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Passport to Success – Another Huge Hit for the Region. Wunderbar!

Bill Elliot

Bill Elliot

Well there we have it, the 15th Annual “Passport to Success” event has wrapped up…and with a giant orange bow on top! October 14th and 15th were two days filled with non-stop site visits, presentations, networking opportunities, and Oktoberfest celebrations galore. For our 29 VIP guests visiting from numerous industries from all over the world (including China, UK, Boston, and Chicago, among others), this was a truly unique way to become informed about Waterloo Region and everything it has to offer. Let’s be honest, what better way is there to learn about our thriving business community than while sporting a feathered hat, brandishing a glass of beer and enjoying some of the finest schnitzel around?

CTT Inc in partnership with K-W Oktoberfest Inc., the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo, and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, was again delighted to be able to host VIP business people from all different nations for this two-day event. An event that says, hey check out how diverse, innovative, collaborative and entrepreneurial our Region is. (Not to mention spirited!) This event is an opportunity for us to truly showcase why we should be the location of choice for future development and/or investment – and demonstrate that it did.

While highlights of the two-day spectacular were numerous, I will mention just a few. The tour at Christie Digital Systems Inc. blew everyone’s minds. The brilliant facilities are one thing, but looking through the ultimate pair of night vision goggles was another. Then there was the trip to Google where we met with the “Director of First Impressions”. A fantastic entrance set up with the Canadian Muskoka feel, and not to mention the actual employee facilities. Literally, a game room with every game imaginable, hoola hoop chairs, catered lunches, and a top of the line programming division. Now, there are two local companies that have figured out how to embrace ‘outside the box’ thinking.

While visiting the Accelerator Centre, donning my bright orange jacket (enough with the giant pumpkin jokes) we were able to learn about the ultimate launching pad for new tech businesses. Literally located in the heart of the University of Waterloo’s R+T Park, this incubator for talent is providing resources such as Entrepreneurs in Residence, office space and workshops to catapult these start-up companies in the right direction. Speaking of young talent – anyone visited the UW’s School of Architecture in Cambridge lately? If you haven’t it’s a must! One of the highlights of our travels was visiting the school – housed in a reclaimed silk mill – and being able to view the genius work of the students. Within walking distance of the grand, it is an incredible place to foster creativity. As Cambridge residents say, “going back to the river” is really making a difference in the community.

And, of course, how could I not mention the elaborate dinner at the Transylvania Club with the authentic Bavarian meal, food, entertainment…and keg tapping.  Each year our team looks forward to this weekend, and every event is a little more enthralling than the last. An extended thank you to all who made this event successful and here’s to looking forward to year 16. Prost!


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