One Billion Dollars!


Kudos to Microsoft for investing in Canada and affordable housing in Seattle. These two, albeit, separate news items and decisions are more significant when looked at together.

In this journal update I dig in a bit on these announcements and ask us to think through two lenses. The first is whether we think gentrification is an issue in Canada and yup in Halton region. I would say not yet but affordable housing is an issue.

Second, the investments being made by foreign companies are, for the most part, a positive sign about the attractiveness of the Canadian technology scene.

But, we cannot take our eye off the made in Canada ball. Canada must become a leader in creating and growing technology companies and creating world class entrepreneurs.

Will Other Tech Companies Follow in Microsoft’s footsteps?

In my October Journal post I talked about the importance of affordable housing in Toronto. I’ve had conversations with younger engineers in the tech sector in Halton region and the topic of affordable housing has been brought up.

The challenge facing young tech professionals is the cost of houses in Halton region. It’s difficult for them to settle here and start families. Imagine what it’s like for low income families and the 1 in 8 youth who live below the poverty line in Oakville?

The fall out of technology industry success has been gentrification. Lower income neighbourhoods are being taken over by startups and people are being driven away as a result. A fully functioning society has to accommodate diversity.

People of all ages, all incomes, all religions, all cultures and all sexual orientations must have the chance to live and work in their towns and cities. It was encouraged to see that Microsoft has pledged $500M to help address affordable housing in Seattle. Will other tech companies follow suit?

Big Investment in Toronto by Tech Companies

You’ve probably heard about the $570M investment Microsoft is making in Canada. It’s great to see this type of investment in Canada. It’s not surprising given the talented technology professionals coming out of school and already working in technology.

There are other mitigating factors for this investment including Canada’s supercluster program, our academic leadership in AI and immigration policies.

My bet is that AI will be a key focus area for Microsoft in Canada especially since they lead in AI patents. AI patents are the fasted growing IP category.

But, as I’ve cautioned before Canada must focus on creating and building made in Canada technology companies. See: Important Advice for Canadian Startups and Ecosystems | Focus on Canadian Entrepreneurs and Local Ecosystems

Twings That Got My Attention

I love creating sqwords (where two words are combined to create a new one, also known as a neologism. A Twing means things on Twitter that got my attention. 

Here’s something we should all read and maybe comment on in our LinkedIn group.

Silicon Halton cofounder Reema Duggal was recently interviewed by Silicon Halton member Philip Bliss on the Canada Podcast Network. Here’s a good opportunity to learn more about Reema’s experience and expertise and her ventures: Sitaran Group and Configrr. Phil asks some interesting questions about Reema’s transition from working a Fortune 1000 company to becoming an entrepreneur. A must listen interview!

AMS Halton Event

Last Friday, I attended the AMS Halton TechConnect Event. It was great to see Silicon Halton members there (there were ten). Thanks to the Milton Chamber of Commerce. I was live tweeting at the event.

Silicon Halton was a promotions sponsor of the event which was designed to bring Halton area manufacturers and technology entrepreneurs and professionals together to learn more about the supercluster program and NGen Canada.

What for a summary post that will be featured on the MTechHub site. Learn more about the supercluster and NGen Canada. If you have any questions you can contact me.

Now It’s Your Turn!

These journal posts are done monthly and I report on the things I’ve been up to and caught my interest. If you’ve got something going on that you’d like me to participate let me know. Any key announcements you’d like for me share I can do so here as well, subject to space and time availability. Those members and their businesses that are giving first to the community take precedent along with strategic priorities and partner sponsors. Contact me on LInkedIn or @ me on Twitter when you have something you’d like me to share.

What’s Next in Our Community?

Lot’s of stuff happening in our community and there are many places to refer to regularly. Places to check out are: our newsletter, events page and blog posts. And, remember to check out what our TU20 team is up to as well.  

Some key activities I’d like to high lite are below.

Jan 31: Diverse IT – Peer 2 Peer Launch

Feb 1: Getting IoT Devices To Global Markets: Real World Examples – Part 2

Feb 1: Silicon Halton day at Mevic

Feb 12: Meetup #111 – Agile 18 Years Later | What’s Changed?

Feb 15: Silicon Halton Day at ACE Coworking featuring OpenOffice hours with Chris Herbert.

Feb 25: Penny Pinching in the Cloud with Serverless

Feb 25: Women in Tech Peer2Peer. Selling for small business


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