Ottawa is one of Canada’s foremost technology clusters and the home of such leading companies as Mitel, Corel, Cognos, and others. The Ottawa cluster appears to be unique in at least two important respects. First, it evolved in the absence of any local supplier of institutional venture capital for significant periods of time. Second, during the early development of the cluster in Ottawa, the firms did not, by and large, compete with each other in the product market — but did compete in the labor market. Recent years have witnessed considerable research on the development, evolution and contribution of technology clusters.
In particular, the work examines: (a) the networks and linkages that defined the cluster in the late 1990s and early in 2000 prior to the technology downturn; (b) the role of business angels in supporting the development of the cluster; and (c) the impact of the recent downturn on the economic environment for technology firms in the Ottawa cluster.
Thus, it is hoped that one of the contributions that this chapter (and book) will make is to expand the geographical range of analyses of technology clusters. Much of the research on regional technology clusters has been undertaken in the United States, focusing on Silicon Valley. By providing a contemporary account of a Canadian technology cluster, the work enables comparison with similar regions in the USA and Europe and highlights aspects that may be unique. From a policy perspective, the results may be of interest to policy makers and agencies concerned with the development of regional and national innovation policies.