our own destiny when it comes to attracting major new investments that might create thousands of new jobs.
Watch the full Public Information Meeting video here: