About 50 local, provincial and federal politicians and business people met Friday to figure out ways to help Ottawa's troubled tech sector.

Officials are working on a program called Coral CEA, which is meant to help tech firms develop new products and generate at least 200 jobs in its first year.

Ottawa cabinet minister and MPP Jim Watson organized the session and kicked it off by announcing a $44-million provincial program to help small software firms.

"This sector has been hurt with Nortel's demise and other firms closing or being sold off," Watson said, adding that he saw the former telecom giant's bankruptcy as a call to action.

"That acted as a catalyst for me, as a local MPP, to get our act together."

Other Coral partners include IBM, Nortel, Carleton University, the Eclipse Foundation and the IT Association of Canada.

Next week, a city committee will discuss a consultant's report that - because tech is growing slowly in Ottawa compared to other cities - calls upon officials to develop a program that will help sagging tech employment and allow small companies to grow.

The city expects to produce a report early next year on what actions are needed to boost Ottawa's tech economy. Among these efforts so far is Carleton's Lead to Win program for startups, which has already generated nearly $1 million in venture and provincial investment.