HIVEX 2017: Recognizing Our Roots

Huzaifa Saeed

The 7th annual HIVEX conference is just around the corner, and there’s been a significant buzz about how far we’ve come in emerging as the premier networking and leadership organization for young professionals in the Hamilton region. However, it’s worth looking back and recognizing the leadership behind Hamilton HIVE’s founding in 2011.

Hamilton is Canada’s ninth largest city, and the third largest in Ontario. With major post-secondary institutions such as McMaster University, Mohawk College, and Redeemer University College, Hamilton is seen as a destination of choice for education and has become home to a growing class of young professionals.

The growth of the young adult population (aged 20-29) in Hamilton has been higher than the provincial average. However, being in proximity to competitive economies of the Greater Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo area, the city has always faced stiff competition in the retention of young families and professionals.

Hamilton's economy has only emerged from a tumultuous restructuring of its economy and evolution. Before that, with globalization pressures, the City's traditional manufacturing industries went through a considerable decline in employment, creating a negative aftershock on commercial areas and neighborhoods in the lower city.

To their credit the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and other anchor institutions began an intentional strategy to diversify our economy, focusing in particular on knowledge sector and our cultural assets.

However an entire generation of young professionals had grown up in these uncertain times. To dig deeper, in 2010 the Chamber initiated a research project called “Destination Hamilton: Values and Perceptions of Next Generation Talent”.

The results survey created significant interest in the community around the need for a Young Professionals Organization. Hamilton HIVE was launched at the 2011 Hamilton Economic Summit with the goal to attract, retain and advance young people in Hamilton.

Founded with the support of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Hamilton Economic Development, McMaster University, Mohawk College and key sponsors, it has grown from its humble beginnings of four subgroups to fostering over twenty-three today, reaching over 25,000 young professionals.  

HIVEX has played a critical role in the growth of the organization as our flagship event, bringing together our members, welcoming all newcomers and connecting them with some of Hamilton’s most influential leaders and business professionals.

On behalf of Hamilton HIVE’s leadership, our sincerest thanks and shout-out to the organizations and leadership that have played a role in the success of Hamilton HIVE and the HIVEX conference over the past seven years.

About the Author

Huzaifa Saeed is Policy and Research Analyst at Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and is a graduate from McMaster University. In his academic and professional experiences, Huzaifa has developed a variety of career interests in public policy, government relations, management consulting, creative industries and tech start-ups.