You know you have tapped into something when you have to change venues at the last minute because your original location was too small. That was the case for the Offset Market Exchange (OMX), which last week hosted Made in Canada: Technology in Aerospace, Defence and Space.

With the recent shift in focus of the government’s Industrial and Regional Benefits policy, the Toronto event was intended to highlight changes and explain the new emphasis on technological benefits as they relate to the government’s new Defence Procurement Strategy.

The event quickly grew to 150 participants, mostly from small and medium sized companies, but also representing system integrators and prime contractors such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Defense, Navistar, Mercedes Benz, Magellan, DRS Technologies, CAE, CCC, Seaspan, DCNS, Meggitt and others.

As IRBs shift to ITBs, there was clearly an interest in understanding how industry can begin to leverage the technology focus into new investment and sales opportunities.

“The Canadian government has really listened well to Tom Jenkins’ recommendations, which reflected on the importance of meeting the Canadian Forces’ needs while developing enduring industry capabilities and supporting export growth. This event was truly a reflection of that,” said Rod Jones, director of the Ontario Aerospace Council.

The event also injected an element of technology of its own, providing attendees with a Samsung tablet loaded with custom event apps, speaker bios, and access to OMX’s website for business-to-business interaction, including the ability to track documents, potential clients, calculate Canadian content in proposals, cross reference data for small business, and set up meetings with other businesses at the event.

“The event demonstrated that we have tremendous technologies in Canada, particularly in our SME community,” said Nicole Verkindt, president of the Southern Ontario Defence Association and president of OMX. “An increased focus on investments in Canadian technology is good news for industry and good news for Canada.”