Home  »  Invest Ottawa Launches Updated Strategic Plan and Expands Board of Directors to Bolster Leadership, Drive Innovation and Economic Growth

Invest Ottawa Launches Updated Strategic Plan and Expands Board of Directors to Bolster Leadership, Drive Innovation and Economic Growth

Jun 20, 2023

Ottawa, Ontario; June 20, 2023: Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, is pleased to announce the launch of its updated five-year strategic plan and the expansion of its Board of Directors.  Hear from Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, as he walks through Invest Ottawa’s updated Strategic Plan and how the organization will collaborate with the community to chart an impactful future (video): https://bit.ly/3NhrxMg

Following broad stakeholder consultations, Invest Ottawa’s refreshed strategic plan is founded on collaboration, long-term goals and actions that will help founders, companies and our community:

  • Capitalize on critical, emerging technologies that are shaping the future
  • Pursue new opportunities in strategic, long-range global markets where Ottawa can lead
  • Spur and support the growth of companies in many sectors and stages of development
  • Expand Ottawa’s top talent pool to help bolster regional competitiveness
  • Drive innovation, investment, collaboration, and the inclusive development of Ottawa’s economy

This community-driven economic development strategy builds on Ottawa’s greatest strengths to catalyze new market opportunities, business, companies, talent, jobs, and investment. These attributes include:

  • The highest concentration of top tech talent per capita in North America
  • Decades of disruptive tech capabilities and successful companies
  • A vibrant mix of main street businesses and diverse, inclusive communities
  • Ambitious moon shots that will help Ottawa chart an exciting new future

It also directly supports Invest Ottawa’s mandate to foster economic growth by:

  • Helping founders, business owners and companies launch, scale, expand and succeed
  • Attracting top R&D-focussed tech firms and global investment
  • Cultivating a diverse and expert pool, bolstering Ottawa’s workforce.
  • Facilitating innovation, collaboration and impact through Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s ultimate destination for business acceleration.
  • Operating Area X.O, our R&D complex for next-gen smart mobility, connectivity and autonomy

Together with the community it serves, Invest Ottawa will pursue a bold vision for Ottawa. Backed by a prestigious Board of leaders, Invest Ottawa is making significant strides in shaping our region with a new industry Co-Chair, inaugural Vice-Chair, and four additional new Directors. This diverse leadership, expertise and experience will fuel Ottawa’s tech and business ecosystem. These strategic appointments reinforce the goals of Invest Ottawa’s refreshed strategic plan, vision, and mandate to collaboratively support entrepreneurs, ventures and global enterprises to drive innovation, jobs, and sustainable, inclusive economic growth.

Invest Ottawa is honoured to welcome the following new leaders to its Board of Directors:

  • Adam Miron, Co-Chair and Chair of the Executive Committee: An accomplished serial entrepreneur, Adam is one of less than a hundred Canadians to have launched and scaled a business valued at $1+ billion as the Co-Founder and former Director of HEXO. He is the Interim CEO and Chair of Brane Inc. & Brane Trust, the digital asset custody startup; an avid mentor and investor in high-risk, early-stage startups from music to fashion and furniture; and a well-known public figure in politics and media. As the Co-Chair of Invest Ottawa, he will play a pivotal role in supporting the organization’s strategic direction. He will work closely with His Worship Mark Sutcliffe, Mayor of Ottawa and fellow Co-Chair, all Directors and the Invest Ottawa team.
  • France Hébert, Inaugural Vice-Chair and Chair of the Governance Committee: A 35-year veteran in defence and security, France serves as the VP and General Manager of Defence & Security Canada with CAE. Her expertise and experience in this sector are bolstered by 17 years as a business leader with General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada and as a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Her appointment as the board’s first Vice-Chair is a testament to her leadership and capabilities. She will play an instrumental role in pursuing Invest Ottawa’s strategic goals, including long-range market opportunities in the defence and security sector.
  • Aquilas K. Dapaah, Director: Aquilas is a multifaceted professional with a diverse background. She is a lawyer, executive director, entrepreneur, and fierce advocate for economic empowerment. She has served as both a crown attorney and a commercial litigator, representing individuals and large corporations. Throughout her career, she has accumulated more than a decade of legal experience and financial literacy. As a mentor and Founder of Financially Savvy Girl Inc., she dedicates herself to empowering professionals to take charge of their personal finances, develop passive income streams, and build generational wealth. In addition, Aquilas is the Co-Founder of The Women Investors Network Canada, an organization that equips women with the confidence, network, and knowledge to invest in real estate.
  • Giovanna Mingarelli, Director: Giovanna is an award-winning technology entrepreneur, thought leader, public speaker and writer. Recognized as one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women, she is the Co-Founder of several international firms, including M&C Consulting, MC2 and MC3 US. For more than 20 years, she has worked in political and digital communications. She has served with a former Prime Minister; contributed to events at the White House; and founded several philanthropic initiatives supporting women, youth, leadership and kindness.
  • Solmaz Shahalizadeh, Director: Solmaz is an Operating Advisor at Bessemer, an executive and advisor in data and product, and a founding partner of Backbone Angels, a collective focused on funding more diverse and women-founded companies. Most recently, she served as the Vice President and Head of Data at Shopify, helping it grow from 100K to over 1.75 million merchants from 2013 to 2022. In this role, Solmaz was the voice of data in the senior leadership team. She played a critical role in Shopify’s successful IPO, and later built and scaled their portfolio of data and AI products. Prior to Shopify, Solmaz worked as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and a data scientist at McGill University, in the latter role she contributed to cancer research.
  • Mike Weider, Director: Michael is the former CEO of Clearwater Clinical, a medical health IT company, and a serial entrepreneur and investor with over 25 years of leadership experience and successful exits. He served as the Founder and CEO of three venture-backed startups, including Watchfire (acquired by IBM), Blaze (acquired by Akamai) and SHOEBOX (acquired by WSA). Michael has served as a board member for many startups and non-profits. He is also a seed investor and partner at Fundfire.co, which supports 40+ startups with early-stage funding.


These leaders join the following returning Directors of the Invest Ottawa Board who will generously continue to share their expertise and experience with Invest Ottawa and the ecosystem it serves:

  • His Worship Mark Sutcliffe, Mayor of Ottawa; Co-Chair of Invest Ottawa
  • Benoit-Antoine Bacon, President and Vice-Chancellor, Carleton University; Director
  • Lise Bourgeois, President, Collège La Cité; Director
  • Claude Brule, President and CEO, Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology; Director
  • Rob Cameron, Tech Executive; Strategy, Business Transformation and Post Merger Integration Leader; Area X.O Steering Committee; Director
  • Jason Flick, CEO, Serial Entrepreneur, Investor and Advisor; Director
  • Jennifer Francis, High Tech Mentor, Advisor, and Investor; Chair of the Capital Angel Network; Chair of the Audit Committee; Director
  • Jacques Frémont, President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Ottawa; Director
  • Shavonne Hasfal-McIntosh, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Wealthsimple; Chair of the Women Founders and Owners Sub-Committee; Director
  • Dobrila Rancic Moogk, Vice President, Marketing, Giatec Scientific; Director
  • Michael Tremblay, President & CEO, Invest Ottawa, Area X.O and Bayview Yards; World Economic Forum Fellow; Director


Invest Ottawa would also like to extend its deep gratitude to the following departing board members for their leadership and invaluable contributions to Invest Ottawa and our regional economy:

  • Jim Watson, Former Mayor of Ottawa and former Co-Chair of Invest Ottawa
  • Susan Richards, Former Co-Chair of Invest Ottawa; Co-Founder & Managing Partner of numbercrunch; CFO, Entrepreneur, Investor and Board Director
  • Brendan McGuinty, Former Director; Principal, Strategies 360 Inc.; Chair of the Ottawa Board of Trade
  • Jim Roche, Former Director, President & CEO, Stratford and ThinkRF; Chair at Ballard


“I’ve supported Invest Ottawa’s vision and mandate since it was created more than 10 years ago,” said Mark Sutcliffe, Mayor of Ottawa, and Co-Chair of Invest Ottawa. “I’m excited to work with Adam and the entire board, and with Michael and the terrific team at Invest Ottawa, to implement this strategic plan and position our city for economic growth. A strong local economy is vital to ensure we can truly make Ottawa better for everyone.”

“I am honoured and excited to join Invest Ottawa as Co-Chair of the Board,” said Adam Miron. “Invest

Ottawa is perfectly positioned to be instrumental in cultivating a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs and businesses across our region. I am very passionate about fueling the growth of fellow founders and Canada’s Capital. I look forward to working closely with the Board, the Invest Ottawa team, the firms they serve, and all partners to drive innovation, attract investment and create big economic opportunities that benefit our community.”

“It is a privilege to serve as the Vice-Chair of the Invest Ottawa Board and contribute to an organization that facilitates economic growth and job creation,” said France Hébert. “I am particularly excited about the visionary moon shots that Invest Ottawa and its stakeholders have established in defence and security through Area X.O and its global expansion services. I look forward to collaborating with our community to help drive innovation, attract investment and create a thriving ecosystem for companies to flourish.”

“It is an honour to welcome these accomplished leaders to our Board,” said Michael Tremblay. “Building on the strengths of our returning directors, they bring invaluable leadership, expertise and experience to Invest Ottawa and our community. I would also like to extend deep thanks to our retiring Directors for their many contributions. This visionary collaboration fuels our economic growth. Guided by our strategic plan, we will work together to help Ottawa fulfil its full economic potential as a thriving business community and global tech hub – one that is anchored on talented people from every walk of life.”



About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the manager of Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s innovation hub and one-stop business acceleration shop, and founder and operator of Area X.O, the R&D complex for next-gen smart mobility, autonomy and connectivity technologies. Since 2013, Invest Ottawa has supported almost 14,000, contributed to the creation of more than 14,700 jobs, helped domestic companies raise $1.86 billion in capital, and attracted $1.47 billion in domestic and foreign direct investment to Ottawa. Explore Invest Ottawa’s 2022 Economic Impact Report for additional details, or visit www.investottawa.ca.


Media Inquiries

Sonya Shorey, Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications

[email protected]



Backgrounder – Pull Quotes

“As a new Director of the Board and member of the Women Founders and Owners Sub-Committee, I am excited to contribute to a dynamic organization at the forefront of fostering innovation,” said Giovanna Mingarelli. “I launched my entrepreneurial journey with Invest Ottawa in 2010. This full-circle moment enables me to give back to our community. I look forward to collaborating with this team and leveraging our expertise to empower local entrepreneurs and firms for success.”


It’s an honour to be a part of Invest Ottawa and contribute to our community as a Director of the Board,” said Aquilas K. Dapaah. “Invest Ottawa inspires and empowers many founders, business owners and startups to scale their businesses. With a collaborative approach and many different programs and services, it equips diverse companies with the knowledge, expertise and tools they need to grow and succeed. I am excited to help many founders and business owners achieve their entrepreneurial goals in this role.”


“I am excited to collaborate with fellow Directors, entrepreneurs and the Invest Ottawa team as a new Director of the Board,” said Mike Weider. “Ottawa is the top market for the concentration of tech talent in North America. About 11.6 percent of all workers in Canada’s Capital are in the technology field. I think Invest Ottawa deserves a lot of credit for this result. These strengths and community collaboration underpin our updated strategic plan. I look forward to helping realize the vision it proposes for our region.”


“I am excited to serve as a new Director and member of the Women Founders and Owners Sub-Committee of the Board,” said Solmaz Shahalizadeh. “Invest Ottawa supports many types of founders and firms in different sectors across our region. Any company can benefit from the programs, services and support they offer. This gives businesses a competitive advantage and the diverse mix of resources, technologies and capabilities they need to grow and thrive in today’s global market.”


“As we begin this next chapter, we are very grateful to everyone who contributed to our strategic plan consultations,” said Sonya Shorey, Vice President of Strategy, Marketing and Communications. “This strategic plan is a testament to the power of our visionary collaboration.  It is one that people across our region have helped us create to build our city’s future and we will execute it together. We are very grateful for this opportunity to help fulfil Ottawa’s economic potential as a community.”


Invest Ottawa extends sincere thanks to:

  • Our clients, the entrepreneurs, business owners and companies we are honoured to serve, from main street to the tech sector
  • Our funders, including the City of Ottawa, the Government of Ontario including the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; and the Government of Canada, including FedDev Ontario, Global Affairs Canada, ISED and Transport Canada
  • Our current and past Board, committee members and advisors
  • Our post-secondary institutions and the next generation of talent they foster
  • Our many economic development and innovation partners and sponsors
  • Our employees, who take action on our vision and mission every day

By harnessing the power of visionary collaboration, we will build on the outcomes we have achieved together and increase our collective impact on our economy, society and environment.


Invest Ottawa
Invest Ottawa, is Ottawa’s leading economic development agency for fostering the advancement of the region's globally competitive knowledge-based institutions and industries. Invest Ottawa delivers its economic development services through a unique partnership with the City of Ottawa, where the City and Invest Ottawa, through its members set the strategy and manage the programs that move Ottawa’s economy forward. Invest Ottawa is a non-profit, partnership organization that operates on an annual budget that comes from a variety of sources including: municipal, federal and provincial government; membership fees; professional development programs; and private sector contributions.

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