As the CEO of OpenText, I am often asked the secret of our success.
How did a small spin-off company from the University of Waterloo become Canada’s largest software company and a global leader in enterprise software solutions? While there are many reasons for our success, our ability to innovate has been a central factor.
In my experience, there are three key ingredients required to create an environment that fosters and supports innovation. The first ingredient is access to talent. In Waterloo, we have the University of Waterloo graduating world-class talent, the Communitech organization sponsoring local technology and innovation, and several incubators nurturing early-stage companies. The second ingredient is capital.
Technology companies thrive when financial support is accessible and plentiful. The third, entrepreneurs can’t be afraid to fail. One aspect of venture is that if version one of the product or service doesn’t work, you don’t give up – you go to version 2 or 3. The local environment needs to support the entrepreneur’s ability to do this.
Over the last year, OpenText has launched a number of initiatives to seed investment directly into local innovation and entrepreneurship – including the OpenText Enterprise Application Venture Fund and sponsorship of the Northleaf fund under the federal government’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP). These initiatives are examples of our commitment to and support for technology innovation in Canada.
Last week, I was also pleased to announce that OpenText will invest up to $2 billion over the next 7 years to create 1200 new OpenText jobs in Ontario. This nearly doubles our current workforce in Canada. The Ontario Government agreed to support this initiative with funding up to $120 million – an example of their deep commitment to tech jobs and innovation in Ontario. OpenText chose to invest in Ontario because here we have access to incredible talent,
financial backing, and we are surrounded and supported by a community that understands innovation and takes steps to foster it. Here we benefit from an ecosystem that helps us flourish. Here we are investing to strengthen and expand the ecosystem for tomorrow.