Fredericton, New Brunswick, has catapulted itself into a leading position for cyber security in Canada by increasing investment in research and academia to attract new talent and businesses.

Rising cybercrime has increased demand for cyber security skills in the global job market, with the number of cyber security jobs available globally projected to rise to 2 million by 2019. Fredericton has evolved to fill the gap through a multi-pronged approach that encompasses both the knowledge and infrastructure required to draw talent in.

Ignite Fredericton, the community’s economic development catalyst agency, together with its business incubator called Planet Hatch, is focused on entrepreneurship and business growth in burgeoning sectors like cyber security.

“Fredericton is uniquely positioned to leverage the growth potential of cybersecurity with its supportive infrastructure and assets like the Canadian Institute of Cyber Security” says Larry Shaw, CEO of Ignite Fredericton and Knowledge Park.

Building a network

In the nineties, Fredericton carves its niche as the ‘Knowledge-based Capital of New Brunswick’ through investments in digital infrastructure and the creation of a clustering environment for industry in what is called Knowledge Park, Atlantic Canada’s largest technology and research park.

In fact, Fredericton was the first municipality in Canada to offer free Wi-Fi access to its residents in public facilities and high density commercial areas.  The wi-fi network was built on the backbone of the municipally-owned fibre optic network, and today businesses can access the lowest cost gigabit connectivity rates in Atlantic Canada.

“This has been a key differentiator in terms of our cost-competitiveness and attracting global companies like IBM, Salesforce.com, Raytheon, and Forcepoint” says Shaw. 

Cybersecurity is an integral component of a company’s day-to-day operations across industries. This is why the University of New Brunswick (UNB) has increased its academic focus on cybersecurity through the establishment a research chair in cybersecurity and the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity.  UNB is producing a highly specialized workforce to meet current and future demand of the cybersecurity industry.

Retaining graduates and startups in the city has been a key focus of Fredericton’s economic development strategy. It comes as no surprise that Fredericton was named ‘Canada’s Startup Community of the Year’ in 2016 by Startup Canada, and the city continues to churn out new leading edge tech companies like Resson Aerospace.

“Planet Hatch brought together a great network of mentors and coaches who, especially in our particular situation, not only went above and beyond to help our business, but really cared about us and did everything possible to help prepare us to be successful,” says Peter Goggin, CEO and Co-founder of Resson Aerospace.

Fredericton is also growing its future talent pipeline through initiatives like CyberLaunch Academy, which teaches young children about coding and exploring future careers in cyber security.

“I was fascinated that the top University of New Brunswick computer scientists had enough passion to bring their knowledge and experience to children who otherwise have few opportunities to study information technology,” says Steven Burns, CEO and Co-founder of Bulletproof Solutions Inc.

It’s this passion for knowledge and innovation that is the backbone of Fredericton’s success. Homegrown efforts, collaboration, and dedicated investment in research and education have turned this Eastern Canadian city into a cybersecurity hot spot for startups and those seeking career opportunities.