By Paul Brent

For 28 years the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), this country’s largest technology association, gathers in Ottawa for the annual Innovation Awards dinner. The event is on tonight, May 29 at uOttawa. For the 12th year in a row I am honoured that CATA CEO, John Reid has invited me to be the Master of Ceremonies.

Each year this event serves as a great opportunity to learn about some of the really creative companies and individuals in Canada. In recent years CATA has made an effort to find and recognize the often unsung heroes of the Information and Communications Technology industry and cast a spotlight on their innovations. They also have compelling guest speakers and this year it is Peter Aceto President and CEO of ING Direct Canada a social media innovator, Brenda Halloran Mayor of Waterloo, one of Canada's hotbeds of new companies, and Victoria Lennox, co-founder of Startup Canada and a champion of entrepreneurs.

At market2world communications inc. we provide PR and marketing for global innovators. We see entrepreneurs hard at work with great ideas.  

Canada’s tech sector is adding jobs, the industry is worth more than $155 billion, it was the leading sector of the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2012 and valuations are up 20 percent so far in 2013. Halogen Software Inc. of Ottawa recently launched a rare IPO on the TSX.

At the awards dinner one can look beyond all the numbers and see Canadian innovators such as DataWind Inc., Youi Labs Inc., Shopify Inc., Freshbooks Inc., In Motion Technology Inc., Habanero Consulting Group Inc. and VidYard Inc.

They are just some of the companies in the running for this year’s awards. Certainly Ottawa deserves a shout-out as each year this region comes up with more than its fair share of innovators and award winners. Good luck to all the nominees and congratulations to all the past winners.  

12 years ago I was fortunate enough to be selected by CATA as the Science and Technology Reporter of the Year. Since moving into public relations at market2world I relish the opportunity to return to the CATA Innovation Awards for a jolt of optimism from all the entrepreneurs and a fresh glimpse of what Canadian innovation is all about.

(Paul Brent is Senior Communications Strategist with market2world communications inc. the public relations and product marketing agency for global innovators.)