Knowledge and innovation excellence: Guelph Ontario

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Guelph is well positioned as a leader in advanced manufacturing, agri-innovation, environmental technology, and information and communications technology.

Ideally located in southern Ontario along Canada’s Innovation Corridor, Guelph offers unparalleled access to talent, customers, and transportation infrastructure, a community supporting innovation, a business-friendly local government, and an enviable affordability and quality of life. Guelph is the place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and established innovators find everything they need to flourish and expand.

Some of the most successful and forward-thinking advanced manufacturers in Canada, and the world call, Guelph home. These include Linamar Corporation, Hammond Manufacturing, Würth Canada and Denso, among others.

The city also has the largest concentration of agri-innovation research and technology expertise and infrastructure in Canada, one of the fastest- growing information and communications technology sectors in the country, and a robust and cutting-edge environmental technology cluster.

“With a strong economy supporting its agri-food, manufacturing, and environmental sectors, Guelph has staked its claim along the Innovation Corridor,” said Tyson McMann, a business development analyst with the Business Development and Enterprise Services department at the City of Guelph.

Guelph was the second-fastest growing mid-sized city in Canada, in 2018, according to the Conference Board of Canada. It was also the fourth-best place to buy real estate and the third-best millennial hotspot in 2018. As well as the Top 6 place for newcomers and the among the Top 10 in the Americas for foreign direct investment in 2017.

“The quality of talent coming out of our post-secondary institutions, as well as those that choose to call Guelph home, drives the world-class expertise and idea generation coming from our community.”

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING
More than 500 companies and entrepreneurs collectively employ more than 16,000 people in Guelph’s largest employment sector. Advanced manufacturing jobs have grown 9.5 per cent since 2011 and the sector contributes more than $2.5 billion in GDP and $4.5 billion in exports.

Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the Canadian government’s ambitious investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, is chaired by Guelph’s own Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar, a global powertrain company founded and headquartered in Guelph.

“If there is one company that embodies the kind of innovation happening in Guelph, it is Linamar,” said McMann. “Whether it be medical devices, agriculture equipment, clean tech, or transmissions, Linamar continues to seek the next innovation in advanced manufacturing.”

Local companies appreciate the probusiness reception they get from Guelph City Hall.

“The decision to relocate to Guelph has proven to be a very good one. The economic development team has been supportive, responsive and easy to work with,” said Walter Hancharyk, logistics manager at Würth Canada.

AGRI-INNOVATION
The Agri-innovation sector in Guelph includes close to 1,500 employers and entrepreneurs, employs 7,000 people and has experienced 17 per cent employment growth since 2011.

It’s all anchored by the University of Guelph, also known as Canada’s food university, which is internationally recognized as the centre of excellence in agriculture, bio-science, nutritional science and food science. There are more than 40 agricultural-focused research institutes and more than 30 agri-innovation industry associations in the city, too.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada are all headquartered in Guelph.

“Collaboration with the City of Guelph has resulted in the expansion of our business and facilities providing tremendous value to Canadian food and beverage companies while allowing NSF to launch a diverse portfolio of global services,” said Petra Schennach, global managing director, training and education at NSF Canada.

“There is not a better Canadian location for our business than Guelph, Ontario.”

ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES
Guelph is also a leader in environmental technologies (cleantech), with 500 employers and entrepreneurs in soil remediation, water and wastewater management, chemical and brownfield remediation, renewable energy and environmental engineering.

The sector employs 3,100 and has experienced more than 7.3 per cent employment growth since 2011.

Guelph is home to Alectra’s new Green Energy & Technology (GRE&T) Centre, that will drive green technology innovations and solutions. The GRE&T Centre will catalyze the commercialization and mass consumer adoption of green technology.

Derek Webb, president and CEO of BIOREM, says his company operates in 23 countries and has worked with many more jurisdictions and local economic development teams.

“Working with the Guelph team has been by far the most productive and efficient use of our time. They’ve worked closely with us to truly understand our needs and to best position us locally, provincially and federally to achieve our strategic vision. I highly recommend Guelph if you are considering a cleantech expansion.”

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
The information and communications technology (ICT) sector is among the fastest growing in Guelph, experiencing 35.7 per cent employment growth since 2011, which outperformed the traditional tech centres of Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo.

That success is driven by the city’s place on Canada’s Innovation Corridor, which provides access to key customers, talent, investors, research and development, incubators and academic institutions.

The Guelph region is home to the highest concentration of embedded developers, data scientists and machine learning specialists in Canada.