By Nathan Rudyk
As the Ottawa Citizen announced today in an editorial entitled Life after OCRI,"The timing is right for Ottawa’s new entrepreneurial push."
Yesterday, with Invest Ottawa's with co-Chairs Jeff Westeinde and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson beaming in front of hundreds of well-wishers, the economic development agency's CEO Bruce Lazenby took the big-screen wraps off of the new logo created by market2world.
The new Invest Ottawa logo highlights the one economic advantage not shared by any other city in Canada – that Ottawa is the nation's capital. This exclusive value proposition is a global marketing asset, and Invest Ottawa's now taking advantage of that asset. The logo incorporates an internationally known Ottawa landmark, the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill, while rising bar graphs indicating a cityscape in colour-of-money green project growth and a positive future.
The market2world team also led a launch-related PR effort that has so far resulted in 36 55 positive articles, broadcasts, podcasts, and blog posts, and 100-plus tweets and other social networking posts as we built buzz before, during and after the Invest Ottawa launch event. If you weren't fortunate enough to attend this high-energy celebration, have a look at the launch-day video we produced and meet some of Ottawa's best and brightest entrepreneurs:
We are extraordinarily proud of the logo and our PR results, and thankful to the hard-working Invest Ottawa team who guided us, including Andrew Jackson (also of Knowmads Inc.), Jeff Elyea, Alex Pugh, Terry D'Angelo, Kathy Mahoney and Margot Sunter – and this is a partial list. We also had solid and timely input from the City of Ottawa's collegial and collaborative team including Saad Bashir, Robin Ludlow, Stephanie lafelice, Don Lonie, and Robert Manion.
market2world's Invest Ottawa launch team included Jill McCubbin (PR outreach), Paul Brent and Hasi Eldib (video storytelling and production), Jessica Rousseau (logo design) and Jo Danaher (who keeps us and our suppliers paid).
As Mayor Watson emphasized in his speech at yesteday's jam-packed event, this launch represented more than a rebranding exercise for the proud 27-year tradition that was the Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation, or OCRI. One of the people listening intently to Watson was Dr. Michael Caughey, a good friend, who told me the change to Ottawa's leading economic development agency was welcome and bodes well for the city's future.
That fundamental change involves pointing Invest Ottawa at the eye of the prize, with no OCRI-like distractions from worthy but non-essential programs and projects. The prize is more jobs and significant wealth creation by dint of hard work and imagination by the city's risk-takers. They not only have to be entrepreneurs (a tall order, and trust me I know – market2world is the third startup of my own creation and the fifth I've been part of), but must inspire, mentor and help fund the next generation of money-minded community builders.
Speaking of community builders, what I love about working with Bruce Lazenby is his consistently motivational challenge to "step up" and do something to help Ottawa's entrepreneurs succeed: Become an angel investor. Join a working group to help build one of our exciting new clusters like digital media, film and television, cleantech or life sciences. Encourage a company to apply for one of the coveted spots in the new Invest Ottawa Accelerator Program. Participate in the annual Ottawa Entrepreneur Week. Get involved in an outbound trade mission to China or Brazil. And last but not least, START A COMPANY.
As Shopify Inc.'s Chief Platform Officer Harley Finkelstein pointed out in his frank, humorous, heartfelt speech at yesterday's launch, and backed by ample research stats from the Kauffman Foundation, "startups aren't everything when it comes to job growth, they're the only thing."
Amen. Go entrepreneurs go! And all the best of success for the Invest Ottawa team. We need you to succeed.