Why the Ottawa Valley is the best place to start a company.
People always asks us, “Why did you choose to start Riverwood Acoustics in Renfrew County?” With most startups focusing on the urban cities that should be your logical starting choice. This is why I think you should consider this spectacular area for your startup and call it home.
For me, it can be summed up into one sentence.
My personal happiness is derived from a balance of nature, recreation, family, hard work and stability.
Nature: Renfrew County is truly a wilderness wonderland that boast the largest county in Ontario @ 7,419.00 km2. Most of this area is covered with beautiful forests, mountains, and waterways which give you plenty of fresh air and greenspace. These are many small towns that are packed with history, style and nature. These towns were formed during the historic lumber trade in the 1800s and celebrate their historic past.
Recreation: We have numerous parks, ski hills, resorts, beaches, recreation trails, lakes and rivers to explore. This area has some of the best whitewater rafting/Kayaking in the world (Wilderness Tours and Owl Rafting). Calabogie Peaks (https://www.calabogie.com/) is an excellent 4 season resort which has the highest vertical drop in Ontario for downhill skiing. There are hundreds of trails for hiking (eagles nest), biking and ATV trails . You can also enjoy a round of golf at one of the countless courses. There is really something for all the outdoor enthusiast right here even a luxury Glamping hotel - Element (https://www.outdoorhotel.ca/)
Family: The small town community are very friendly and welcoming to all. People actually stop, smile and talk to each other. When there are local events and fair you take the family and go check it out. We usually take our family to neighboring community events to meet new friends and have fun all over this great region.
Economic Stability: The average house price/rent in this area are a fraction of the big cities. Just do a quick search on MLS and discover the difference between houses in this area versus the big urban cities. The one of the biggest challenges for a startup is managing cash flow in the early years. When we formed Riverwood Acoustics we needed a commercial building for our manufacturing and R+D centre we found the perfect location in the downtown core of Renfrew for approx 10% of the cost of similar building size/location in large cities. There are also great rural initiatives to help start companies grown in this region. Just last year, we were able to win the $100,000 startup contest (https://rc100.ca/) and really launch our company from an idea stage to a world class speaker company. They also have other great resources for fundraising in Renfrew county (https://www.rccfdc.org/).
Here are my favorite things to do to ensure maintain inner peace:
-Neat Cafe (https://neatmusicandcoffee.ca/) for live music. This place is an old one room schoolhouse that has been converted into a music house and restaurant. Bonus: It has the best woodfired pizza ever.
-Kayaking with the kids down the river at sunset. Nothing beats watching the sunset to a couple smiling faces before bed.
-Skiing in the winter. We live in Canada which means you have to escape the winter blues so hit the ski slopes to get the adrenaline pumping. Always fun to then afterward have a skate on the River.
-Burnstown beach day, Robert Spark or Sandbar boating days. Great family days are enjoying the beaches.
-Golfing at one of the great local courses such as Calabogie Highlands, Sandpoint, Whitetail, Dragonfly, Pembroke and Renfrew Golf club. So many great courses within a short drive.
-Nature walks with the family. Also so much to find and explore. Our kiddies just love catching insects and finding more information about them. Last week we got a praying mantis.
-Visit to the local brewery. There are a few great Ottawa Valley brewing companies (WhiteWater and SquareTimber) that make fantastic beer. WhiteWater has many options but the Class V is my go-to IPA. Bonus they have great food and entertainment/events.
Did you know within 45 minutes you can be in Ottawa for a meeting so when needed you can do a quick day trip and still be less than most peoples commutes. We have high speed internet but you won’t use it as much as you’ll be outside exploring. Renfrew County has created this must watch video if you are thinking of setting up business in this place we call home.