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Tech firms big and small set up shop in the heart of Kanata North for one evening this fall during Startup Open House, an annual opportunity for members of the broader community to meet the city’s top tech firms.

More than 25 tech companies took part in the mid-November event in Kanata this year, either setting up booths in the lobby of 555 Legget Dr. or opening the doors of their offices elsewhere in the tech park.

Armed with pamphlets, merchandise and information on career opportunities, the main floor of the building quickly filled up with visitors walking from booth to booth, learning more about the various industries.

The Kanata North Business Association, in partnership with L-Spark and Invest Ottawa, helped organize the area’s participation in Startup Open House and arranged for shuttle buses to bring attendees from the city’s colleges and universities to Kanata North. The city’s post-secondary institutions are an important source of talent for the tech sector, said first-time attendee Andy Scott of telecommunications company Infinera.

“We are looking to (bring) some younger people into the company,” he said, adding that the event was the perfect place to try and recruit the talent the company is targeting.
The open house drew representatives from a range of sectors, reflecting the diverse nature of the Kanata North community.

Software company Wind River was hoping to recruit new developers and engineers to join its team – which currently stands at nearly 200 employees – to help with the design and construction of its operating systems technologies.

“It’s our first time at an event like this, so we’re hoping to meet a star,” said Vicki Carver, a senior recruitment specialist at Wind River. “Gatherings like this show just how supportive the Kanata North community is of its businesses.”

Alongside the strong sense of community, there was also an underlying buzz surrounding the sheer number of successful startups in the tech park. Seeing so many companies come out and say, “We can’t hire people fast enough,” speaks volumes to the success that can be built in Kanata North, says Meghan Jervis, an HR representative from Sanmina.

“It’s a competitive market out there, and recruiting can be hard. So we really need opportunities like this,” she said.

While Sanmina may not be a startup, she said the high-tech manufacturing company is still looking to grow its 450-person team to keep pace with growing demand.

Besides giving tech workers direct access to some of the city’s top companies, Startup Open House also connected businesses in the park to share their success stories and learn from one another, said Sergei Zadoyan, a business development specialist at Message Hopper, a text-to-landline software company that currently employs 10 staff at its base in L-Spark’s offices.

“This event really highlights the startups who are the heart of this community,” he added. “We all start from humble beginnings; you just never know how big you’ll get.”

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