Cambridge Wireless signs MOU with Ottawa

The Nortel debacle doesn’t mean that Ottawa is reeling, according to Mike Darch, executive director of the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI).

The Centre will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today with Cambridge Wireless with the aim of increasing the flow of business between Canadian companies and Cambridge companies.

Darch told TechEye: “We have a strong set of the major players who have R&D centres in Ottawa. We have companies like Bridgewater providing the software to carriers,  RIM’s Blackberry R&D is in Ottawa.” He said that Canada has a releaxed immigration policy and the government makes it simple for talented individuals to enter the country.

He said: “We know that Cambridge has a significant tech cluster and we’ve been dealing with individuals [and companies] from Cambridge Wireless.”

He said that the talent pool in Ottawa is considerable, with four of the largest five players having significant R&D presence there – Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson and Huawei.

He said: “Within the tech world there’s been a lot of discussion about Nortel. Everyone hears the bad stories and no-one hears the good stories.”  Ericsson, for example, has taken over the wireless element of Nortel’s business. The bulk of the assets have essentially passed onto other owners.”

He said that Canada has one of the most lucrative tax credit systems in the world. From the point of view of R&D there’s a significant number of incentives. The single largest incentive, he said, is Ottawa’s strong talent base.

In addition to the multinationals, Ottawa has its own “wireless stars” – DragonWave and Bridgewater Systems.  Other players in the city include Rogers Communications and SiGE Semi. It has two nationally funded labs – Communications Research Centre and the National Research Centre.