Life Of Startups In Canada: Is Toronto The Next Silicon Valley?

startups canada growth toronto next silicon valley new companies

What is the most vivid in your mind when you start to think of Toronto? Maybe it's the CN Tower or the Drake. Perhaps it's the Maple Leafs hockey team or St. Lawrence Market, one of the world's largest food markets. 

However, what may not immediately come to mind is Toronto's growing reputation as a leading global technology hub.

It has quietly become the world's fastest-growing place for technology jobs. It has leveraged early investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies at its universities, government funding as well as other resources for innovation, and an immigration policy friendly to tech talent. 

These are simple reasons that Toronto is a place for startups and why many wonder if Toronto is the next Silicon Valley. 

Tech Workers Are Welcomed 

Canadian talent aside, Toronto is custom to attracting skilled workers from around the world. With more than 51% of the city's foreign-born population, it is home to one of North America's most diverse people. 

The Canada business visa makes it easier for entrepreneurs to immigrate. Canada is quickly becoming the more obvious choice for migrants looking to build business in North America. 

Alternatively, you may search for the job in some technology company in Canada. If a company wants to hire someone skilled in technology, the immigration process is smooth and easy, or at least as comfortable as those processes could be. If you decide to make an offer, you can get someone in place in your office potentially within a month, which is incredibly fast. 

Toronto is home to a vibrant ecosystem with more than 4,000 startups. In the past year or so, the media has written about how Toronto and other parts of Canada attract impressive tech jobs and investment flow. 

Other factors contributing to Toronto's growth as a tech hub include the availability of university talent, including at the University of Waterloo School of Engineering and Ontario. 

The Canadian government provides funding for basic research and the education system, especially applying for graduate degrees in mechanical engineering. 

U.S. multinational companies attract talent by establishing local offices in Canada or, to a lesser extent, acquiring Canadian startups. 

Public Policy And Partnerships 

Toronto has also been very fortunate, or foresighted, in that it has proven to be a hotbed of technology that is currently in high demand. 

Much of today's tech excitement has to do with AI-focused on machine learning. Many of these technologies have been developed in Canada in general and in Toronto in particular. 

The Canadian government supports developing such technologies with numerous programs, R&D, innovation, and project commercialization programs. 

One prominent program is the Strategic Innovation Fund, which aims to support business investment in transfer, commercialization, and technology development. 

Partnerships between business and academia have blossomed as part of this ecosystem. One notable venture is the so-called Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto, which helps science startups expand. CDL has five academic partners but welcomes startups from any university, including those in the U.S. and Europe. 

Support And Funding Opportunities 

Toronto's startup scene is booming. For entrepreneurs looking at starting a new business in Toronto, more than 60 business incubators and accelerators support sectors ranging from food processing and retail to digital media and healthcare. 

Business support programs are usually offered across the country and target specific industries, demographics, or impressive economic goals. 

Canada is home to Shopify, Hootsuite, Wattpad, Kik, 500px, Element AI, and Cloudflare, to name a few of the small unicorns and huge startup successes from the Great White North. 

Funding and celebrity aside, it's easy to see why Toronto is such a great place for startups like the MaRS Discovery District, the world's largest urban startup and innovation hub, occupying 1.5 million square feet in downtown Toronto. 

The Big Race To AI Superiority 

Canada has become a formidable force in the international race for Artificial Intelligence. The country attracts highly skilled professionals worldwide, holds international conferences for technology startups, and invests enormous AI research sums. 

In 2017, Canada initiated a national five-year strategic plan called the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. It allocated $125 million in federal funding to invest in AI talent and research. 

As it is known, Toronto is the economic and research hub of the country and has made significant strides in innovation in artificial intelligence and biotechnology. 

The search engine Google has also invested $5 million in the city in the Vector Institute in Toronto and announced an AI lab opening. Uber also announced plans to invest more than $20 million in the city over five years. 

Other companies that have tapped the city's potential with a huge investment include NVIDIA, which also announced its intention to open an AI research lab to explore new approaches to deep learning. 

Etsy, an American e-commerce site specializing in handmade goods, also chose Toronto as the site for its newest Machine Learning Centre of Excellence. Toronto has also been in the headlines for several tech advancements in the recent past. 

Reports also suggest that the city was one of the top contenders for Amazon's new headquarters. All of these achievements show that the city is positioning itself as a global technology center of excellence. 

To Sum Up 

It may seem that all the necessary ingredients to have a successful supercluster, including talent, education, ability to grow, cost efficiency, and the growing influence that Toronto has on the international stage as a leading business hub. 

So now you should know why Toronto is booming. Canada is ready for the next wave of innovation, and its tech ecosystem is prepared for the challenges and opportunities that will arise. 

Canada and Toronto have long had their eye on the ball and play a stable and strategic game. Therefore CA could be the next Silicon Valley for top new startups.

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