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Karen Gallant, Communitech's director of talent networks, says expected layoffs at BlackBerry will free up a lot of local talent and could touch off a feeding frenzy among the region's hundreds of technology startups, eager for new blood.

Layoffs expected at the end of the week at BlackBerry could free up skilled workers and touch off a feeding frenzy among the hundreds of technology start-up firms in Waterloo Region that are hungry for talented new blood, according to a local recruiter for the region's technology industry.

"Companies are really quite anxious to snap up the talent that's coming out of BlackBerry," Karen Gallant, the director of talent networks at Communitech told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris Tuesday. 

"This is an opportunity for them to get a lot of highly educated, highly qualified individuals to help them grow their companies," she said, citing many of the mid-size and international technology firms in the region, such as  Desire2Learn, OpenText and Thalmic Labs.

"I think we're going to be very successful in keeping the majority of the talent here in Waterloo Region." 

Gallant said there are also many tech jobs in what she called "less traditional" environments, business that draw on software developers, project managers and quality assurance specialists such as insurance companies and academia. 

It's still unknown how many local jobs will be shed by smartphone maker BlackBerry when it slashes 4500 jobs in an effort to cut costs in the wake of a dismal second-quarter earnings report due on Friday.