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techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

5 Reasons Why Toronto’s Tech Industry Continues To SoarThough it sometimes seems like it, Toronto didn’t become a worldwide tech hubovernight.In fact, it was a years-long process that led to Canada’s biggest city beingmentioned alongside tech markets like New York and Silicon Valley. Still,things have undoubtedly accelerated as more and more companies launch or shiftto the lakeside metropolis.“The Toronto Region has never seen momentum like it’s experiencing right now,”said Toby Lennox, CEO of Toronto Global. “In September alone, the city drewover $1.4 billion in investment from U.S. and Canadian companies, ranging fromglobal tech giants to local startups.”“There has been a build up for at least 20 years,” added Alexander Norman,executive director at Tech Toronto. “There have been many small changes overthe last decade, which has now made us an emerging hub.”So, what are the factors underpinning that supersonic growth? Let’s take acloser look at how Toronto got here.## The City Has a Deep Pool of Tech TalentToronto’s status as a destination for tech companies is first and foremostdown to its people.The city has been adding tech talent at a breakneck pace, with a recent reportfrom the CBRE Group concluding that Toronto added 82,100 tech jobs between2012 and 2017, the most of any North American city. Toronto’s tech talent poolgrew 50 percent to 240,000 workers over that five-year span.“Where talent goes, investment will follow,” Lennox said. “We grow, attract,and retain local and international talent like no other location on thecontinent.”The CBRE study found that Toronto offered the best value when it comes to costand quality of tech talent. Lennox points out that an important reason Torontotalent is so highly valued is due to its diversity.“Our growth has been built on immigration,” he said. “Forty-three percent ofthe Toronto region – and 51 percent of Toronto proper – were born outside ofCanada. We speak 170 languages and dialects and Toronto is heralded as themost multicultural city in the world. Our labor force and economy benefitdirectly from our diversity and inclusivity.”## Toronto is Well Positioned for AI and Blockchain GrowthIn the fast-moving world of tech, timing is everything; in that sense,Toronto’s companies were blessed by both foresight and fortune.“A lot of the early fundamental technology for AI and blockchain was built bylocal scientists, developers, and teams, which has given us credibility andattention,” Norman said.Along similar lines, Toronto could now be poised to become a hub forartificial intelligence.“The launch of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence has put aspotlight on the outstanding quality of globally recognized AI talent thatlives right here in the Toronto region,” Lennox said. “Major internationalcompanies are establishing R&D labs in the Toronto region to take advantage ofthis deep pool of knowledge to develop new commercial applications.”## Governments Have Been SupportiveToronto’s quick progress has been helped immensely by the efforts ofmunicipal, provincial, and national governments.“Our three levels of government are committed to offering businesses a costcompetitive atmosphere and unprecedented access to a highly skilled talentpool,” Lennox said. “Investments in hubs like the Vector Institute areexamples of strategic commitments to ensure the Toronto region’s success andprosperity are sustainable.”Norman points to favorable changes to tax laws for U.S. investors and a globalsearch for investment as two important factors. Further, he says that theaforementioned influx of immigrant talent has been made possible by goodgovernment policies.“While other countries are closing doors to international talent, we haveopened ours with the Start-Up Visa Program,” Norman said. “We also haveprograms, like the Creative Destruction Lab, that actively encourage non-Canadians to come to Toronto and learn about the ecosystem.”It’s not just governments that have been supportive. Different tech companiesalso seem open to working together.“The tech ecosystem is much more collaborative than ever before,” Norman said.“The general business environment is supportive of tech and more talent wantto work in tech.”## Toronto is Affordable (Relatively Speaking)Part of the reason Toronto is a reasonably affordable place to set up shop isthe aforementioned government assistance and tax incentive. But there’s moreto it than that.CBRE’s study revealed that a 500-employee firm using a 75,000 square-footspace in Toronto would face operating costs of $30,224,259 annually, cheaperthan all of the American cities included in the survey. By comparison, the BayArea was one of the most expensive places to operate, with annual estimatedcosts of $59,124,612.It’s also been a given in recent years that talent was cheaper in Canada –largely because of the difference in currencies – but there’s good news forToronto-based tech workers. Norman says Toronto salaries are “quickly risingto global standards.”## Toronto’s Tech Industry is Future ProofThere’s a lot of reason to believe Toronto can sustain its momentum.According to research by JLL’s Cities Research Center and its City MomentumIndex, Toronto ranked ninth on a list of global cities that “have the future-proofing capacity for longer-term success.”Norman points out that the ecosystem will become truly sustainable when thecity produces a few high-profile exits – or IPOs – that make investors andemployees alike very wealthy. But he sees promising developments.“There are signs, as companies are growing, able to raise large rounds withoutmoving, and generally more talent are choosing tech companies over traditionalfirms as the place of employment,” he said. “We also see foreign capitalexcited to fund our new companies either via AngelList at the early stages orvia large venture capital firms at later stages.”Toronto certainly seems to have the tech world’s attention now. It wasrecently announced that Collision, regarded as North America’s fastest-growingtech conference, will call Toronto home from 2019-21.“With over 100,000 people moving to the Toronto region every year, we have themomentum going forward to sustain our position as a leading and dynamic techhub in North America,” Lennox said.“We offer unlimited opportunity for all businesses, from startups toestablished firms, with our talent leading the way for continued growth.”

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