____ Posted Tuesday September 12, 2017 ____

Economic Development

Mayor Berry Vrbanovic joins Communitech and Waterloo EDC on business development mission in Germany

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic has joined Communitech and Waterloo EDC on a business development mission in Germany this week as part of the City’s and Region's efforts to attract and grow economic investment in a number of industries, including the technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.

In a two-part mission that will incorporate a series of meetings in five German cities, Mayor Vrbanovic began the first phase of his business development mission by joining Communitech's Steve Currie and attending Startupnight, one of Europe’s largest startup events, where startups present themselves to corporations, investors and potential customers.

The next several days will focus on tours of Berlin’s startup ecosystem, with leaders from Communitech and its digital innovation labs. The delegation will meet with corporations and innovation leaders like Deutsche Telekom, Porsche, SAP and Deloitte.

“Berlin has moved up significantly in recent years in terms of their global ranking as a startup city,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “There is a lot we can learn from German companies and build stronger ties with a tech sector and a city that has a historical connection to our city and region.”

“Communitech travels regularly to other tech ecosystems with our corporate innovation partners, both to learn best practices that we can adopt and to highlight the innovation happening in Waterloo region,” said Steve Currie, vice president of corporate innovation at Communitech. “Having the support of Mayor Vrbanovic shows the strength of commitment to the tech ecosystem in Waterloo region, and will help in attracting further investment from major international corporations.”

On September 14th, the focus of the mission will shift slightly as the Mayor joins Waterloo EDC president and CEO, Tony LaMantia and City of Kitchener manager of business development, Brian Bennett to meet with German-owned companies with operations in Waterloo Region or those interested in developing a stronger Canadian presence. In a series of meetings during phase two, the team will focus on discussions about expansion, organic growth and retention plans.

“Germany continues to be a high priority market for foreign direct investment for Waterloo region,” said Tony LaMantia, president and CEO of Waterloo EDC. “Our corporate calls will focus on strengthening key headquarter relationships to support future growth.”

"German investment accounts for 10% of all foreign investment in Waterloo region,” said Mayor Vrbanovic. “It is directly responsible for approximately 35 businesses and thousands of jobs in our community. This trade mission is a critical part of Kitchener and Waterloo Region’s economic development agenda to continue to attract and retain business partners in our city and our region.”

The 2017 business development mission to Germany builds on the 2016 mission that Mayors Craig, Jaworsky and Vrbanovic took with Toronto Mayor John Tory to Silicon Valley, and the 2016 mission to Germany taken by Mayors’ Jaworsky and Craig with the Waterloo EDC.

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