Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Business Journal’

White paper looks at why Canuck tech firms are “disappearing”

Posted by sweens on November 6, 2009

By Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Wed, Oct 14, 2009 11:00 AM EST

Canada is wasting the productive lives of “many brilliant and courageous knowledge workers, and losing large sums of money doing it.”

At least, that’s the hypothesis of a white paper released Wednesday morning by Toronto-based Impact Group, which aims to answer the question of why Canadian technology firms are “disappearing.”

Using interviews with former CEOs and investors from 18 R&D performing companies no longer part of Canada’s business landscape, Impact says it discovered that 10 of the 18 firms became insolvent with the other eight disappearing through merger or sale. In five cases, those mergers or sales were profitable, it added.

The extinct firms, however, shared a number of characteristics, Impact said:

– A lack of commerce competence through poor customer engagement;

– Preoccupation with technology and idea-driven R&D “often resulted in a large R&D team with… an unsustainable burn rate”;

– Dysfunctional governance, including lack of shared goals between management and the company’s board of directors, and a lack of enterprise experience among investors.

“While Canada is second to none in technology, there is a significant lack of commerce skills among our technology entrepreneurs”, says Douglas Barber, founder and former CEO of Gennum Corp. and now a distinguished professor-in-residence at McMaster University, in a statement supplied by Impact Group.

“Companies often find themselves dependent on U.S. and other foreign nationals for executive talent especially for customer-facing experience and skills. If we are to succeed, the notion that technology coupled with sufficient venture capital will lead to success in the knowledge economy must be complemented by a deeper understanding of the human dimensions of enterprise and of the value exchange that is commerce.”


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RIM beats out Apple, tops Fortune’s fastest-growing list

Posted by sweens on August 19, 2009

By Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Mon, Aug 17, 2009 5:00 PM EST

Fortune Magazine has named Waterloo-based Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) as the fastest-growing company in the world, with only one other Canadian company named to the business magazine’s top 10 list.

It’s the first year that the publication has named companies from outside the United States to its ranking of the 100 fastest-growing firms. The BlackBerry maker, which has seen a three-year average per-share earnings growth rate of 84 per cent and an average revenue increase of 77 per cent, was accompanied in the top 10 by fertilizer company Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (TSX:POT), which came in 10th.

RIM’s feat underscored a heated battle between its smartphone device and the popular iPhone from telecom and consumer electronics giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which only placed 39th. Fortune noted that the BlackBerry is now the top-selling smartphone in the United States.

Open Text Corp. (TSX:OTC), also of Waterloo, Ont., and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) were also named to the top 100 list, at 15th and 99th place respectively.

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News Update: Ericsson dials Nortel auction up with $730M bid

Posted by sweens on July 24, 2009

News Story
Ericsson dials Nortel auction up with $730M bid
By Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Thu, Jul 23, 2009 9:00 AM EST

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson has jumped into the battle for Nortel Networks Corp.’s wireless businesses, topping the high bidder – private equity firm MatlinPatterson – by $5 million.

Ericsson on Tuesday submitted a US$730-million bid for Nortel’s CDMA and LTE, short for code-division multiple access and long-term evolution technology, according to a Globe and Mail report that cited sources familiar with the bidding process.

Besides besting the $725-million proposal earlier announced by MatlinPatterson, which has said it intends to build a stand-alone business based on Nortel’s wireless assets, Ericsson’s offer is also higher than the $650-million “stalking horse” bid made back in June by Nokia Siemens Networks.

Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) is also trying to make a play for the wireless division along with other unspecified Nortel businesses, although Nortel earlier rejected its bid as RIM had not submitted the offer along court-approved guidelines.

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UPDATE: Unemployment rises to 5.9%, as national rate jumps to 11-year high

Posted by sweens on June 5, 2009

By Krystle Chow, Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Fri, Jun 5, 2009 9:00 AM EST

The unemployment rate for the Ottawa-Gatineau region rose 0.4 percentage points in May as the local economy lost 3,800 jobs, in line with a broader trend across the country.

While the local jobless rate increased to 5.9 per cent, the employment drop was the smallest seen so far in 2009, and unemployment was far below the national rate, which rose 0.4 percentage points to an astonishing 11-year high of 8.4 per cent.

Employment decreased by 42,000 jobs in May, driven largely by steep manufacturing losses in Ontario. It was the only province to experience significant job losses; in fact, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan all reported higher employment numbers, and other provinces held steady.

“(The Ottawa-Gatineau rate) is also below that of the southern Ontario cities such as Windsor, London, all the cities affected by the automobile sector, which have double-digit unemployment rates or close to it,” said Statistics Canada analyst Vincent Ferrao.

Still, he noted that the local jobless rate has been creeping up lately, and it’s the highest percentage of unemployed people in almost four years, tied with January 2007 and November 2005 which both reported the same 5.9-per-cent unemployment rate. To see a higher local rate, one would have to go back as far as October 2005, when unemployment was at 6.6 per cent, Mr. Ferrao said.

“Unemployment is relatively higher than what we’ve seen recently, as there was strong job growth in the last couple of years but we’re not seeing that so far this year,” he added.

The deterioration between the three-month moving average for the period ended in May and for the previous month was spread out over a number of sectors, namely the accommodation and food services; information, culture and recreation; educational services; business, building and support services; and construction sectors. There were no large decreases during the month.

In fact, there was an increase in the battered high-tech sector, which added 1,500 jobs to employ 54,600 people in May, offsetting the small decline in the previous month.

“It’s encouraging – the last time we saw an increase in the tech sector was in December 2008,” said Mr. Ferrao.

Still, high-tech employment is down by 7,000 year-over-year, contributing to the 16,400 jobs lost overall during the 12-month period leading up to May.

The weakest link, however, was the retail and wholesale sector, which has reduced employment by roughly 13,000 jobs over the year, bringing the number of people working in the sector in May to 72,000.

As well, the business, building and other support services segment, which includes employment agencies and call centres, shrank its workforce by 10,000 jobs, to employ roughly 18,600 workers.

The declines were offset by healthy increase in the public administration and construction sectors, which both added 5,000 jobs each over the year, to end up with 152,000 and 36,000 workers in May, said Mr. Ferrao.


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