View Full Version : Reasons for Hamilton High Tech

Jun 6, 2008, 8:01 PM
HamRetrofit suggested I start a new thread on why a high tech (or anyother company for that matter) should want to (re)locate into the Hamilton downtown core.

I think Hamilton should be actively working to encourage small high tech firms to relocate, and to start in Hamilton. Relocation would be a tougher sell, at least at first until an industry is established in Hamilton. Then it would be easier because things that are alike usually exist close together.

In Hamilton we have a large number of Mohawk and MAC students, and I'm sure some of them are already working on small high tech (software) businesses, a la Facebook, Google, etc. The City of Hamilton (and the institutions of MAC and Mohawk) should be fostering them and encouraging them to plant roots in Hamilton. Think about the impact to Waterloo, if RIM didn't have the U of Waterloo connection and there was little or no incentive for them to stay in Waterloo and they moved to another city......

Traditionally, people who work for these small firms are young and urban (I look around my office everyday). If you want to create a vibrant downtown, then attract them with jobs, and they'll attract other people as well as other companies, and they'll stay in the area for a long, long time.

Here are a few reasons I think software/high tech firms would want to locate in Hamilton. Please add more, perhaps we'll have a great list and someone from the city will pick-up on it.

1. Cheap rents (very important) and a major reason many of these firms started/located in the converted factories surrounding the Toronto. Any new start-up needs to conserve their cash. Many of these firms are now experiencing rent squeezes. I hear it from my President all the time, how much rents have moved up in the last few years and how hard it is to find space to expand (we've grown from 50 to 70 employees in the past 18 months). Heck, all the bloody parking lots in this neighbourhood are disappearing and turning into condo towers.

2. Access to a young, motivated labour force, i.e. MAC & Mohawk. For both co-op and full-time employees. I'm also sure (I've seen stories in The Spec) there are a few middle-aged people in software type retraining programs at Mohawk. Those are perfect employees to give any firm some maturity in the workplace. Salaries of these mature employees are often subsidized by different government programs, at least for a starting period.

3. Access to 3 airports for travel, Buffalo, Pearson and HIA all within a short drive. I flew direct to Edmonton last month, and returned direct from Calgary out of Hamilton. Bonus if you are doing business with oil industries, or any of oil’s supporting companies. Flying out of Buffalo gives you direct flights to many smaller eastern US cities that otherwise would mean a 2 flight connection when flying out of Pearson, another bonus. And you can fly direct from Pearson to pretty much any large city in N.A., a major bonus.

4. Big Fish. It's better to be a big fish in a small pond. In Hamilton, even as a small software firm you can make a big splash within the city, the community and students looking for jobs. This can include exposure in city publications, The Spec, in the higher learning institutions. All important exposure to a small tech firm. I’m guessing as a small tech firm, it’s tougher to get a profile of your company in the Toronto Star, than The Spec.

5. Quality of life. People starting their careers can afford to purchase homes close to where they live in Hamilton. There are some of our employees (me included) who are leaving downtown Toronto to purchase homes we can more easily afford. Besides me, in the last few months one went to Burlington, one went to Waterdown, and one is going to Milton next month. Living in a small apartment/condo downtown is great when you're 24, but when you get a little older, and get married you want to own your own home, start a family, have more space, etc.........

I think many small (or not so small) companies spawn other small companies. The guys from Youtube worked at another company with the guys from the venture capital firm that funded Youtube. These firms create a web of contacts and more business fostered.

There are people like me, working on ideas in our homes (I call that low tech, high tech) that one day might mean another small company. The next RIM, MS, Google, Facebook, etc. has to start somewhere why not Hamilton?

Jun 6, 2008, 8:03 PM
Good reasons. I'm in the technology field and although I go on-site to different cities with my current job, I wouldn't mind walking to work downtown for a change.

Jun 6, 2008, 8:32 PM
Here's another reason.

For local sales, Hamilton is strategically located close to many major highways, QEW, 403, 407 and Highway 6 which provides easy 401 connection. This means easy access to visiting local firms in London, Brantford, K-W, Cambridge, GTA - Toronto and the Niagara Region.

Jun 6, 2008, 8:33 PM
Interesting starting point for a discussion. However, isn't this thread a little misplaced among the downtown construction and land development threads? Maybe one of our moderators could move it a more suitable category, such as "Business, Politics and the Economy" category.

Jun 6, 2008, 8:51 PM
^Yeah, agreed or in General Discussion. Sorry, I just quickly threw it up between talking with my boss.

Mods move away.

Hammer Town
Jun 6, 2008, 10:16 PM
Don't forget one of the biggest ports on the Great lakes.

the dude
Jun 7, 2008, 1:40 AM
no doubt, mac and mohawk are the keys to this sort of thing happening here. that said, if this hockey thing works out, perhaps balsillie might consider sending a few RIM jobs our way. thanks, jimmy!

Jun 7, 2008, 2:52 AM
no doubt, mac and mohawk are the keys to this sort of thing happening here. that said, if this hockey thing works out, perhaps balsillie might consider sending a few RIM jobs our way. thanks, jimmy!

I'm always up for getting some RIM jobs. ;)

the dude
Jun 7, 2008, 5:49 AM
oh man, nice one! that was the sweetest set-up ever! assist - the dude.

Jun 7, 2008, 3:27 PM