Forget the doom and gloom surrounding the one-time tech titan—layoffs and new leadership actually may help other Canadian entrepreneurs. Three experts explain why.
President and CEO Communitech, Waterloo, Ont.
“There are a lot of non-tech firms in Kitchener/ Waterloo that are looking for talent. The global experience that exists in BlackBerry could be very beneficial to them, especially those in industries that tend to be forgotten about in the region, such as education and financial services. People are going to be coming out of BlackBerry with a lot of specialized expertise—they may be great HR professionals or accountants. They could add a lot of value to SMEs outside the tech sector.”
President and CEO, CATA Alliance Ottawa
“Depending on whether there are new owners and in what direction they go, a sale could be the start of a new BlackBerry cluster. Say the company decides to be the world’s best in messaging. It will need significant supplementary technologies to support that, and it’s likely it will look to the local ecosystem—which it has in the Kitchener/Waterloo region, with the University of Waterloo, the supplier base and the availability of Generation Y leaders—to supply it.”
Co-founder and CEO, FreshBooks Toronto
“The most important issue for the tech sector and, frankly, the Canadian economy is that we need more anchor tenants—big-name firms that draw others in. Our single anchor tenant was BlackBerry; now, we need many of them. When you’re scaling the business, it’s hard to find managers and leaders with deep operational strengths and excellence. The workforce doing that at BlackBerry will soon be available to help build other anchor tenants. And that’s going to change our economy.”