VTRAC’s TOP 8 Tech Cities? The First Pick is TORONTO.
From corporate propositions to international conferences, Toronto’s tech scene has certainly made its presence known over the past year. The increased attention is certainly exciting both for the economic and social future of the city, but it’s important not to forget how we got here.
Many of today’s large tech hubs such as New York and Silicon Valley gained major recognition in the tech sector after major companies like Amazon and Google settled in. Investing in real estate over talent, huge financial backings allowed these companies to monopolize the niche IT talent pools, both company and location-wise. As the talent in Toronto started to show, companies started to show interest here too, but when bids from Amazon were declined, and SideWalk Labs’ coming to a standstill, the city didn’t give in. And, when companies didn’t invest in Toronto, Toronto invested in them.
Opportunity for one can create opportunity for many. By investing in Toronto tech companies, 82,100 tech jobs were created between 2012 and 2017 and the city’s talent pool increased 50%, reaching 240,000!
So what’s gotten us here?
According to Toby Lennox, CEO of Toronto Global accredits diversity as one of the main contributors to the cities of success stating “Where talent goes, investment will follow.” With 51% of Toronto’s current (July 2019) population having been born outside of Canada, the numbers are speaking for themselves.
Government support has also been instrumental to the growth of the industry. Support from all levels of government has been committed to building talent pools, cost-saving initiatives and educational and innovation sponsorship.
Not just Government agencies are offering support, but Torontonians are supporting each other as well. Instead of safe-guarding information and techniques, the city offers a collaborative environment where companies focus on sharing and optimizing rather than competing.
Governments aren’t just investing in companies either. The real investment is in its people. Immigration strategies welcome talent from major tech centres such as Hong Kong and India. Investment in education is major too. With over 400,000 students we’re investing today in the minds and innovation of tomorrow to build a long-lasting sustainable foundation to grow on.
While Talent is clearly the focus, when it comes to business, one simply cannot ignore cost. Just one more reason for Toronto to shine. Partly due to the differences in currency values, Toronto simply is cheaper than its US counterparts. A recent study the CBRE disclosed that a 500-employee firm using a 75,000 square-foot space in Toronto would face operating costs of $30,224,259 annually, cheaper than all of the North American cities included in the survey.
Now in true Torontonian Collaborative fashion, we’ve started the list, but we’ve definitely left out some big ones. Now it’s your turn to get involved. What do you think has contributed to Toronto’s success in tech? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to vote for your favorites. The person with the most likes by the end of the week will win a super special VTRAC prize pack?
Jared Lindzon. “Toronto Doesn’t Want to Be Silicon Valley. It’s Building Something Better.” Fast Company, 3 June 2019, www.fastcompany.com/90357624/toronto-doesnt-want-to-be-silicon-valley-its-building-something-better.
“5 Reasons Why Toronto’s Tech Industry Continues To Soar.” Brain Station Blog, 21 Nov. 2018, blog.brainstation.io/5-reasons-why-torontos-tech-industry-continues-to-soar/.