By Nathan Rudyk

On Sept. 30th, 2011, I blogged about a new leader in the National Capital Region:

He's the most important CEO in Ottawa right now because he's committed like no one I've met to tear down the little walls and moats that have been building up for several years now to delay what is ours for the taking: To be the best place in Canada to start and grow a knowledge-based business.

That CEO was Bruce Lazenby, hired on to transform the Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation (OCRI) from its staid focus on large ICT companies to a sector-broadened, entrepreneur-focused organization that we rebranded as Invest Ottawa in Feb. of 2012 (Check out market2world's launch video below that shows a business community eager and ready to embrace change): 

Last week the Ottawa Business Journal, a media outlet that wasn't shy about taking OCRI to task for being out of touch, published an article entitled "Invest Ottawa: One year in" by Courtney Symons. Her story noted that whereas 0 startups resided at OCRI, "40 startups reside at the Invest Ottawa offices – 26 early-stage companies with the remainder being students within the Ottawa Young Entrepreneurs program run by Carleton University – and more than 200 firms have accepted services from the agency."

The article also quotes March Networks’ president and CEO Peter Strom, who said: “Their time and resources are better spent trying to help the smaller companies.”

And the numbers in the sidebar to the OBJ's story on Invest Ottawa's progress say it all. Thanks Bruce, to you and your revitalized team. Keep going!

324: Number of companies met with in 2012 (up 92 per cent over 2011)

191: Jobs created by companies to which Invest Ottawa has provided services

6,786: Number of mentoring hours by entrepreneurs-in-residence and advisers

227: Number of knowledge-based companies with which Invest Ottawa is working from its innovation department

220: Number of customized market research reports delivered to Ottawa startups

$5.5 million: Cost of those reports if the startups had acquired them on their own

$39.5 million: Investment dollars attracted by Invest Ottawa innovation clients

225: Number of workshops and seminars delivered to more than 4,800 entrepreneurs in 2012

(Nathan Rudyk is President and CEO with market2world communications inc., the public relations and product marketing agency for global innovators.)