‘A thriving tech community’


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(Graphic by Lena Yang)

Twitter’s co-founder, Jack Dorsey, has decided to bring his technological innovations to the Kitchener-Waterloo region.

Dorsey visited the University of Waterloo on Thursday and explained his intentions of bringing his startup company, Square, to Canada in the coming year.

Square is a unique mobile payment system that is targeted towards retailers. The product is essentially a card reading “square” that can be plugged into Smartphones and tablets. Combined with an app, Square allows retailers to process credit card sales using their mobile device.

Kitchener-Waterloo was chosen to establish the first Canadian office of this unique company for its extensive reputation in the tech community.

“Kitchener-Waterloo has a thriving tech community,” said Lindsay Wiese, a spokeswoman for Square. “With a talented workforce and a world-class university.”

Wiese explained to The Cord that a small, temporary engineering team already exists in Kitchener. Square, however, was actively looking to expand their presence and plan to set up a permanent office in 2014.

The location of the new office has not yet been selected, but its future space will account for 30 new employees.

“We have seen massive adoption,” she elaborated when talking about Square’s productivity in the Canadian market. “For example, total activation [of our product] in Canada [is] five times what they were at the start of the year.”

Two new Square products and services are also in the process of making their way into Canada.

“We have plans to bring Square Wallet and Square Market to Canada in the future,” Weise said.

However, the greater story behind the expansion of Dorsey’s company, resides in the Kitchener-Waterloo community, which has long been regarded as the “tech capital of Canada.”

“There’s talent here,” said Ian McLean, the president and CEO of the Greater K-W Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s instructive that a company like that who has been at the forefront of innovation and utilization of global computing is coming to this region.”

McLean refered to the recent announcement of BlackBerry’s downsizing, explaining how Dorsey’s business is showing a great amount of faith in the community.

BlackBerry recently signed a provisional agreement to be bought out by its largest shareholder on Monday. The potential sale could sum up to $4.7 billion and result in hundreds of jobs lost.

“It’s been a tough couple of days for the community of Blackberry,” McLean said. “So [Dorsey’s intention] is particularly good news.”

McLean mentioned Kitchener-Waterloo’s presence on the technology map, claiming it is an ideal city to establish business expenditure.

“People are coming in and saying ‘here’s where I want to start my new business’ and I think that’s because of the many advantages that this city has,” he said. “It’s very well educated, has lots of work force, and it has lots of opportunity.”

“And Dorsey coming here is really saying  is a real hub for innovation and entrepreneurship spirit.”

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