During the 2015 Pan Am Games, the economic development departments of Hamilton and Niagara Region worked together on a detailed “Playbook” of programs and events designed to promote investment, trade and provide exposure to companies within this Region. The “Playbook” targeted firms from Latin American countries and the United States who have an interest to invest in this region in the following three sectors:

  • Agribusiness and Food Processing
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Digital Media and
  • Advanced Manufacturing with a focus on Power Generation and Clean Technology

The early results of these efforts include the following announcements:

1. The country of Colombia and the City of Hamilton and Region of Niagara announced a bilateral Information and Communications Technology partnership called “Bring IT On with Hamilton Niagara”. This partnership will start with both regions partnering with Colombia to help design, collaborate and promote an ICT programme that will see 70 Colombian ICT companies visit Hamilton and Niagara during the last week of October looking for investment, sourcing and partnership opportunities. The aim of this partnership is to develop structured programs whereby Hamilton/Niagara companies can connect with the Colombian market and Colombian companies can connect with the Hamilton/Niagara market. This can be in the form of direct investments, joint ventures, access to expertise through strategic partnerships or even development of joint start up programs. This is not a one-time event, as this partnership is being designed such that the initial developmental efforts will sustain and perpetuate ICT success within the two regions.

2. Project 1 of Brazil, Canada International Trade Services (CITS) of Hamilton, McMaster University, City of Hamilton and Region of Niagara along with Ron Foxcroft of Fox40 as a Special Advisor announced a commitment towards developing the Hamilton – Niagara corridor as a centre of excellence (CoE) for sports analytics. Project 1 of Brazil and CITS of Hamilton will invest in setting up the initial location. The location is to be finalized in Hamilton and in the Niagara region – where there is a sports activity hub. The market focus is not just professional teams, but amateurs and recreational sports activities, as well as fantasy sports leagues. This Centre of Excellence will take a holistic approach; one which would include focused development of the following verticals: o Knowledge Symposium o Incubation and Acceleration of Start ups for both software and hardware o Investor/funding Ecosystem o Attraction of existing companies to the region o Broadcasting o High Powered Computational Infrastructure o Research & Development in hardware and software including – wearables, sports medicine, machine based learning etc o Commercialization Engine (including marketing and profiling of region)

3. Soccerfit, a Brazilian sports analytics firm, provides specific training systems for soccer, with a focus on sensory-motor skills. During the Games they announced their intent to expand to Hamilton.

4. Nanolytix, an early stage, highly touted and funded start up from Waterloo has committed to spin off its sports vertical in Hamilton. They are the lowest cost, high quality sensor technology company in the world, and are excited to be part of a sports analytics specific ecosystem. Along with these early results, the Playbook has generated many new connections with this targeted international investment community. Work will continue on as we develop these new foreign direct investment opportunities and provide greater exposure of our local industry to these new foreign markets.

John Best has had a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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