Showcasing innovation across Waterloo Region 

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On June 2, 2022, Destination Canada Business Events announced that Waterloo Region will host the Innovate Canada Advanced Manufacturing conference in 2023, at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Waterloo . The annual conference is designed to attract international business events and investment to Canada. Each year, the conference focuses on a specific industry.  

Innovate Canada 2023 will be Waterloo Region’s opportunity to showcase our leadership as a global centre of excellence in advanced manufacturing. Winning the opportunity to host the conference in Waterloo Region was a team effort with support from Explore Waterloo Region, Waterloo Economic Development Corporation, and the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.  

Students in a robotics lab at the University of Waterloo. They are looking at small computer components.
Photo: University of Waterloo

Tourism is Economic Development

Bringing events like Innovate Canada to Waterloo Region does more than bring new business to local hotels, bars, and restaurants—it can also lead to long-term investment in the region. Jennifer Eddings, Director of Business Development at Explore Waterloo Region, said that all three organizations work together to present Waterloo Region as the place for businesses to move to or for office expansions. 

“We get to show international business leaders everything we have here. There’s huge potential for economic impact,” Eddings said.  

When the proposal for Innovate Canada landed in Eddings inbox, she said she knew Waterloo Region would be the perfect host location for the 2023 edition of the conference.  

A small robot in a manufacturing plant.
Photo: Clearpath Robotics

“When I saw the theme of advanced manufacturing, my first call was to the team at Waterloo Economic Development Corporation. Our friends there are the experts when it comes to knowing what’s happening in every industry, from tech to advanced manufacturing and everything in between,” Eddings said. 

The Explore Waterloo Region team supports businesses and organizations with any support needed to bring events and conferences to the region, from helping with venue selection and coordinating hotel room blocks to transportation options and guest speaker recommendations.  

While Waterloo Region is home to advanced manufacturing leaders, including Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, Clearpath Robotics, and ATS Automation, Eddings said other cities across Canada were also putting their best foot forward to attract Innovate Canada. Eddings leveraged the leadership of Waterloo Region Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce to create a proposal that combined our deep advanced manufacturing base with Waterloo Region’s internationally known sense of community and collaboration. 

Leveraging Waterloo Region’s Spirit of Innovation and Collaboration

“Innovate Canada is a by-invitation event, and Destination Canada Business Events was looking for something that would make this a must-attend event for business leaders. Thanks to Waterloo Economic Development Corporation and our local Chamber of Commerce, we were able to offer multiple options for tours under the advanced manufacturing umbrella. We presented how we could customize tours to their attendees, whether they’re in robotics, automotive, aeronautics, or any of the multiple manufacturing industries in Waterloo Region,” Eddings said. 

Ian Maclean, President, and CEO at the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, said he was excited to work with Explore Waterloo Region and Waterloo Region Economic Development to bring Innovate Canada to Waterloo Region. 

“Tourism is economic development, and it makes good sense for our organizations to work together to showcase the many reasons to visit, work, live and invest in Waterloo Region,” Mclean said in a statement. 

Another hometown advantage that helped with the proposal was the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Manufacturing Summit. The Chamber of Commerce agreed to move the summit to the Innovate Canada dates to provide an only-in-Waterloo Region advantage for the proposal. 

“Our CEO Michele Saran called Ian and told him about the opportunity. He stepped up and said that they could be flexible with the dates. We’re offering attendees an event within an event, which shows the collaborative nature of the community,” Eddings said. 

Employees putting together components in a lab at Teledyne Dalsa
Photo: Teledyne Dalsa

Creating Winning Event Bids

The team at Explore Waterloo Region is excited to showcase the region and the strong partnerships between local organizations like Waterloo Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce. Eddings added that these partnerships and others are crucial to helping create winning proposals.  

“It would be great if we could know everything about everything happening in town, but that’s just not possible. Working with our partners gives us the resources we need to make our proposals stand out from the crowd,” Eddings said.  

Virginie De Visscher, Senior Director of Business Development, Economic Sectors, Destination Canada Business Events, said that the proposal from Explore Waterloo Region also aligned with their commitment to sustainability. 

“In selecting Explore Waterloo Region as the host for Innovate Canada 2023, they not only demonstrated a clear depth, breadth, and global competitive advantage across Advanced Manufacturing, but an alignment with Destination Canada’s regenerative approach to tourism. For the first time, Innovate Canada will be a carbon neutral event and we could not be more proud to be working with Explore Waterloo Region on this milestone,” De Visscher said in a release. 

Find out More about Meetings in Waterloo Region

headshot of Jennifer Eddings, Director of Sales at Explore Waterloo Region
Director of Sales

519.585.7517 ext. 210 
[email protected] 

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