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Canada is North America’s up-and-coming startup center

They say that nice guys finish last — and Canada, with its reputation for polite citizenry and its charming prime minister, is used to being overlooked. Sure, Canada may tower over the United States in physical size, but many countries of similar stature — G7 nations, for example — dismiss the Great White North as nothing more than America’s top hat.

This is a mistake.

Canada, with nine percent of the world’s forests, is a land of plenty. As well as an enviable array of natural resources, Canada also boasts incredible support for entrepreneurs, both homegrown and international. Many household names, such as Slack, Hootsuite and Shopify — which may be mistakenly considered as U.S. products — hail from north of the border. This proves Canada is capable of delivering on startup success.

And it’s no surprise that startups excel in the country. Sure, there is less access to VC funding and the persuasive call of Canada’s southern neighbor, but the Canadian government is working hard to build and keep successful startup ecosystems. There is a huge selection of government aid available to small businesses, some of which includes grants that don’t have to be paid back.

Alongside substantial government backing is Canada’s array of world-class universities. The University of Waterloo — increasingly known as Canada’s answer to MIT — sees incredible numbers go to Silicon Valley every year, while others all over the country produce thousands of talented grads.

While eventually losing out to Colombia, Canada was shortlisted as country of the year by The Economist in 2016. The United States’ northern neighbor boasts world-class universities and resources to develop talent and, currently, the Canadian dollar is 0.75 cents to the American dollar. This means a highly educated workforce is available for less capital for entrepreneurs all over the world who are ready and willing to make the leap to Canada.

Origin story

Canada has a proud history of technological innovation. Communications company Nortel pushed expansion in the 1970s, bringing talented telecom engineers. In 1983, after a wave of deregulation, Nortel gave way to Bell Canada Enterprise (BCE), which signaled an era of telecom preeminence.

If that weren’t enough, a year later, in 1984, Research in Motion (RIM), which today is better known as BlackBerry, was founded. While the sun may have set on BlackBerry, the impact of their phones — and the eponymous messaging service — has left a lasting impact on cellular phone technology.

Fast-forward to the nineties and the Canadian government expanded its Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program to allow…

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