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May The “Force” Be With You, Canada

- October 17, 2012 9:00 am

Innovation is like a magnetic force that draws to it the power of business investment and opportunity.

That thought that came to mind for me a number of weeks ago during a visit made by representatives of Cisco Canada leadership to Cisco’s research and development centre in Kanata, Ont. Along with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and, via live video TelePresence, Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation, and Bob Chiarelli, MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean, all were on hand to celebrate the great work being done by Cisco’s Canadian R&D team.

Things are growing by leaps and bounds for Cisco in Kanata. Great jobs like those that exist at this location for researchers with engineering, science and mathematics backgrounds I believe will help ensure Canada’s best and brightest talent continues to have opportunity and a great reason to remain in this country. And, what a great example of the power of partnership between business and government!

Successfully selling Canada as a destination for innovative things to happen is drawing investment from Cisco. Last year we announced a joint partnership with the Government of Ontario that sees the province kicking in $25 million on top of $455 million from Cisco. The joint investment will bring 300 new and additional R&D jobs to Ontario, many of whom will be graduate students from this province. But I think it’s only the beginning and there’s definitely the potential for a whole lot more.

If Canadian business and political leaders can continue to “sell” Canada and all provinces, including Ontario, as hotbeds for innovation to occur then great companies like Cisco and many others will be apt to look no further when it comes to making sound business investments for the future. Canada offers so much – great universities, amazingly skilled workers, tremendous economic and rich cultural diversity, and a country that is among the best and safest places in the world to live.

The force of Canada as a hub of innovation is spreading farther and wider.  Last week, I was remotely on hand to give a few remarks during the opening of a world-class event called the Meeting of the Minds happening in San Francisco. Meeting of the Minds brings together thought leaders from the world’s most innovative organizations to spotlight fresh ideas in urban connectivity and sustainability.

I announced to the assembly that next year’s Meeting of the Minds will happen in Toronto – the first time ever that it will take place outside of the United States. I think it says a great deal about Canada’s innovation and what’s happening in the nation’s largest city that such a prestigious event would be take place here. Re-development of Toronto’s waterfront and the coming of the 2015 Pan Am Games will revitalize core parts of Toronto and will showcase the work of innovative planners and urban developers. The world is no doubt watching.

It’s a beginning and the force of innovation is creating great things for Canada.  It must continue because Canada’s future success in remaining among the world’s leading nations depends on it. Cisco will continue to do our part as a company that works closely with business and government leadership to drive innovation and improve Canada’s great status in the world.

The force of innovation is with us and will continue to grow to assure Canada’s bright future.

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