Invest Ottawa

The Lead Economic Development Agency for Knowledge-Based Industries in Canada’s Capital, Facilitating Economic Growth and Job Creation in the City of Ottawa




Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative and future-ready city, and the best place to learn, work, live, and play.

We are on a mission to enable market-led innovation by leveraging emerging technologies to build high-value jobs, long-term economic growth and community prosperity.

At Invest Ottawa, our team passionately fosters entrepreneurship, accelerates startups, scales established businesses and attracts foreign investment for sustainable global success. We deliver integrated venture development and global expansion programs and services that catalyze the growth and achievement of entrepreneurs and firms. These programs and services include small business training, mentorship, growth coaching, acceleration support, foreign business and investment attraction, talent attraction, local business retention and expansion, as well as commercialization support.

Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and companies, helped firms attract more than $602 million in capital, contributed to the creation of more than 8,450 jobs, and attracted $575M in domestic & foreign investment.

Venture Development 

Invest Ottawa’s Venture Development team comprises of two divisions: Entrepreneurship and Venture Acceleration.

Entrepreneurship Services
Our Entrepreneurship Team serves aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs who aim to build a mainstreet, product or service-based business, or a technology-supported and technology-driven business.

These early-stage programs have helped thousands of small business owners grasp the basics of entrepreneurship, establish a solid business plan and launch a product or service company. Leveraging an impressive roster of experts dedicated to supporting our clients, our team works with founders and business owners to address critical roadblocks, identify and seize new opportunities, and overcome challenges to help them realize their potential. Key programs and services include:

  • Education Centre  
    Entrepreneur workshops and seminars with a targeted curriculum, one-to-many sessions, and hands-on training focused on fundamentals that help entrepreneurs build successful small businesses.
  • Advisory Services 
    One-on-one or one-to-few meetings with experts that advice based on a client’s specific needs, sector focus, investor and market-readiness, stage of customer, and business opportunities and challenges.
  • Youth (Age 15-29) and Early-Stage Entrepreneurship Programs
    Specialized programs that create a pipeline of entrepreneurs by focusing on building strong business foundations. Budding business owners gain hands-on practical training, mentorship, and can potentially win grants.
  • IO Peer Groups 
    A group of non-competing business owners that run similar-sized companies come together consistently to meet and support each other.  Led by a trained and seasoned expert, each peer group works through professional challenges and tackles tough business issues while building a strong network of support.

Venture Acceleration
The Venture Acceleration team aims to enable and accelerate the development and success of high-growth Ottawa technology, and technology-enabled firms, from startup to scale-up. These firms target a global market opportunity with the potential to scale and create high-value, knowledge-based jobs. To support these clients, the Venture Acceleration team delivers an integrated suite of programs and services that catalyze growth, customer, market and investor-readiness, and commercial success.

Our team helps technology and technology-enabled companies launch, scale, and export. Key programs and services include:

  • IO Pre-Accelerator(s)
    10-week boot camps designed to help early-stage entrepreneurs with technology or technology supported startups to validate their ideas and solidify their business foundations.
  • IO Accelerator Program 
    This program aims to rapidly and systematically accelerate the development and commercial success of high-growth technology firms. In a phased and milestone-based approach, founders push themselves over twelve to eighteen months to create a scalable and globally competitive company.
  • Scaleup Platform 
    The Scaleup Platform helps companies overcome three key challenges to rapid growth and market success – customers, revenue and talent. Delivered by Invest Ottawa, Communitech, MaRS Discovery District, the platform offers strategic advisory services, programs and networks customized to the specific needs of each company. It will help hundreds of high-growth firms attract more customers, talent, sales and capital over the next five years.

Global Expansion

Invest Ottawa’s Investment and Trade team focuses on three key goals:

  • Local business retention and expansion, with an emphasis on multinationals with an R&D presence/capability in Ottawa;
  • Foreign direct investment, company and talent attraction; and
  • International business expansion, including trade.

Global Expansion services and programs help businesses land, expand and invest in the region.  
Business Retention and Expansion Services
Locally, Invest Ottawa’s Invest and Trade team helps to address the needs of growing SMEs and established firms by:

  • Identifying and assessing opportunities for business expansion by gathering and analyzing intelligence;
  • Establishing and implementing strategies that facilitate market access, business retention and expansion; this includes brokering relationships to prospective partners; and
  • Mitigating potential risks related to business retention and expansion and minimizing potential impact.

Foreign Investment Attraction Services  
At Invest Ottawa, we have the municipal mandate to help entrepreneurs go global and attract foreign direct investment. As part of its targeted international outreach, our team works closely with a host of federal and provincial agencies and programs in support of shared objectives.

Invest Ottawa’s Foreign Investment Attraction team also helps foreign companies make a ‘soft landing’ in Canada’s dynamic, high-tech hub. We work closely with foreign firms to select the right site for their business, navigate the set-up process, and get connected to the business resources, government agencies and industry associations. This work helps companies take root in Ottawa and flourish.

International Business Expansion (Trade) Services
Invest Ottawa local companies—including startups—enter the exciting world of export trade. Our team of market directors and business development strategists work with Canadian trade commissioners abroad to glean customized market intelligence and identify the kinds of business opportunities companies require to succeed internationally.

Here at home, our team works with industry associations, government departments and elected officials to mount trade missions that bring entrepreneurs face-to-face with decision-makers. Key partners include Global Affairs Canada, the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation, and Export Development Canada.

The Ottawa L5
The Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Test Facilities established and led by Invest Ottawa provides world-class integrated testing grounds for the safe implementation of CAVs. These facilities support V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) testing and validation of CAV technologies in Ottawa’s true four-season climate on public and private testbeds. Building on Ottawa’s internationally recognized strengths in telecommunications and security, the Ottawa L5 is equipped with V2X connectivity including GPS (RTK), DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications), Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE and 5G infrastructure, making it the first integrated CAV test environment of its kind.

These capabilities enable R&D in communications, as well as CAV operations in inclement weather with systems that pinpoint the location of hidden objects, cybersecurity, interoperability and use of CAV-generated data. Leveraging valuable regional CAV expertise, public and private partnerships and investment, the Ottawa L5
is a Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS) in Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN). It also leverages critical contributions from founding and strategic public and private partners, including Accenture, Avanade, Blackberry QNX, the City of Ottawa, Ericsson, Juniper Networks, the National Capital Commission (NCC), Microsoft, and Nokia.



In the worldwide war for talent, the demand for highly skilled people represents a key hurdle facing high-growth firms in our region and across Canada. According to the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), the demand for digitally-skilled talent will reach 305,000 people by 2023, for total employment of over two million workers in Canada’s digital economy.

Invest Ottawa is committed to tackling this talent shortage with our partners and helping firms across our region address key talent challenges, accelerate business growth, and create new jobs that fuel our economy.

The IO Talent (Pilot) Program launched in 2019 aims to help growing Ottawa companies attract, develop and retain the top tech and business talent required to thrive, compete and succeed in the global market.

Leveraging technology, knowhow and talent management strategy, sourcing and employer branding capabilities, this program equips Ottawa’s fast-growing startups, scale-ups and SMEs with a talent advantage by providing coaching and mentorship, access to global technology expertise, as well as talent solutions and support for every stage of growth.

Integrated within our broader suite of venture development and global expansion programs and services, the IO Talent (Pilot) Program leverages Invest Ottawa’s Work in Ottawa and Why Ottawa campaigns to help drive the attraction and retention of top talent, and showcase why Ottawa is the best place to learn, work, live, and play.

Enabling and Accelerating the Launch, Growth and Success of Female Founders and Womxn-Owned Firms

Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards strive to enable and accelerate the startup, scaleup and commercial success of more female founders and womxn-owned firms in our region, with a focus on the creation of Ottawa’s first $100 million womxn-led company.

Leveraging our Female Founder and Women-Owned Business Sub-Committee of our Board of Directors, and building on our Gender Diversity and Inclusion Guideline, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards have established a strategy and initiated the implementation of an action plan with our community to advance these goals.

Our Vision

  • To be the best city in the world for womxn founders and business owners from every walk of life to launch, grow and scale commercially successful, globally oriented and sustainable companies
  • To establish Ottawa as an internationally recognized region with a critical mass of top womxn business founders and owners

Our Goals

  • Near-Term – Establish the Foundation: Build a robust pipeline of Ottawa womxn founders and the value delivered by Invest Ottawa to womxn-owned businesses
  • Medium-Term –Drive Measurable Progress Towards Goals: Continue implementation and ramp-up of new programs and services that expand the capabilities, impact and long-term success of womxn founders
  • Long-Term – Expand Global Leadership and Collaboration: Facilitate sustainable, long-term cooperation on big-picture goals and challenges to create more significant market and investment opportunity for womxn founders

Our Action Plan: How Are We Working Towards Our goals?

Together with our community, we are taking strategic action to:

  • Promote: Increasing the visibility of female founders; creating new content and promotional platforms that showcase womxn-led firms, their achievements and contributions to our economy and community; and amplifying the voice and impact of womxn founders
  • Educate: Creating and delivering training, workshops and other formal and informal education opportunities that help support the growth and success of female founders and womxn-owned firms; and inspiring through womxn role models and leaders
  • Equip: Creating and evolving programs, services and support specifically targeted to female founders and womxn-led firms including mentorship and enhanced R&D, business and market capabilities
  • Connect: Getting more womxn engaged; establishing new womxn-led networks and peer-to-peer groups; facilitating new linkages to prospective mentors, investors and customers; and driving new opportunities in national and global markets

It is a journey. We have a long way to go, but we’re focused on growth and progress.

International Womxn’s Week in Canada’s Capital

On March 8, the world celebrates and strives to catalyze further the economic, social, cultural and political achievements of womxn, on International Women’s Day. In Canada’s Capital, we join forces with folks across our region, throughout Canada and around the world, to create an entire week dedicated to these important goals: International Womxn’s Week (IWW).

Together, we aim to establish Ottawa as an internationally recognized region with a critical mass of top womxn leaders who achieve a significant impact on our economy and society. During this impactful week, we unite to inspire, empower and equip womxn in leadership in professional fields that span tech, entrepreneurship, investment, industry, government, academia, research and innovation, and non-profits. We are harnessing the power of our community to create a critical mass of support and establish a strong foundation of long-term collaboration in support of these goals.

We are calling on all regions across the country and around the world to develop and implement strategies with their stakeholder communities to further increase our collective impact on womxn leaders as a national and global community. Collaboration is critical to our success and our future. It will take all people working together as a collaborative force to help create, attract and retain more womxn leaders in a region where opportunity abounds.

This collective action will help more womxn achieve their leadership potential and increase our performance, competitiveness and impact as a region, a country and world. Independently and together, champions, allies and organizations are working to address these goals during IWW and far beyond.

Fostering a Culture of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards have established an ambitious five-year strategic plan that aims to create new jobs, investment and global market advantage for companies across Canada’s Capital. To achieve key objectives and the desired economic and social impact, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards recognize that diversity and inclusion are required to drive sustainable wealth creation and prosperity across our region. They are proven multipliers to performance and economic growth and critical success factors for global companies and organizations. As such, the creation of an inclusive culture and infusing gender diversity and inclusion into our programs, operations and governance represent key strategic goals for our organizations.

That is why we launched our Gender Diversity and Inclusion Guidelines and established diversity, inclusion and belonging as a key pillar of our five-year strategic plan and annual operating plans.
We recognize there is diversity within gender, including the intersections of ethnicity, ability, age, culture, religion, and other important attributes. We have chosen to focus initially on gender diversity and inclusion as it creates a strong foundation on which to build even greater diversity and inclusion within our programs, services, operations and governance. This focus has enabled our organizations to build on this initial platform and take targeted action to leverage, support and foster all types of diversity within our community.

We look forward to building on this foundation and continuing to work closely with our employees, clients, partners, investors and stakeholders on these critical objectives going forward.

In 2020, Invest Ottawa was recognized as one of the ‘National Capital Region’s Top Employers. This special designation recognizes the employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

To learn more about Invest Ottawa, visit

Company Information

Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems