Though there's a growing appreciation that Toronto and the surrounding regions are fast becoming a major hub for tech and digital innovation, just how sizable we've become in those sectors isn't always apparent. A new study highlights the significance of southern Ontario in particular, as "one of the most concentrated centres of technology leadership and growth in the world."
Conducted by tech sector analysts The Branham Group, the report identifies what it calls "Ontario’s own Digital Corridor: a concentrated cluster of innovative technology firms across the York Region, GTA, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton areas." In that corridor, the report finds, are "176,000 skilled professionals working in the technology sector, generating an average of $387,000 in revenue per employee."
The report is in part an attempt to not just identify the strength of the Toronto-Hamilton corridor in the tech sector, but to highlight one major shortcoming: our lack of effective marketing to celebrate this concentration of talent when compared to, for instance, Silicon Valley.
Our corridor "has everything offered by its U.S. counterpart: talented entrepreneurs, innovative companies, supportive governments, major post-secondary institutions (at least 12) and a track record of success." The report coins the term "Digital Corridor" as an attempt to begin to rectify that situation, developing a local analogue to the Silicon Valley branding that made that part of northern California so famous.
Comparing the two regions, the report notes some interesting differences: per capita income and overall population is higher here, but revenue per employee and total revenue generated are higher there. One potential explanation for this raised in the report: Canada tends to spend less on research and development than our neighbours to the south.
In an interview with John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures
that is included as part of the report, Ruffalo says: "Your data is concerning and supports other research indicating that Canada’s track record in R&D spend trails other nations around the world. We have to reverse this and make sure R&D spend is a key priority. It is a central strategy for viability of our industry and in individual companies."
Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: The Branham Report