Growth Sectors

Guelph is proud of its diverse and stable economy. The Guelph area is attractive not only to Advanced Manufacturing companies, but also to Agri-food and Innovation firms, Environmental Management and Technology companies and Tourism Operators. It is these five facets of the local economy that have been identified in Guelph’s Economic Development Strategy as growth industries on which to focus economic development activities.

Agri-food and Innovation

Guelph is ranked #1 agricultural biotechnology cluster in Ontario – one of the top 2 in Canada.

Strategically located in the heart of Southern Ontario, Guelph brings together all the advantages of location, resources and quality of life, fostering the growth of life science, agri-food and biotechnology companies and associations.

A mecca for agri-business, biotechnology and environmental enterprises, in Guelph you will find the world renowned research and development facilities of the University of Guelph, and a cluster of government and industry support services.

Agri-food represents a $63 billion value chain in Ontario; second in size only to the auto industry. More than 640,000 people in the province are employed in the industry.

In Guelph-Wellington, there are more than 90 companies employing approximately 6,500 people in this sector. This includes government, education, biotechnology, agri-food technology, agricultural supply, equipment, food processing, associations, research, marketing and other services.

The Agri-food and Innovation Cluster in Guelph-Wellington represents a system of market and non-market links between companies and institutions concentrated in one location. This is good for business – your business.

Sector Profile – Agri-food and Innovation


Environmental Technologies

As a result of increased public interest and recent gains in research and development, the environmental technology industry is positioned to change the lives of people around the world. Within the city of Guelph, it is a new and emerging sector that is poised for rapid growth.

The Big Picture: Ontario’s Environment Industry

Ontario is currently home to half of Canada’s environmental technology companies, with more than 2,000 businesses and associations and 50,000 people employed in this sector. Two-thirds of these companies provide scientific, technical, energy efficiency, environmental and engineering consulting services.

Ontario’s environment industry has several sub-sectors:

  • water and wastewater treatment/water efficiency
  • solid and hazardous waste management/recycling
  • site remediation
  • air pollution prevention and control
  • energy efficiency/renewables
  • laboratory and other environmental services

Guelph’s Environment Industry

Ontario is currently home to half of Canada’s environmental technology companies.

More than 45 companies and associations make up Guelph’s environmental sector, with all sub-sections of Ontario’s environmental sector being represented. Over 1,350 people in Guelph are employed in this sector.

Business Case – Environmental Technologies


Advanced Manufacturing

Guelph is within 1.5 hours of every automotive assembly plant in Canada (with the exception of those in Windsor, Ontario).

Advanced manufacturing is the largest employer in Guelph. Guelph’s manufacturing sector consists of approximately 360 businesses, employing approximately 14,755 people (25% of Guelph’s labour force). Its diverse sector members range from high precision manufacturing and auto parts assembly to plastic injection moulding machines manufacturing and automation devices. This enables advanced manufacturing to be a strong driver of the local economy.

But, what is Advanced Manufacturing?

Advanced Manufacturing is the use of leading-edge advanced manufacturing methods and technologies in the pursuit of continuous improvement. This pursuit leads to implementing strategies such as

  • Kaizen blitz campaigns to uncover waste, process bottlenecks and outdated practices
  • the adoption of “lean” manufacturing processes (identifying waste and variability)
  • participation in High Performance Manufacturing Consortiums or other best-practices networking groups
  • belonging to industry trade groups
  • adopting technology to improve production, efficiency and profitability while reducing waste (including new technologies, robotics and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems
  • benchmarking, and
  • the ability to embrace change

For more information on advanced manufacturing, visit Advanced Manufacturing magazine’s website at

Business Case – Advanced Manufacturing

Information and Communication

Information and communication technology is an emerging and exciting cluster.  In Guelph there are over 100 companies in the Technology Economy Cluster including hardware manufacturers, software developers, website designers and more.

This emerging cluster is unique in that it crosses through other sectors such as Advanced Manufacturing, Environmental Technologies and Agri-food and Innovation by providing technical support systems. Guelph’s Technology Economy is a rapidly growing sector in the city.  Companies in this cluster have found Guelph a welcoming community with great support and unlimited intellectual capital.  Brain power runs the Technology Economy and Guelph’s niche of highly educated workers is the fuel in its engine.

Ontario’s IT industry is booming thanks to a:

  • Well-educated and wage-competitive workforce
  • Sophisticated R&D infrastructure
  • Positive investment climate
  • Strategic location in the heart of North America

This sector is supported by the City of Guelph, the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and Communitech.

Business Case – Information and Communication


Guelph and Wellington County is host to 2.2 million visitors every year.

Guelph Tourism markets tourism opportunities in Guelph with the key objective of having Guelph as a first choice to visit, to shop, to meet and to do business. Through partnerships with tourism stakeholders in the City of Guelph and the County of Wellington, we provide leadership in developing new initiatives to attract visitors, in rewarding partners for quality services and through continuously assessing new opportunities for tourism development.

Guelph is part of Ontario’s Regional Tourism Organization Four (RTO 4), which includes Wellington, Waterloo, Perth and Huron Counties. This association provides Guelph with access to tools and resources that are specifically designed to increase development of marketable tourism product as well as look for ways to increase the profile of Guelph.

The primary print publication is the annual Guelph and Area Visitor Guide, and organizations that Guelph Tourism Services is associated with also include Grand River Country, taste real Guelph Wellington Local Food, Downtown Guelph Business Association, Destination Guelph and the Guelph Fab 5.

For more information on Guelph Tourism Services: