If you think Kitchener seems busier these days, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. According to the last Canadian census, the KW region is growing faster than both the national and provincial average, with more than 100,000 people projected to move here by 2041.
Kitchener City Hall. Credit: City of Kitchener
There’s an energy here that you will find NOWHERE else. You can’t put a price on that. So, if you are looking for a place to start your business, Kitchener might be a fantastic idea. Here are some of the best reasons why Kitchener is an ideal work location:
1. “Silicon Valley of the North”
With the concentration of entrepreneurs based, or even looking to base their business out of Waterloo region, it’s likely that jobs are going to continue to be created as long as the demand is there. For tech talent; the city of Kitchener’s strategic location in the heart of the Waterloo Region provides an environment that promotes the survival and growth of ICT startups at almost double the global industry average.
One of the best reasons why moving to Kitchener is a great idea is its low unemployment rate. At the end of 2017, the Waterloo Region’s unemployment rate hit its lowest mark in 13 years. Currently, the Region of Waterloo faces a more favourable unemployment rate than the bustling Toronto area. The Region of Waterloo can boast of an unemployment rate of 4.9% as compared to Toronto’s 6.6%. *Accurate at time of original posting.
The advantages of networking and social cohesion are plenty when you have value to contribute to the network. A location like Kitchener does exactly that. It is helping new professionals find valuable opportunities by becoming more exposed to other businesses, as you become a recognized member of the network of entrepreneurs. Various professionals concentrated in a small area is calling for more business together.
From the rise and shine of “Communitech”, to the glory days of Blackberry and more recently, the development of Google’s engineering base of operations; the region can be highlighted as a power zone for business development.
Communitech moved into buildings that used to house the Lang Tanning Co. in 2010. – Toronto Star file photo
3. Diversely Vibrant Community
The development of the city might have been sparked by a number of things: a booming tech sector, the arrival of light rail, a strong economy, but one of the most probable causes would be that the city of Kitchener is one of the most diverse areas in Ontario. Nearly 25% of the region is made up of international residents (119,000 people). The city is ranked 5th in Canada when it comes to ethnic diversity.
Their findings identified that a one percent increase in ethnocultural diversity was associated with an average 2.4 percent increase in revenue and a 0.5 percent increase in workplace productivity.
A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has found that diversity increases the bottom line for companies. The study found that “increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.” It looked at 1700 different companies across 8 different countries, with varying industries and company sizes. They have found that increasing diversity has a direct effect on the bottom line. Companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation. This finding is huge for tech companies, start-ups, and industry where innovation is the key to growth.
4. Perfect Location
This could arguably be at the top of our list. The location of Kitchener and its proximity to nearly everything you could ever need is perfect.
The city is just 170 KM to the United States border, 108 KM to Toronto, and just a couple of hours (in nearly any direction) to reach beautiful lakes and beaches. Not to mention all of the things to do in and around Kitchener as well.
With average home prices skyrocketing across the big cities of Canada over the past 2 years, the Kitchener-Waterloo Region, is still affordable, which makes it a very attractive place for professionals to move to.
5. Talent Rich City
If you have a chat with anyone residing in the KW region, one of the first things they would call this area is a ‘college-town’. And a true college town is a place where the identity of the city is both shaped by and complementary to the presence of its university, creating an environment enjoyable to all residents, whether they are enrolled in classes or not. The college then,is not only a major employer, but also the reason for more plentiful shops, restaurants, and entertainment businesses. With big names like the University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, Wilfrid Laurier University, KW seems to have access to all some of the talent in this world.
And the results reflect the fact. Various reports say KW Region is the fastest-growing tech talent market in Canada, and the second-fastest in North America. At 65.6 per cent, that’s the highest growth rate among the 10 Canadian metropolitan areas analyzed in the report, and second only in North America to Charlotte, N.C., with a growth rate of 77.1 per cent. That explosive growth in the local tech sector — 5,600 of those new jobs were added in 2016 alone — helped to boost the region’s overall tech talent ranking to fifth place in Canada, up from eighth last year.
To conclude a geographic location that is home to; constantly increasing jobs, a community ideally situated, an ethnically welcoming environment, affordable housing, prestige stores and high-level education, top-end concerts and performances (Check out Neruda Arts’ annual Kultrún World Music Festival); Kitchener can be deemed as a gem of a city!