By Asen Aleksandrov
Kanata’s biggest annual career fair and technology exhibition is just around the corner. Bringing upwards of 80 Kanata companies together under one roof, Discover TechNATA 2019 is set for Tuesday, April 2 and is expected to be the biggest edition of this annual event to date.
More than 2,500 people are expected to attend the event, which is organized by the Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) and has drawn bigger and bigger crowds each year since it started in 2015.
“We’ve completely blanketed the Brookstreet – I don’t think we can take on any more space” said KNBA director of operations Veronica Farmer. “We also get an awful lot of job-seekers on the day of. Last year we got more than 500 walk-ins.”
Exhibitors range from startups to multinationals and represent a diverse range of industry sectors including clean tech, autonomous vehicles, defence and AI developers.
Apart from being a tech expo, Discover TechNATA presents an opportunity for job-seekers to scope out the market and network with leading industry members.
Farmer emphasized that bringing opportunities to people – and especially to students and fresh entrants into the sector – is one of the event’s priorities.
“We’ve put them all in one space. We have young talent, students and mature candidates,” she said. “It’s fantastic to see the talent out there, particularly students and their energy and desire to get in there and join the innovation that’s going on.”
Farmer said visitors can expect some big surprises, including a presentation by BlackBerry QNX that’s sure to drive up the excitement, she teased. There will be several tech demos, and a team of judges – including Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson – will be walking to floor to pick a winner for the Serious Tech Lives Here Coolest Demo competition, which should be decided at 1:30 p.m.
The event itself will kick off with a breakfast and panel discussion on talent, diversity and inclusion. Participating on the panel will be Carleton University’s READ Initiative, which helps students with disabilities achieve their career goals.
Another local post-secondary school in attendance at Discover TechNATA is the University of Ottawa, which joined the Kanata North Research Park last November.
“They are now a member of the community,” Farmer said.
She emphasized that TechNATA is a boon to companies, ensuring they have a stream of capable workers coming their way.
“(It’s) matching bright minds to the innovative work happening out there,” she added.
By extending a bridge between industry players and new talent, the event presents a big opportunity for Kanata North to grow as a fertile ecosystem for companies in the tech sector.
“It’s a perfect example of the things we should be doing as community engagement,” Farmer affirmed. “Pulling together events like this to match talent with opportunity… is something we need to do continuously. And it seems to be getting more and more successful.”
Discover TechNATA 2019 will take place on April 2. Kanata-Carleton MPP Merrilee Fullerton will open up the day at 11 a.m. at the Brookstreet Hotel.