As one of Canada’s premiere innovation hubs, Waterloo Region offers a wealth of expertise when it comes to corporate event programming.
by Doug Wallace, Ignite magazine | November 2023
With so many leading corporate headquarters in the key economic sectors of Tech, Fintech, Advanced Manufacturing and Agribusiness, there’s little wonder Waterloo Region is a premier innovation hub. This is great news for corporate event planners, because there’s a huge talent pool to draw from when it comes to inviting local business leaders, academics and entrepreneurs to deliver keynote speeches or lead conference workshops.
“Waterloo Region is unique in that we are world-renowned for both tech and manufacturing,” says Lucinda Wallace, Vice-President of Marketing and Corporate Development for Waterloo EDC. “Very few jurisdictions or geographies, globally, have both of these strengths.”
A Community of Entrepreneurs
Wallace says the area’s manufacturing history and the enormous amount of innovation over the past 20 years has made Waterloo a true tech hub. “We’re a community of entrepreneurs, we’re makers, we do stuff. One of the stats that we like to quote is that 18% of all founders in Canada came from the University of Waterloo. That alone speaks to our entrepreneurial spirit.”
Wallace says there are a number of ways that Waterloo EDC can help event planners tap into the local expertise, including connecting them to the accelerators and incubators within the community. “There are some really great organizations that support event planning, including The Accelerator Centre, Communitech and the Medical Innovation Xchange.” She also cites The University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College, along with the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce as excellent sources for gaining insight on what’s going on within academia or industry with regard to research and innovation. “There are a lot of really outstanding people to reach out to,” she says.
Jennifer Eddings, Director of Business Development for Explore Waterloo Region, agrees. “We have a lot of tech companies that are interested in hosting meetings here,” she says. “This is a major economic driver for us. We’ve recently started a local ambassador program that we call The Vanguard Collection — a combination of academic, sustainability and knowledge sector representatives — to help promote the range of expertise that we have here. Depending on the theme of a particular conference or special interest group, we can easily connect event organizers with the right guest speakers.” Eddings adds that tech tours or manufacturing tours for conference guests can easily be arranged. Wallace feels that the smaller size of the Waterloo Region is also a direct benefit to corporate event planners. “We’re a smaller community, but also very dense,” she says, noting that most of the area’s key assets in the business environment are within a 25-km radius. “Our culture is also unique, very different from what you’ll find in other communities.” Just another component in the mix, making the conference environment in Waterloo all the more appealing.
Personalize Your Group Experience
Contact Jennifer Eddings to learn more about hosting your planet-friendly business event in Waterloo Region.