Economic development strategy


In Kitchener, the spark of an idea becomes a festival, a chocolatier, a robot, a musical career, or a patent. But getting started requires perseverance, support systems, tools, space and investments. From the hatching of an idea to its growth into a business, our focus in economic development is to help.

Ideas don't happen upon us -- they occur at the intersection of knowledge and experience. They result when people from different perspectives collaborate and challenge each other, because they've been given space and opportunity to do so.

Kitchener's approach to economic development is focused on industry intersections; the connection or collision of distinct capabilities can be a powerful catalyst for innovation. New opportunities are found when experts in different disciplines collaborate to solve complex problems. This means that all industries have a role to play in our city's economy. 

Make it Kitchener is more than an economic development strategy. It is a way of capturing the intangible qualities that make Kitchener an inspiring and exciting place to be. 

Building on 2011's Kitchener Economic Development Strategy, the City of Kitchener has launched 2015's Make It Kitchener strategy, featuring many of the locals who've already made it here, plus more details about how we're building a dynamic and complete community around them.

With talent as our priority, the city's economic development team created this strategy update by talking to the people who will live it. We engaged more than 400 citizens, stakeholders and partners through our "Ideas of the Brave" consultations in early June 2015.

You shared your values: diversity; collaboration; affordability; sustainability. You shared your vision for our future, and we used your insights and ideas to shape this strategy.

In each of the areas in which we work, we've identified the key opportunities before us.

Make it Spark

  • Support creative experimentation.
  • Encourage the intersection of art and industry.
  • Support creative clusters such as music, film, performing arts and design.

Make it Start

  • Be agile in the provision of services for startups.
  • Continue to attract entrepreneurs -- locally, nationally, and globally.
  • Become a magnet for investment.

Make it Grow

  • Build Kitchener's identity as a Global Maker Hub.
  • Work with existing businesses through partnerships (like the Manufacturing Innovation Network) to support their needs.
  • Help develop cluster supports that make these systems work (e.g., industrial design, marketing, finance, supply chains).

Make it Urban

  • Continue to develop a dynamic downtown, and promote urbanization across the city.
  • Lead the way in the redevelopment of our own properties, and work with the private sector to apply these same standards.
  • Facilitate and encourage sought-after urban amenities, like outdoor movies and rooftop terraces.

Make it Vibrant

  • Build Kitchener's identity as a festival city.
  • Encourage our creative community to use the city as a stage, invigorating the city through new programs and by using unconventional spaces.
  • Support strong communities and neighbourhood identities through distinct events and creative expression.

Make it Connect

  • Champion the creation of infrastructure to develop and fortify an innovation corridor between Waterloo Region and Toronto (GO Trains, fibre networks).
  • Build the partnerships needed to support it (regional economic development, Communitech, Toronto clusters).
  • Develop the Innovation District as the heart of the system.

Make it Kitchener was approved by Council on Nov. 16, 2015. To learn more, visit

Contact Us