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Build the right management foundation at an early-stage for Cleantech innovators

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 12/02/2016 1480715188
INTRODUCTION The Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN) includes projects focussed on clean technologies like underground electric vehicles, energy efficie .... Read more

INTRODUCTION

The Ultra-Deep Mining Network (UDMN) includes projects focussed on clean technologies like underground electric vehicles, energy efficient hydraulic air compression, liquid air power, wind-powered energy generation, and geothermal energy projects. In this space, we’ve found that many of the key proponents come from smaller companies, often originating in academia, and as such, there are gaps to rapid scale-up that are both funding and skills based.

CHALLENGES

In order to support these potential rapid-growth firms, there must be early seed funding and market-driven technical support from the onset.  Then, as the technology moves closer to commercialization, the intensity of support must expand in scope.  Early stage companies need access to contacts, market intelligence, mentorship, training programs, and commercialization funding.  In a network setting, where innovators have preferred access to mining companies, academia, vendors, partners, and collaborators, it is easier to bridge the gap to commercialization and beyond but still requires significant effort and resources.

SOLUTIONS

There are significant enablers required for rapid growth companies to become large scale organizations.  For instance, they must have a competent workforce base, consistent funding, strong business and technical capability.  An organization’s ability to capitalize on these factors is contingent upon the culture and success that is stemmed from their initial commercialization efforts.  With a modest investment, the government ensures novel clean technologies make it to the commercialization stage. Then, they can support SME entrepreneurs by providing initial funding and develop strong management skills to enable rapidly scaling-up a successful innovation.  These dollars can come through grant funding that can be leveraged with risk capital or through financial vehicles that are tailored to the growth needs of these SME innovators.  However, they must be dependent upon strong technology management capabilities developed at an early stage, which set the foundation for organizational culture and all future decisions.

*Note:  For information about the Ultra-Deep Mining Network, please visit: https://www.miningdeep.ca/ 

Credit: Ultra-Deep Mining Network

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The Next Generation of Sustainable Buildings - Scaling Impact Across the Nation

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 11/25/2016 1480092772
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As the Honourable Kirsty Duncan noted in a speech on June 14, Canada already has world-renowned researchers in clean technology and is a global leader .... Read more

As the Honourable Kirsty Duncan noted in a speech on June 14, Canada already has world-renowned researchers in clean technology and is a global leader in this field. Accordingly, we would like to share with you a world-class opportunity to help make Canadians more adaptable and resilient and to create good jobs in the clean economy, driving growth and improving lives.

The Centre for Sustainability Excellence (CSE, working name) is being constructed in Waterloo Region’s David Johnson Research + Technology Park, land owned by the University of Waterloo. An environmental non-profit, Sustainable Waterloo Region, is leveraging an unprecedented partnership of public, private, academic and non-profit groups to construct a first-of-its-kind, regenerative-concept, multi-tenant office building.

This 100,000 square foot, leading-edge high-performance commercial office building will include a Clean-Economy innovation hub that leverages multi-sectoral involvement to advance Canada’s position as a world leader in clean economy development. This will actively translate ideas into new products and services to benefit all Canadians.

The CSE aims to be net-positive for energy, water, air, and waste and will help meet regional, provincial and national goals of carbon reduction and resource efficiency. The entire project is designed to be a centre of national and international learning about green technology. A very exciting part of this project is its investigation of the human psychology of behavioural sustainability. This emerging field will be explored through a research institute housed within the building. The institute aspires to have an endowed Canada research chair that will establish the country as a world leader in the psychology of sustainability. 

Research shows that human factors have considerable impact on the operation of high-performance buildings in Canada and around the world. Individual and collective habits and behaviours contribute significantly to the performance gap between what traditional green buildings say they can accomplish and what they actually end up using in energy and producing in carbon. This research institute will help us understand how to make clean technology actually work in the real world.

Additionally, integrating social aspects of sustainability will lead to the development of community and individual well-being, improving occupant wellbeing and productivity, and strengthening the business case for green thinking and investment.

Finally, and most importantly, the shift in thinking about how sustainability truly works for people will prove the business case for sustainability as an economic argument and be a catalyst for the development of the clean economy in Canada. The project will be scalable and replicable, and the development team is committed to sharing the learnings from this project in order to inspire others in the creation of similar projects.

Please see the attached document for a more in-depth introduction to Canada’s Centre for Sustainability Excellence.

Credit: Submitted by Janet Kimantas on behalf of Sustainable Waterloo Region

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Building businesses with a strong local foundation

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 11/08/2016 1478615942
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  The following is excerpted from Newspapers Canada's full submission, which is attached.   Minister Bains, in the same Toronto Star column, poin .... Read more

 

The following is excerpted from Newspapers Canada's full submission, which is attached.

 

Minister Bains, in the same Toronto Star column, pointed out that innovation “can be in a start-up garage in Vancouver, a mine in Saskatoon, or a fishery in Saint John.” In a recent interview with Canadian Business, he also raised the following issue: “We’re really good at starting up companies. Seventy thousand companies each year we start, approximately, but, how do we grow them?”

Canadian newspapers believe that we can do so through effective community advertising and marketing. There is a snowballing effect at play: as more people find out about a product/organization, even more people will learn about it (through word of mouth, promotions, etc.). For example, a book that is on the best-seller list will get even more sales by the virtue of being on that list, and after a certain point, it becomes so well-known that its status becomes secured. Innovative companies need a similar approach.

Community newspapers have a strong local voice and connections. Consequently, they can help build a brand bottom-up, with strong local support; they can first establish the status of a small innovative business within a community.

Community newspapers are able to effectively communicate to local audiences because they represent the neighbourhoods they serve and are able to target these communities. 62% of Canadians cite community newspapers as their medium of choice for local information. Of those who read community newspapers, 95% cite local information as their reason for reading community newspaper, and 67%, as advertising. A business with a strong community foundation will then be spread outward through further newspaper presence (e.g. article featuring the business) and word of mouth.

Indeed, many global businesses started out in such manner, as a strong community business before moving into other communities, states and provinces, and then countries. Take Burt’s Bees, for instance, which started at a small town in Maine. The business first built its reputation at a town craft fair, before establishing its name in Maine, then in New York, and so on.

As mentioned previously, Newspapers Canada strongly encourages the Canadian government to increase its advertisement spending in newspapers, as well as develop measures (e.g. tax credit) to incentivize Canadian businesses to increase their use of newspaper advertisement.

In addition, we propose that the Canada Periodical Fund be expanded for community newspapers. The rules need to be updated to encourage the production of Canadian content, not only to subsidize the distribution costs of paid circulation newspapers. Even though many community papers are reaching broad audiences with free circulation, they do not get support from the fund.

As shown above, community newspapers play a huge role in building a strong support network for businesses, and in order to do so, they need more support from the government and other businesses.

Credit: Newspapers Canada

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Growth through hubs and clusters

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 11/04/2016 1478267394
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Creating Innovation Service Hubs at colleges and institutes would provide cluster partners, local incubators and accelerators with a single point of e .... Read more

Creating Innovation Service Hubs at colleges and institutes would provide cluster partners, local incubators and accelerators with a single point of entry to the resources and facilities available on campus and offer direct support to student and community entrepreneurs. Amplifying the impact of Innovation Service Hubs with stable, scalable funding will ensure that businesses have the tools and talent they need to grow.

 

Read more in CICan’s full submission to the Innovation Agenda here: http://bit.ly/2ebHwvv

Credit: Colleges and Institutes Canada

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Establish a multi-sector Solutions Finance Agency

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 10/27/2016 1477603704
Financed by philanthropic, private, and public partners, the agency, possibly housed at BDC, would make available right-sized financing vehicles for e .... Read more

Financed by philanthropic, private, and public partners, the agency, possibly housed at BDC, would make available right-sized financing vehicles for each stage of the social innovation lifecycle from ideation to scale including: catalytic first-loss capital, demonstration funding, social R&D, matching dollars for intermediary platforms financing performance and outcomes vehicles, and scale capital, especially aligned with the 10 grand challenges.

Credit: Social Innovation Generation

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soutien aux pme dans un marché global

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 10/08/2016 1475920024
Tags:
financer des activités agricoles bio au Bénin et créer un partenariat dans le secteur agricole alimentaire canadien.  produits : noix de cajou, n .... Read more

financer des activités agricoles bio au Bénin et créer un partenariat dans le secteur agricole alimentaire canadien. 

produits : noix de cajou, noix de karité, soucheT,  sésame pois d angole. ...

Credit: Priscille Goussanou directrice de Ets la bonne terre spécialisé dans le trading des produits agricol

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soutien aux pme dans un marché global

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 10/08/2016 1475920022
Tags:
financer des activités agricoles bio au Bénin et créer un partenariat dans le secteur agricole alimentaire canadien.  produits : noix de cajou, n .... Read more

financer des activités agricoles bio au Bénin et créer un partenariat dans le secteur agricole alimentaire canadien. 

produits : noix de cajou, noix de karité, soucheT,  sésame pois d angole. ...

Credit: Priscille Goussanou directrice de Ets la bonne terre spécialisé dans le trading des produits agricol

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Support Ideas Tthat Promote Candian Foriegn Image

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 10/07/2016 1475855780
Is there a financial support for Canadian ideas that will help to promote Canadian image and the sometime help to provide  development for community .... Read more

Is there a financial support for Canadian ideas that will help to promote Canadian image and the sometime help to provide  development for community in Africa and Undeveloped countries. 

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Remove Unlawful Patent Barriers

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 10/06/2016 1475712574
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) should withdraw its patent-unfriendly examination policies, namely PN2013-02, PN2013-03, and PN2015-0 .... Read more

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) should withdraw its patent-unfriendly examination policies, namely PN2013-02, PN2013-03, and PN2015-02. These polices are not only completely contrary to Canadian law, but are stifling to innovation in the high-tech and biotechnology sectors. Companies are actively turning away from the Canadian market, and local innovators cannot commercialize their inventions without the prospect of a proprietary position. It is not realistic to expect innovators to challenge these policies in court time and time again.  CIPO should seriously examine who is setting these incorrect and anti-innovative policies and why.

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Concept for Fostering Innovation-I Prize

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 10/05/2016 1475684205
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Inspired by the XPrize program, the IPrize (I for innovation) incentivizes rapid development and resolution of challenges through cash awards. .... Read more

Inspired by the XPrize program, the IPrize (I for innovation) incentivizes rapid development and resolution of challenges through cash awards.

Credit: This idea belongs to a constituent, Mr. Dan McLaughlin, Riverview, NB

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Supporting Job Creation through SMEs: Proposal for the Development of a Support and Innovation Network for Small Enterprises (SINSE)

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 10/03/2016 1475506203
Tags: SME  innovation  employment 
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have a demonstrated potential to further job creation in Canada. Between 2005 and 2015, 87.7% of all new job .... Read more

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have a demonstrated potential to further job creation in Canada. Between 2005 and 2015, 87.7% of all new jobs in Canada were created in small businesses while another 7.7% were created by medium sized enterprises.  

Nevertheless, SMEs struggle with several significant challenges:

  • Building a sustainable innovation initiative and having the capacity to execute it fully
  • Competing efficiently in a digital world
  • Competing successfully on a global scale
  • Successfully adopting technologies (including access to HQP talent pools)
  • Gaining access to advanced research and research infrastructure

Although several federal and provincial programs have been put into place to promote the growth of SMEs, many firms fail to take advantage of these incentives either because they are uninformed, they are unaware, or they lack the expertise to negotiate the process.  These hurdles limit SME’s ability to fully engage with, and contribute to, Canada’s entrepreneurial and creative society. We propose to overcome these problems with a targeted initiative.

Over the course of the past few decades, Canada has increasingly become a knowledge-based economy (KBE). Its economic success depends on the ability of individuals and organisations to connect and share their knowledge and experience. Large businesses have historically been successful at creating and maintaining their own networks. However, SMEs are at an informational disadvantage, primarily owing to their size. This proposal suggests the development of a Support and Innovation Network for Small Enterprises (SINSE) to aid SMEs in participating in the KBE.

The SINSE’s  aim is to increase the competitiveness of SMEs with the ultimate goal of promoting economic growth through the creation of gainful and lasting employment for Canadians. Networks of this type do exist, with varying levels of formality and scope, across the country. However, a more formalized structure across the country would better enable the government to monitor success, work with the various network members, and promote innovations in network structure.

Collaboration through the SINSE will ensure that SMEs receive the support they need from universities and government at all levels. By connecting SMEs to various programs, services, mentors, experts, investors, and those actors’ networks, SMEs will be better equipped with the knowledge needed to tackle barriers to growth and increase employment nationwide.

Credit: Concordia University/Office of the Provost/David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise

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How can Canada better support the scale-up of innovative companies into the next generation of billion-dollar global players?

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/29/2016 1475167667
Every day, Canada’s CPAs focus their energies on growing business for their employers, clients, or for their own firms. CPAs are well acquainted .... Read more

Every day, Canada’s CPAs focus their energies on growing business for their employers, clients, or for their own firms. CPAs are well acquainted with the challenges and barriers Canadian entrepreneurs face in fully realizing their ambitions. We will focus our response to this question on three themes: government’s role in building demand for Canada’s innovations; ensuring that policies are properly targeted and have the right incentives to encourage innovation and growth; and the role of the tax system in promoting innovation and, more importantly, in creating a positive business environment.

 

Building demand for innovations

 

As mentioned at the top of this paper, much of the discussion around innovation usually involves the supply-side incentives to encourage investment in research and development and the hope that such investments will actually lead to innovation. But entrepreneurs have told us, “I don’t need another government grant, I need a customer.” In this regard, government could be playing a much more constructive role.

 

One of the six recommendations of the expert panel on the Review of Federal Support to Research and Development, more commonly known as the Jenkins Report for the panel’s chair, Tom Jenkins, was to “make business innovation one of the core objectives of (government) procurement.”[1]

 

The panel’s report explained, “The government’s procurement and related programming must be used to create opportunity and demand for leading-edge goods, services and technologies from Canadian suppliers, thereby fostering the development of innovative and globally competitive Canadian companies while also stimulating innovation and greater productivity in the delivery of public sector goods and services.”

 

Businesses respond best to market forces. Where there is a demand, they will invest in order to meet that market opportunity. The federal government spends approximately $16.05 billion each year on a diverse range of goods and services for federal departments and agencies. Yet compared to many other countries, Canada does not effectively use this buying power to stimulate innovation in Canadian firms. Peers and competitors such as the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia and a number of European countries all have programs that channel government procurement contracts to support innovation and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

 

Government procurement decisions are based largely on a bid’s costs and technical merits. Certainly, as professional accountants, CPA Canada strongly encourages such a responsible focus on ensuring tax dollars are spent wisely. But accountants also understand that value can be determined by more than just a bid’s cost. Expanding on the Jenkins recommendation, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, among others, argued that Canada should develop a government procurement strategy with a focus on “best overall value to Canada.” [2] Such a strategy might include domestic innovation as one of the criteria for assessing procurement bids. The Jenkins panel suggests procurement requests should be based on outcomes-oriented specifications rather than detailed technical specifications that constrict innovation.

 

We should acknowledge here that the federal Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) is an initiative that helps to address this need for demand-side assistance. As the program was made permanent in 2012, it would be timely to review its performance and adjust it as necessary. And to be clear, we are not proposing a protectionist Canada-first policy. The overall objective of government procurement must remain choosing the bids that best meet Canada’s needs. Bids from international suppliers help to enhance competition and provide access to best-of-class technologies. Nevertheless, a procurement strategy would recognize added value when a bid supports innovation and the growth of Canadian SMEs.

 

A well-constructed government procurement strategy would assist domestic small businesses to scale up by providing that all-important first sale, help introduce more innovation into the delivery of government programs and services, and help to ensure a return on the government’s investments (through grants and tax credits) in the product’s initial research and development. It would also incent international bidders to seek Canadian partners, suppliers and sub-contractors, and facilitate the transfer of technology.

 

However, developing a procurement strategy that supports innovation would not be an easy exercise for government. The strategy would have to be developed with great care to ensure that the procurement process remains clear and transparent, that it complies with international trade obligations, that it is not subject to political interference, and that the prudent allocation of tax dollars remains a top priority.

 

Targeting policies for growth

 

Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comprise more than 99 per cent of the number of businesses in Canada and contribute almost 40 per cent to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).[3] Small businesses alone, which are defined as having between one and 99 employees, account for almost 98 per cent of all businesses in the country, over 70 per cent of private-sector employees and roughly 30 per cent of GDP. Based on those data, it is understandable that government would design programs and tax preferences that favour small businesses in an effort to encourage them to grow.

 

However, the size of the firm may not always be the best basis for policies if growth is the intended result. In fact, programs and policies that favour small firms may inadvertently become a disincentive for those firms to grow beyond a certain threshold. We are often told that small businesses are the job creators in our economy, but the reality is that it is young firms and fast-growing firms that create the most employment, regardless of their size.[4]

 

 

This is borne out by OECD data that compares job growth in start-ups at three, five and seven year intervals. The data shows positive job growth in the first two or three years after formation of start-ups, a trend that is consistent across the surveyed countries. However, “little or no additional net job creation” is recorded beyond the third year for Canadian start-ups. The numbers are even more striking when Canada is compared to the other OECD countries surveyed as almost all show continued job growth after seven years.[5]

 

The latest OECD Economic Survey of Canada highlights “lackluster small business dynamism” as a concern, noting “there seems to be a comparatively large share of small old firms, which contribute less to productivity and employment growth.”[6] The reality is that not all small businesses have the potential or desire to grow, but government policies that target the SME sector as a whole, treat all SMEs as if they have the same potential. If growth is the desired outcome, government policies should be more narrowly focused on those firms that, in the words of Red Wilson’s Competition Policy Review Panel, “demonstrate the desire and capacity to grow to become large enterprises.”[7]  

 

Depending on the intended outcome, a better approach to metrics would be to target new firms, mid-sized firms, or firms that have achieved a consistently high rate of growth for several consecutive years. (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada have accepted a good definition of high-growth firms: firms growing by 20 per cent or more annually for three years.) The government has already taken a positive step in this direction by announcing in Budget 2016 its intent to launch a new initiative to help high-impact firms scale up and further their global competitiveness.

 

Tax measures

 

Canada has relied heavily on the tax system to encourage business investment in research and development, particularly through the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit program. Still, there is more the government could be doing to stimulate other factors of innovation.

 

Even though Canada invests much more heavily in indirect support of research and development (through the SR&ED program) than most other OECD countries, the results have been rather disappointing. The Jenkins report addressed this imbalance between indirect and direct support and the government responded with a number of changes to SR&ED in the 2012 federal budget. SR&ED is an important program for Canadian businesses, but it is flawed and would benefit from further refinement. We draw attention here to two significant weaknesses in the SR&ED program.

 

The first problem is a bias – as discussed in the section above – toward small businesses. Certainly, small businesses face particular challenges such as fewer internal resources and difficulties accessing capital. The SR&ED program is particularly helpful for many small businesses in addressing those issues, especially in their early stages.

 

But large businesses face their own challenges. A Canadian division of a multinational enterprise must compete for research mandates with other international divisions. One component of SR&ED is an investment tax credit which, for SMEs, is fully refundable. That is not the case for large firms. This creates particular challenges for the Canadian divisions of U.S.-based multinationals because the interplay between the Canadian and U.S. tax regimes makes a non-refundable credit less relevant, if at all.

 

While an argument can be made that young firms which have little, if any, revenue require full refundability on unused credits, we recommend removing the size bias by making the credit partially refundable for businesses of all sizes.

 

SR&ED suffers from a second bias: the one against capital expenditures. As a result of the 2012 reforms, capital expenditures were removed from the eligible expenses. This may cause businesses to favour one type of research activity over another. As noted in our pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, we recommend that capital expenditures be reinstated for eligibility under SR&ED.[8]

 

Despite the generosity of Canada’s SR&ED program, R&D investment by Canadian firms lags many other OECD countries. But the real concern is Canada’s record of commercializing the product of its R&D. As PricewaterhouseCoopers senior economist Mark Parsons has pointed out, a competitive tax environment across the entire innovation value chain is needed.[9] In other words, the “push” incentive of R&D tax credits needs to be balanced by a favourable tax rate for commercialization of innovations, or a “pull” factor.

 

The 2008 final report of the Advisory Panel on Canada’s System of International Taxation expressed concern that businesses often choose to move intellectual property out of Canada rather than locating IP-related activity here where it would contribute to Canada’s tax base. The panel (which included former CPA Canada President and CEO Kevin Dancey) recommended that the government consider taxing income derived from intellectual property at a preferential rate.[10]  Since that time, a number of countries – and most recently, the province of Quebec – have done exactly that by adopting a tax measure known as a “patent box”.

 

 

 

Economist Finn Poschmann (also a member of the Advisor Panel on Canada’s System of International Taxation) has pointed out that the patent box helps compensate for the above-mentioned weaknesses in SR&ED and, more importantly, focuses on outcomes rather than inputs. “For the SR&ED, it is the spending that counts, and it doesn’t have to be connected to any useful outcomes.” [11]

 

As Poschmann points out, while a patent box would improve Canada’s international tax competitiveness, the real benefit is “co-location” – that is, businesses choosing to locate both their R&D activities and their manufacturing in the same jurisdiction leading to improvements in productivity, jobs and economic growth. Many of Canada’s peers and competitors have already introduced patent boxes so it is also a matter of remaining competitive.

 

The Jenkins report noted Canada’s weak venture capital market and the challenges innovation-focused businesses face accessing the capital to grow. The federal government responded with a significant investment in venture capital to be managed through the Business Development Bank of Canada. But gaps in risk-capital financing still remain. British Columbia, through its Venture Capital Corporation (VCC) program, has developed a tax measure that has proved successful in filling some of that gap. Under VCC, an “angel” investment tax credit program encourages early-stage investment by providing a refundable tax credit of 30 per cent to investors in eligible small businesses.

 

The value of such a tax credit is that it reduces the level of risk for what is obviously a high-risk investment – an approach that has been very successful for countries such as Israel. The B.C. program, which received additional funding in the 2016 provincial budget, has proved to be successful even during challenging economic circumstances.[12] It is a program that should be considered nationally.

 

CPA Canada has called for many years for reform and simplification of Canada’s tax system, including the myriad of existing tax credits. We applaud the work that Finance Canada is doing to review tax expenditures and hope that will result in a more rigorous framework for assessing future tax credits. We acknowledge that our recommendations regarding a patent box and angel investor tax credit would further complicate an already complex Income Tax Act. Ideally, we would prefer to see the work of the tax expenditure review completed before the government considers new tax credits, even those we support.

 

This brings us to our final comment about tax measures – the system itself. As mentioned, we have called on the government for some time now to conduct a thorough review of Canada’s income tax system with the objective of simplifying it and improving its fairness, efficiency and international competitiveness. We fully understand the magnitude of the task, but no single government initiative could have more impact on improving the business environment, spurring innovation, improving the delivery of government services, and promoting the well-being of Canadians, than modernizing Canada’s income tax system.

 

Recommendations:

 

  • Develop a strategy to more effectively use government procurement to stimulate demand for innovation, business growth and investment.
  • Ensure government programs and policies are more effectively targeted to encourage growth and innovation.
  • Enhance the SR&ED tax credit program by making it partially refundable for all businesses, regardless of size, and by repealing the exclusion of capital expenditures as eligible expenses.
  • Implement a patent box to incent R&D in Canada and encourage Canadian businesses to develop, commercialize and retain patents in Canada.
  • After the conclusion of the tax expenditure review, explore the efficacy of an angel investment tax credit similar to the program offered in British Columbia.
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of Canada’s income tax system with the goal of modernizing and simplifying it to make it more internationally competitive and ease the burden on Canadian business.

 

[1] Innovation Canada: A Call to Action, Review of Federal Support to Research and Development – Expert Panel Report, October 2011.

[2] Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Strategic Government Procurement: Driving business investment and innovation through strategic government procurement, September 2012.

[3] Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, SME Research and Statistics, downloaded at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/061.nsf/eng/home.

[4] Business Development Bank of Canada, High-Impact Firms: Accelerating Canadian Competitiveness, 2015.

[5] Calvino, F., C. Criscuolo, and C. Menon (2016), “No Country for Young Firms?: Start-up Dynamics and National Policies”, OECD Science, Technology and Industry Policy Papers, No. 29, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5jm22p40c8mw-en

[6] OECD Economic Surveys: Canada, OECD 2016.

[7] Industry Canada, Compete to Win, Final Report of the Competition Policy Review Panel, June 2008.

[8] CPA Canada, 2016 Pre-Budget Consultation, https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/the-cpa-profession/about-cpa-canada/cpa-canadas-key-activities/government-relations/federal-budget/federal-2016-pre-budget-submission-summer

[9] Parsons, Mark, Rewarding Innovation: Improving Federal Tax Support for Business R&D in Canada, C.D. Howe Institute, September, 2011.

[10] Advisory Panel on Canada’s System of International Taxation, Enhancing Canada’s International Tax Advantage, December 2008.

[11] Poschmann, Finn, Quebec thinks inside the box – Ottawa should follow suit, Globe and Mail, p.B3, March 21, 2016.

[12] Philp, Tanner, The State of Venture Capital Investing in BC, ICABC: Beyond Numbers, April 2009, available from CPA British Columbia at http://www.bccpa.ca/legacy/profiles-publications/publications/icabc-beyond-numbers/additional-archives/2009/beyond-numbers-april-2009/on-the-cover-the-state-of-venture-capital-investi/.

Credit: Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

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Strategie de devellopement d'entreprise dans le secteur de matières première, recyclage et transformation.

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/29/2016 1475140390
Tags:
Au Canada nous cherchons toujours des façons de devenir plus vert. Pourquoi ne pas mélanger virage au vert avec création d'entreprise rentables. M .... Read more

Au Canada nous cherchons toujours des façons de devenir plus vert. Pourquoi ne pas mélanger virage au vert avec création d'entreprise rentables.

Mon idée va comme ceci. Nous avons deja au Canada plusieurs entrepreneur qui on pris en main e travail de recuperer les contenant de jus et de boisson vide. Ils sont partout au Canada et se sont repartit en suivant les bassins de populations. Ils peuvent survivre grace au dépôts que les consommateurs paye a l'epicerie et a la comission de liqueur. 10 sous ou 20 sous dependament du contenant.la moitier est debourser pour financer les centre de recyclage et l'autre moitier pour recompenser les co sommateurs de recycler leur contenants. 

Pouquoi ne serais t'il pas possible de faire la même chose avec les pneus, les contenant de plastique, les contenant de verre, boites de conserve, contenant d'aluminium alimentaire, emmballage de carton, sac de plastique, ect... Tous ses produits se termine dans la nature ou aux ordures car ils n'on aucune valeur aux yeux des consommateur. Mais si des dépôts serais instaurée pour chacun des ses contenant, emballage et produits. Il se renderais au moins point de collecte que les contenant de jus et de boisson vide. L'infrastructure de transport et d'entreposage est déjà presente et les centre de recyclage sont deja bien repartit. Il ne faudrais plus qu'a aggrendir et ameliorer ses centre et cree des entreprise qui utiliserais ses matiere premiere a nouveau. Une entreprise pour chaque categorie de materiaux (exemple carton demballage) et ensuite cree des entreprise aui font la transformation de ses materiaux (exemple transformation de carton d'emballage en papier de toilette ou boite de carton).

Les depots pour chacun des emballage devrais etre bas sois 2 sous. 1 sous pour les consommateur et 1sous pour le centre de recyclege. Pour d'autre produit telle les pneus plus élevée encourageant ainsi leur recyclage d'avantage. La concentration des ses materiaux renderais ca possible. Car le plus grand obstacle a la creation de se genre d'entreprise est l'obtention de la matière première.

Le montant du depot pourrais etre apposser aur les.emballage juste a cote du signe recyclable.

Cette initiative aurais de grande repercussion sur la creation dentreprise' d'emplois manufacturier, la reduction des déchets domestique et la recuperation de matieres première. 

Plusieur autre programme pourrais etre mit en place telle.que le recyclge d'huile de cuisson, metaux et appareils electroniques. Qui pourrais egalement etre fait a partir de depots ou acheter selon leur valeur marchande. Mais les gens le ferais parce quil irais deja vendre leur matiere recyclable d'avance. Des magasin de revente 2 iem main pourrais egalement etre mit sur pied pour encourager la reutilisation des vetement apparejl electronique ettout autre bien au lieu de les jeter aux vidange. Les gens utiliserais ses service pour recuperer un peu d'argent et dautre pour profiter des aubaines et des produits peu dispendieux.

Voila mon idee a vous de décider si elle est applicable et rentable sois pour les entreprise la popultion et le Canada en entier.

Merci de votre initiative c'est incroyable que les canadien ayent enfin un endroit ou partager leurs idées.

Jean-Simon Doiron

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Leverage public and private sector investment in ocean research and infrastructure by supporting ocean innovation and entrepreneurship in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/28/2016 1475080959
Tags:
Since 2010, over $800 million has been invested in research and infrastructure related to cold ocean and Arctic science, technology, and social scienc .... Read more

Since 2010, over $800 million has been invested in research and infrastructure related to cold ocean and Arctic science, technology, and social sciences and humanities at Memorial. This, on top of 60-plus years of ever-growing capacity in this area, has firmly established Memorial as a world-leader (as evidenced by its recently being awarded a share of nearly $100 million as part of the Canada First Research Excellence Program, along with Dalhousie University and the University of Prince Edward Island), and a core part of an Atlantic Canada Ocean Innovation Cluster that has given rise to many scientific and engineering breakthroughs, and many very successful companies that do business all over the world. But this great success is only just the beginning. There is a great deal more innovative work that can be done.

Federal investment in innovation supports and infrastructure, such as the Marine Institute’s Holyrood Marine Base and the Oil Spill Response Centre of Excellence (Sedna Centre), along with support for increased incubation and acceleration of ocean innovation firms, will further cultivate and strengthen connections between the university and the private sector in Newfoundland and Labrador and across the North, and have significant positive benefits for the entire country.

Credit: Memorial University of Newfoundland

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Farmer Minimum Wage Program

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/26/2016 1474911212
Tags:
See attached image on how to implement Farmer Minimum Wage Program.

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Invest in mining supply & service companies that want to scale up, help protect their IP and support their employees to increase their business knowledge

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/23/2016 1474660896
Tags: mining 
Recognize the contributions that mining supply and services companies could make if they were to scale up and expand globally. Some 80% of mining su .... Read more
  1. Recognize the contributions that mining supply and services companies could make if they were to scale up and expand globally. Some 80% of mining supply and service company revenues come from within Canada.
  2. Provide risk capital to qualified Canadian mining supply and service companies to expand their businesses with new technology offerings.
  3. Provide resources to secure high value made in Canada intellectual property.
  4. Support Business and Commercialization services from organizations such as CEMI to enhance the SME community to advance their products to market sooner.
Credit: Centre for Excellence In Mining Innovation, CEMI

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Find follow-on working capital to scale up successful ventures

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/21/2016 1474486376
Tags:
I find it odd that I am able, indeed encouraged, by government to spend several thousand dollars on lottery tickets every year. If I wanted to invest .... Read more

I find it odd that I am able, indeed encouraged, by government to spend several thousand dollars on lottery tickets every year. If I wanted to invest a similar amount in a diversified portfolio of Canadian companies seeking scale-up financing it would be practically impossible. Accredited investors can participate in investment clubs or make direct investments in second+ rounds of equity financing, but only that tiny fraction of the population with multi-millions burning a hole in their pockets can generate the range and diversity of investments to make such a strategy successful.

Part of the problem is our archaic and provincial system of securities regulation. Part of the problem is the cost of identifying, analyzing and monitoring potential investment opportunities. But surely in this age of block chain contracts, on-line communities and range and depth of Canadian fintech talent, a way could be found to channel private Canadian investment funds into portfolios of Canadian companies seeking to finance their growth from $1MM in annual sales to $100MM.

  

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4e révolution industrielle : l'urgence de collaborer pour innovation

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/16/2016 1474049841
Tags: entrepreneurs 
Dans le cadre des stratégies de recherche et d’innovation qui s’élaborent à Québec et à Ottawa, l’ADRIQ travaille depuis quelqu .... Read more

Dans le cadre des stratégies de recherche et d’innovation qui s’élaborent à Québec et à Ottawa, l’ADRIQ travaille depuis quelques mois à la rédaction d’un mémoire que nous sommes fiers de rendre public. Au cours de ce processus, nous avons eu l’occasion d’échanger avec de multiples organisations et intervenants de l’écosystème de la recherche et de l’innovation au Québec. Nous croyons que la teneur du mémoire reflète les principales préoccupations des différents intervenants et les enjeux majeurs auxquels nous sommes confrontés.

L’objectif de  ce mémoire : à l’occasion des prochains budgets, provoquer le déploiement de politiques publiques annonçant des conditions, mesures et ressources favorables permettant à nos sociétés et nos entreprises de devenir des organisations plus innovantes.

Un tel travail de rédaction demeure forcément incomplet et nous vous invitons à poursuivre les échanges avec notre équipe et à demeurer à l’affut des événements liés aux consultations en cours.

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Cost Effectively Building Canadian Space and Satellite Companies

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/16/2016 1474037227
Tags:
This idea involves 3 related and complementary initiatives. Canadian Satellite Design Challenge A Canadian Entrepreneurial Space 'boot camp' A Ca .... Read more

This idea involves 3 related and complementary initiatives.

  1. Canadian Satellite Design Challenge
  2. A Canadian Entrepreneurial Space 'boot camp'
  3. A Canadian Space and Satellite Incubator

The Canadian Satellite Design Challenge is a national inter-university competition to build a Cubesat. Teams are required to design, build and finance their project. Every two years a winner is selected based on their performance at Design Reviews, in testing, and in outreach to their community. The competition builds new ideas for space applications and gives university students experience that is very close to industry. Projects with commercial merit become candidates for the Incubator.

A Canadian Space "Boot Camp" follows on the success of the International Space University's Summer Space Program. SSP is a 10 week program where select students from around the world are taught a broad range of space-related subjects, culminating in an entrepreneurial project. For Canada, a similar shorter program could be focused on Canadian students and on developing business concepts for Canada. Promising projects could feed the Incubator - or entrants to the Incubator could start at the 'boot camp' to get their concept started.

A space focused incubator draws on the success of incubators/accelerators such as the UK's Space Catapult. Space and satellites is an emerging and booming industry and there are many opportunities for innovation in the industry. The challenge is that there's a particularly high barrier to entry even just in terms of understanding the concepts, technology, business and regulatory environment. A space focused incubator would provide companies assistance in those areas, office space to work form, assistance with developing and testing their product, and access to industry expertise. 

The European Space Agency has a model called the ESA-BIC (Business Incubation Centre). ESA provides development access to any ESA owned IP as well as funding for up to 10 start ups per year for 3 years. As an ESA member state, Canada qualifies for this program. A single ESA-BIC can be headquartered in one city, with 'satellite' units across the country.

Credit: Canadian Satellite Design Challenge (Larry Reeves, et al.); International Space University, ESA-BIC

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Promote the use of Canadian companies

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/15/2016 1473962835
Tags: entrepreneurs  apps 
Promote companies based in Canada by using their product. For example, you could use Wantoo for this ideation tool you have built here. :)

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Canada’s network of Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs)

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/15/2016 1473954686
Canada’s innovation strategy has made significant investments in resources for discovery, knowledge generation and invention, propelling the nat .... Read more

Canada’s innovation strategy has made significant investments in resources for discovery, knowledge generation and invention, propelling the nation to be a leader in science and technology.   

Numerous innovation reports, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA), provide evidence that Canada is amongst the leaders in basic research or science and technology.   This is a strength Canada can build on by complementing it with resources for innovation activities such as prototyping, demonstration, testing, and scale up.   Canada’s network of Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) is the appropriate resource to support this effort.

Canada’s network of RTOs. Organized through Innoventures Canada (I-CAN), is already facilitating business scale up with capabilities in product and process development, test, demonstration, piloting, optimization and commercialization serving thousands of Canadian businesses annually.  The core mission of Research and Technology Organizations is to harness science and technology in the service of innovation.  In executing this mandate, RTOs work closely with industry to help them pursue opportunities and solve problems.   This involves new product and process development, test, optimization, demonstration through to implementation.   A variety of labels have been used to describe these services; applied innovation, market-led innovation, incremental innovation, market-pull innovation, business-led innovation, etc.   Whatever descriptor is utilized, it is the aspect of Canada’s eco-innovation system that has been overlooked and requires attention for Canada’s innovation engine to fire on both cylinders.

Supporting the scale up of Canada’s innovative companies will require:

  1. Support of infrastructure needed and in demand by business, i.e. RTOs;
  2. Funds for the business to help them de-risk scale up projects;
  3. Support in exporting and sales to help business secure customers.
Credit: Eric Cook, P.Eng on behalf of the Board of Innoventures Canada

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Firm consolidation is an important component

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/13/2016 1473781484
Tags:
Canada has too many un-competitive small and medium-sized technology-oriented firms.  A program is needed to help private investors consolidate SMEs .... Read more

Canada has too many un-competitive small and medium-sized technology-oriented firms.  A program is needed to help private investors consolidate SMEs in key sectors into efficient medium and large-size companies.  Similarly, many of these firms are run by entrepreneur/founders with no practical succession plans.  Firm consolidation would aid their exit strategies.

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Markets are the primary supporters of scale-up

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/13/2016 1473781234
Tags:
Markets will primarily determine the ability of Canadian firms to scale-up, not governments. Government innovation policy is nominally focussed on SM .... Read more

Markets will primarily determine the ability of Canadian firms to scale-up, not governments.

Government innovation policy is nominally focussed on SMEs - actually on small companies, not medium-sized ones.  But medium-sized companies are, by definition, the large companies of tomorrow.  Innovation policy needs an explicit focus on medium-sized companies.  A recent BDC study (https://www.bdc.ca/EN/Documents/other/BDC_study_mid_sized_firms.pdf) indicates there are only about 7,800 medium-sized firms in all of Canada, in all sectors.  Technology-oriented firms are a small part of these.  Governments' focus need to shift explicitly to medium-sized firms.

 

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De-risk entrepreneurship - guaranteed income

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/12/2016 1473696616
In order to encourage smart and ambitious innovators to leave their stable and often lucrative positions in government, academia or other workplaces, .... Read more

In order to encourage smart and ambitious innovators to leave their stable and often lucrative positions in government, academia or other workplaces, offer fall-back compensation to entrepreneurs in the first two years of company start-up. This could make the difference for young people with new families and/or financial insecurity to get going, but may also encourage seasoned professionals or researchers to take the plunge on a risky idea that could be revolutionary!

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Intellectual Property and Canada’s Innovation Agenda

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/09/2016 1473451491
Intellectual property is a fundamental element in the growth of innovative companies. In essence, entrepreneurs learn about IP, identify the intellect .... Read more

Intellectual property is a fundamental element in the growth of innovative companies. In essence, entrepreneurs learn about IP, identify the intellectual property that they create or acquire, seek protection for that IP (e.g. in the form of a registered trademark, patent, industrial design, or copyright), and then exploit the IP by manufacturing a product, licensing the IP, selling a branded service, seeking financing or partners, etc.

Because innovation and intellectual property are inextricably linked, countries that are global innovation leaders have robust IP systems. These systems function effectively because of many elements including legislation, education, incentives, and the way each IP actor performs to sustain innovation. Accordingly, IPIC has identified issues at the intersections of the key IP steps and the six areas for action and, in this submission, provides recommendations to help make Canada a global innovation leader.

Credit: Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC)

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Diagnostic Innovation

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/09/2016 1473433431
Tags:
Beaucoup d’entreprises développent des produits en fonction d’opportunités uniques et trop souvent exprimés par un seul client. Pis enc .... Read more

Beaucoup d’entreprises développent des produits en fonction d’opportunités uniques et trop souvent exprimés par un seul client. Pis encore, lorsque de bonnes idées se traduisent en projet, la majorité d’entre elles ne se concrétise pas en avantage concurrentiel rentable pour l’entreprise. Malheureusement, le développement de produits ou de services ne devrait pas se faire en marge de la stratégie d'affaires ou dans une optique à court terme de satisfaction du client. Au contraire, il devrait s'aligner et même, s’intégrer à la stratégie d’affaires, car c’est uniquement de cette façon que l’innovation permettra de réinventer constamment l’entreprise en fonction de l'évolution de son environnement d'affaires. 

De nombreux outils et bonnes pratiques sont disponibles pour la gestion de la créativité et de l'innovation, mais demeurent méconnus et sous-utilisés par les gestionnaires. Dans l’optique de former toutes les personnes impliquées dans le processus de créativité et d’innovation, un diagnostic pourrait être réalisé par un conseiller impartial. À la lumière de ses observations, un plan d'action adapté à la stratégie d'affaires et l'environnement concurrentiel pourrait être élaboré par l’équipe de direction. Ce qui permettrait de guider les gestionnaires dans le choix et la priorisation des actions à mettre en place visant à déployer un cadre de gestion de l'innovation formellement intégré à la stratégie d'affaires. 

Une politique de l’innovation pourrait par la suite mettre à la disposition des entreprises les ressources financières nécessaires à la formation des employés et aux projets de transformation organisationnelle. Au final, le conseiller ayant réalisé le diagnostic pourrait valider le transfert des connaissances à travers la gestion quotidienne des opérations et reformuler de nouvelles observations. 

Il va sans dire qu’un diagnostic innovation constituerait un excellent point de départ pour toute entreprise désireuse de soutenir son développement en innovation et soucieuse de le faire méthodiquement.

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Re-Training Canadians to Meet Labour Market Needs

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/08/2016 1473347407
Tags: labour  training 
As Canadian industries are becoming more specialized, more digitally driven and more responsive to change, there are fewer and fewer jobs that don&rsq .... Read more

As Canadian industries are becoming more specialized, more digitally driven and more responsive to change, there are fewer and fewer jobs that don’t require Canadians to have the capacity to learn, to decode new information and to be resilient in the face of new skill requirements. Over 1.31 million Canadians are facing unemployment due to unprecedented technological changes and ever-increasing skill demands. Canadian employers are operating in an increasingly complex and competitive marketplace; if the skill levels of Canada’s workforce continue to fall below the global average, lower productivity will negatively impact Canada’s competitiveness and put at risk opportunities for future economic advancement.

Growth in the size of Canada’s labour force—expected to increase by as much as four million people by 2031—isn’t the solution to the skills gap we see across the country. In fact, this growth will quickly bring greater need for workplace skills upgrading to meet the challenges of an increasingly diverse, multicultural and multi-generational workforce.

ABC Life Literacy Canada has identified an urgent need in Canada for essential skills training in the workforce. To unlock business value in today’s market, employers need a competitive edge – and that means having employees with strong essential skills. Without these foundational skills all other training is less effective.

Due to the growing skills gap, employers are experiencing a shortage of qualified labour to meet their business needs. In order to close this gap and decrease unemployment in Canada, it is critical that we work to reorient training to meet labour market demands in order to provide Canada’s workforce with pathways for better employment. By providing employees with training that both addresses essential skills and meets business needs, employers will experience business impacts that benefit their bottom-line.

Employers understand the need for a highly skilled workforce. They can see the benefit of employee development, commitment and retention, but few see the training solution that literacy and essential skills training can provide. Promoting literacy and essential skills training as a way of increasing employability, must become a national priority to enhance Canadians’ financial security, health and well-being, as well as our standard of living and economic competitiveness in the years ahead. Investing in learning now will give Canada a strong return on investment and support the scale-up of innovative companies now and in the future.

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Better Intelligence and Assistance for Companies

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/07/2016 1473274896
Tags:
Google began as a startup in a garage and we remain a startup at heart. We are strongly committed to supporting entrepreneurship and experimentation a .... Read more

Google began as a startup in a garage and we remain a startup at heart. We are strongly committed to supporting entrepreneurship and experimentation around the world, and we believe that, with the right mixture of ingenuity, market awareness and community support, small ideas can grow into world-changing businesses and organizations.

Growing a business from an idea to a globally competitive enterprise requires support from a variety of sources: the founders’ friends and family, the existing business community and government at all levels. Entrepreneurs have better chances of succeeding with access to mentoring, technical infrastructure, the opportunity to meet potential co-founders and investors, and access to programs that expose them to business skills, financing opportunities, and technical advice.

As we focus on “scaling up,” we must value anyone who is willing to take on risk and create value in the growth of their business. This can mean an entrepreneur, or it can mean an executive at a well-established company that has yet to make a significant investment in tech adoption, more sophisticated product development and accelerated growth in the global marketplace.

Whether a tech startup or not, technology can play an important role in helping launch and grow a business. Even just moving to cloud-based services for internal business processes like research, human resources, and payroll can result in improved processes and lower fixed costs.

How can Canada help? We can suggest three areas for improvement:

  • Metrics. As the government focuses on supporting a network of incubators and accelerators, it must focus its energies and limited funds on facilities that have a track record of success. It must develop and track metrics that identify those facilities that have: a strong connection to their local community; been influential in growing the local ecosystem of entrepreneurs; a track record of participant businesses growing and graduating beyond the start-up phase; and are clearly identified with a growing market that requires product or technical specialization.  
  • Interaction with Government. A concerted effort must be put behind creating convenient and relevant contact points for entrepreneurs and executives to access government data and analysis. There are reams of domestic and international market intelligence locked up in dozens of silos across Canadian government departments and agencies. These must be consolidated and analyzed to provide intuitive and easy-to-access intelligence for businesses making critical decisions about where to invest time, money and energy in product development, marketing, and facility expansion.
  • Support Programs. The government should develop targeted business support programs for investment in ICT adoption, whether through participation in selective “scale-up” programs, targeted financial support through venture capital partnerships or limited business support programs. These programs need to encourage investments in the technology and technical expertise needed to explore new product development processes, innovative manufacturing processes and tackling international market expansion.
Credit: Sam Sebastian, Managing Director, Google Canada; Steve Woods, Engineering Director, Google Canada

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Unlock capital

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/07/2016 1473211057
Tags: investment  capital 
Provide tax incentives to turn ordinary Canadians into angel investors - ALL Canadians should be investing in start-ups or scale-up companies. For exa .... Read more

Provide tax incentives to turn ordinary Canadians into angel investors - ALL Canadians should be investing in start-ups or scale-up companies.

For example, offer tax breaks (similar to tax breaks for charitable donations) on income that is invested in a Canadian innovative company. Define the criteria of the company - e.g. is designing, manufacturing or selling a technology or cleantech product or service.

This would create a culture of innovation by encouraging ordinary people to think and act like investors - and unlock capital that is currently sitting in people's bank accounts to circulate in the economy.  

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Implement a National Test Bed Strategy

Question:How can Canada support the scale-up of innovative companies?
on 09/06/2016 1473193798
Tags:
The wide reaching impact of digital technologies has major economic implications which extend across the very fabric of the Canadian economy. Tremendo .... Read more

The wide reaching impact of digital technologies has major economic implications which extend across the very fabric of the Canadian economy. Tremendous productivity gains and opportunities to develop new knowledge based industries will require digital infrastructure to support core processes of research, collaboration and commercialization of new ideas from and between both public and private sector innovators in all sectors of the economy.

A national digital innovation test bed would provide fundamental infrastructure as a proving ground and collaboration environment to support the Canada’s innovation ecosystem and the growth of the digital economy. Canada could realize cost savings and increase the speed to market of new innovative ICT companies by investing in a national test bed strategy. There are currently a number of existing testbed projects underway or in the planning stages, for public safety, autonomous vehicles, smart grids, smart cities, and digital healthcare, but much of the infrastructure is duplicated.

Given the competing demands on financial and technical resources, as well as a desire for collaboration between ecosystem partners, there is a need for a unified strategic vision and enablement of a national testbed to deliver the common elements of core infrastructure that can support broad use, rapid deployment, and accelerated time to market. These initiatives also provide a valuable training ground for the next generation of knowledge workers that will need the skills to develop and manage these software-centric networks.

A single, technology agnostic test bed as core infrastructure would have the ability to provide services across a range of applications, thereby encouraging the development of new technologies while promoting sustainability, reuse, and collaboration. This brings savings to funders and accelerates innovation.

Canada risks being left behind if it does not develop a national test bed strategy. Other jurisdictions have already invested in such projects, including the United States (US Ignite) and the European Commission (FIRE- Future Internet Research and Experimentation).

A commitment to a national test bed strategy would leverage abundant Canadian talent and support Canadian ICT leadership in the global digital economy.

Peter Wilenius Vice-President, Business Development, CANARIE Inc

Credit: CANARIE Inc.

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