Toronto can now say without a doubt that it is one of the world’s fastest growing technology hubs in the world.
KPMG International has released their annual Global Technology Innovation report and it shows that Toronto, along with Canada in general, is poised to break out as a world-leading tech hub. The survey provides a good global indication of how Toronto ranks in the world, as only 24 per cent of respondents are based in the Americas.
“Toronto has been rapidly grabbing the world’s attention as a destination for financial and intellectual capital in technology innovation,” says Anuj Madan, a national industry leader at KPMG in Canada. “Only a couple of years ago, Toronto likely didn’t come up in conversations as a go-to global destination for innovation. But smart and early investments in artificial intelligence and fintech, coupled with a diverse workforce, have positioned the city as an emerging global centre of influence in machine and deep learning, setting the stage for Industry 4.0.”
In terms of innovation competition, China and the U.S. still outpace Canada. But when KPMG asked respondents which three cities will become a leading tech hub in addition to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Toronto placed 12 on the list, Beating out many North American hubs. That list is below.
In total, six per cent of global leaders said Toronto is outpacing the competition as it competes with San Francisco and the valley, while the next Canadian city was Vancouver at one per cent.
The survey also shows that 44 per cent of Canadians believe that market share is the top metric in their organization that is used to measure the value of innovation. Revenue growth and ROI are also on that list.
Canada boats more than 4,000 active startups and is adding tens of thousands of tech jobs each year.
The KPMG survey highlights progress and leadership in AI as well as the recent Sidewalks Lab announcements as reasons why Toronto is climbing the innovation hub rankings.
The report also lists two emerging challenges Canadians will have to consider. First is Canadian entrepreneurs’ “Build to flip mindset,” meaning many founders choose to exit via an acquisition once they pass the $8 million USD annual revenue threshold.
“Entrepreneurs need to overcome their ‘build-to-flip’ mindset and reach large-scale commercialization in Canada by leveraging top talent, government funding and proximity to the large U.S. market,” the report reads. “With more than 1.9 million Canadian businesses, only a handful are ever able to go the distance and achieve true global scale.”
The second emerging challenge is NAFTA’s impact on data sovereignty. The renegotiation of the agreement has exposed certain issues that could impact Canada’s tech sector, with a particular focus on fintech and cloud computing.