BlackBerry may have helped put Waterloo, Ontario on the map, but as the New York Times reports, it's the local university that has transformed the city into a burgeoning hub of entrepreneurship. Widely acknowledged as one of the best technology schools in the world, the University of Waterloo used to serve as a talent pool for BlackBerry, which grew out of a project by alum Mike Lazaridis. With the company on the decline, however, many grads have begun turning their attention elsewhere, either creating their own startups such as Pebble, or joining American tech giants like Microsoft or Google, which opened up an office in neighboring Kitchener eight years ago.

"Waterloo is different," said Steven Woods, director of engineering at Google's Kitchener office. "It’s got this amazing university which has long been one of our top three recruiting universities for Google as a whole, worldwide."