A partner in helping Waterloo Region businesses grow2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Around the Region showcases the work of community partners. For May 2022, learn how Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation (Waterloo EDC) supports a thriving economy.
Written by: Eamon O’Flynn, Waterloo EDC
Waterloo EDC is primarily known as the champion of foreign businesses looking to expand to our community. It’s a major part of our mandate and we’re good at it – in 2021, we attracted about $144 million in new investment from international investors. We’ve helped land investments from Toyota, MasterClass, EPAM Systems, Beckhoff Automation and many more.
These investments are good for the companies arriving here – they get access to one of the most exciting ecosystems in Canada. They’re also good for Waterloo Region. They create new jobs, partner with local companies, support community initiatives and they add to our international reputation. Each new international investment makes the next one easier, because our repute, culture and value proposition can reach that much farther.
But, we would never be able to attract foreign companies if our local companies weren’t succeeding first.
It’s a misconception that our focus is on foreign direct investment. It’s the hardest and often gets the most attention because getting the attention of companies that don’t know much about Waterloo Region can be difficult. However, in 2021, in partnership with our local municipal economic development partners – including the Region of Waterloo – we also helped local companies invest more than $218 million in new expansions.
How do we help? It really depends on the business. If you’re a company struggling to attract tech talent, we can help you access immigration programs that might strengthen your talent pipeline. Is regulation or red tape making it harder for your business to grow? We can help advocate for policy change. If you’re a manufacturer, you know that expansion requires capital expenditures and that can be very expensive – we can help your company leverage investment expenditures with direct support from federal and provincial programs, including identifying and accessing government grants and loans, and we can help you find tax credits that might help, too. We’ll write letters of support for you, too, where appropriate. Last, but not least, you won’t find anyone more plugged in to local real estate – industrial land and commercial space – and we can work with local agents to identify options for your expansion.
Outside of directly helping businesses, Waterloo EDC plays a key role in ensuring the future is fertile ground for new expansions. Working with the Region of Waterloo, we’ve championed the Region of Waterloo International Airport expansion, the servicing of new industrial lands and better rail connections to Toronto. Building the ideal community for sustainable economic growth requires a large collection of partners – municipalities, universities, colleges and businesses – to solve the biggest problems we face.
Waterloo EDC aims to be an excellent partner.