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Fostering Innovation from Non-Traditional Sources

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/27/2016 1477536302
In a true innovative culture, innovation can and does come from many different sources.  Some may be traditional established companies or university .... Read more

In a true innovative culture, innovation can and does come from many different sources.  Some may be traditional established companies or university researchers, but in the modern age where access to information and ease of networking, collaborating and sharing of ideas have never been greater and “crowdsourcing” is increasingly becoming common, significant innovation is also being driven outside of these traditional sources.  Small startups, individual entrepreneurs, researchers and hobbyists, private collectives of innovators such as “hacker spaces”, and student teams and organizations are all filled with highly talented people and highly original ideas.  Moreover, these small, non-traditional innovators are typically much more nimble and have far less overhead than their larger, more established counterparts and as such can do “more with less”. 

Moreover, their work serves not only as a potential source of commercially viable products, technologies and future companies, but also as a direct, hands-on means of fostering learning, skills development and creativity that is invaluable in helping those who engage in it to reach their full potential as innovators and contributors to the creative economy.

To truly foster a culture of innovation, the government and its agencies should actively strive to make Canada among the most favourable countries in the world for this rapidly growing group of innovators.  The government should make it policy to recognize the existence of these small, non-traditional innovative groups and individuals as potentially valuable sources of both innovation and hands-on skills development, and ensure that support is specifically available to them that recognizes and is responsive to their unique needs, capabilities and situation, rather than being solely available to or heavily biased towards larger established companies and universities only. Such support may take the form of grants or funding, but could also include tax incentives, access to government facilities and government experts.

Not all innovators are the same, and the needs and abilities of individual or small groups of innovators are inherently different from those of large organizations, established companies and universities.  By ensuring support is specifically available to individuals and small groups engaged in innovative work, this large and growing source of innovation can be encouraged.

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Innovation through Co-operative Education

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 10/12/2016 1476309077
Introduction CAFCE (Canadian Association for Co-operative Education) is the voice for post-secondary co-operative education in Canada. Co-operative e .... Read more

Introduction

CAFCE (Canadian Association for Co-operative Education) is the voice for post-secondary co-operative education in Canada. Co-operative education (co-op) programs alternate periods of academic study and work experience in fields that are relevant to students’ programs of study. Students are given opportunities to test their theoretical knowledge in real-world contexts, explore a variety of careers before fully entering the workforce, and earn both valuable experience and compensation.

Co-operative education is a foundational part of Canada’s reputation as a nation full of innovative, skilled entrepreneurs. When students participate in co-op programs, they develop the professional skills — communication, teamwork, problem solving — that employees and creators need to thrive in the future economy. They’re also given the chance to watch and learn from existing innovators in their communities.

CAFCE recommends Industry Canada consider the following options as a means of furthering its Innovation Agenda:

Canada Innovation Co-op Grants

Startups and innovation businesses should be encouraged to hire Canadian co-op students through the establishment of a grant program.

How would this work?

The grant program would involve the development of partnerships between post-secondary institutions and businesses meeting a set of eligibility requirements. A portion of the grant funds would be put towards a percentage of students’ salaries, making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to pursue innovation and plan for additional hiring.

The grants would be distributed across Canada’s provinces and territories based on a prorated distribution, i.e. more grants for provinces with a greater number of enrolled co-op students. The grants would also be spread equitably across the country’s various innovation sectors. A cap on eligible business size would be implemented to ensure the grants benefit startups and small businesses. The number of grant-eligible hires per fiscal year would also be restricted to ensure the grants’ reach across as many businesses as possible. Finally, an additional incentive could be implemented to encourage innovative businesses to hire students looking for their first co-op position.

What are the potential outcomes?

  • The creation of ground-level partnerships between startups and small businesses and post-secondary institutions (e.g. RIM’s relationship with the University of Waterloo)
  • Immediate incentives for innovation companies and startups who can support the hiring of co-op students.
  • Increased opportunity for students interested in pursuing careers in Canada’s various innovation sectors.

Co-op Entrepreneurship Program

A scholarship for co-op student innovators should be established, encouraging students to spend a term developing their own ideas and/or companies with fewer financial restrictions.

How would this work?

Scholarships valued at $10,000 per work term (four months) would be offered to student innovators intent on spending their terms developing their own ideas or enterprises. The scholarships would be distributed across Canada’s provinces and territories based on a prorated distribution and would be awarded based on applications. The collection of applications and delivery of funds would be coordinated with students’ post-secondary institutions and advertised on campuses and through institutions’ co-op programs.

What are the potential outcomes?

  • Canada’s innovative capacity would increase through the support and development of aspiring entrepreneurs in a co-op context.
  • The program would encourage the development of students’ entrepreneurial mindsets and innovation skills while still allowing them to experience formalized co-op programs. Students who haven’t actively considered entrepreneurship could be encouraged to give it a try by the provision of a considerable scholarship.

Mitacs Undergraduate & Graduate Co-op Program

Mitacs should expand its operations by introducing a series of co-op-specific awards at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Co-op student recipients would spend a work term in a Mitacs-endorsed research environment, developing their skills and contributing to their employers’ innovative efforts. These awards would augment Mitacs’ existing efforts to expand and support research-based innovation in Canada.

How would this work?

Many post-secondary institutions already have a relationship with Mitacs because of its research funding, training, and support for international research collaborations. The new program would build on these pre-existing relationships and the associated infrastructure. The resulting co-op opportunities with researchers across the country would yield benefits for post-secondary institution, Mitacs, and its partners.

What are the potential outcomes?

  • Co-op students interested in research and innovation would have a new way to pursue appropriate employment within their chosen field.
  • Increased partnership between Mitacs and post-secondary institutions will reduce competition for talented students, and it can create opportunities for the sharing of knowledge and resources.
Credit: Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE)

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Israel and Canada's Innovation Agenda

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/05/2016 1475692583
Tags: startup  innovation 
Along with best practices on attracting talent, we are pleased to share models for cluster development, start-up support and brand development.   Th .... Read more

Along with best practices on attracting talent, we are pleased to share models for cluster development, start-up support and brand development.  

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute. 

Credit: Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

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Talent and knowledge mobilization / Talent et mobilisation du savoir

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 09/16/2016 1474055228
In Canada’s sesquicentennial year, over one million undergraduates are entering university halls across the country. These students are the foun .... Read more

In Canada’s sesquicentennial year, over one million undergraduates are entering university halls across the country. These students are the foundation of Canada’s innovative future. Canada’s universities are committed to equipping these students with the skills and knowledge they need to flourish in work and life, empowering them to contribute to Canada’s economic and social success.

We need to do better as a country to meet the aspirations and unlock the potential of Indigenous youth – their community’s future leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. Currently, only 11 per cent of Indigenous peoples aged 25 to 34 in Canada have a university degree, compared to 33 per cent of non-Indigenous Canadians in the same age group.

  • Universities Canada aspires to significantly reduce the gap between the university participation rate of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians within the next ten years, by increasing federal financial assistance to Indigenous students and institutional efforts.
  • Universities Canada also recommends supporting more Indigenous students to pursue graduate and post-doctoral studies, growing the cohort of Indigenous university faculty and researchers and boosting their engagement in Canada’s innovative future.

Through work-integrated learning, hands-on research training, and global experiences, Canadian university graduates are educated in a culture of innovation and prepared with 21st century skills including flexibility, adaptability, and an openness to risk-taking.

We support the call by the Canadian Business/Higher Education Roundtable for access to work-integrated learning for 100 per cent of Canadian postsecondary students.

  • To support this goal, Universities Canada, along with national business and student groups, recommends investment in new federal measures, such as vouchers and tax credits, to incentivize employers – particularly in small- and medium-sized enterprises and not-for-profit organizations – to create more paid co-op and internship placements across disciplines and address the barriers employers face in offering such placements.

Canada’s universities are dynamic and supportive partners in helping businesses and not-for-profit organizations solve their problems. One of the greatest contributions universities make to innovation is equipping their graduates with the skills, knowledge and mindset to contribute to our contemporary and future economy. Through a range of knowledge mobilization activities – hands-on learning experiences of co-op students and graduates, community service and outreach, public policy engagement, inter-sectoral partnerships, and the commercialization of research – universities contribute to innovation, prosperity and the quality of life in Canada. Such a flexible approach is needed as no one-size-fits-all approach will suit the diverse needs and capabilities across Canada’s regions. Commercialization contributions are made by universities as valued research partners and through knowledge spill-overs in the form of spin-off companies.

  • Canada’s universities have proven themselves to be prolific generators of new ideas and designs, but R&D assistance is needed in the start-up phase to bridge the capital and financing gap between the initial idea and venture capital stages of the commercialization wave.
  • Targeted support should also be provided to encourage incubation and acceleration on university campuses, and to facilitate access to risk capital. Our graduates abound with ideas, but help is needed to develop strong and nimble start-ups that can grow into globally competitive companies.

Universities can also provide support to young companies by helping educate business talent in areas where we know Canada needs improvement – training executive talent with the ability to scale-up small start-ups, and building know ledge of sales into the business curriculum to assist small companies to grow.

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À l’approche du 150e anniversaire de la Confédération, plus de un million d’étudiants au premier cycle font leur entrée à l’université d’un bout à l’autre du pays. Ces étudiants sont le fondement de l’innovation future au Canada. Les universités s’engagent à inculquer à ces étudiants les compétences et le savoir dont ils ont besoin pour s’épanouir sur les plans personnel et professionnel, et ainsi contribuer à la réussite économique et sociale du Canada.

Le Canada doit faire plus pour concrétiser les aspirations et réaliser le potentiel des jeunes Autochtones, qui seront les dirigeants, les innovateurs et les entrepreneurs de demain dans leurs collectivités. À l’heure actuelle, seulement 11 pour cent des Autochtones de 25 à 34 ans possèdent un diplôme universitaire, comparativement à 33 pour cent des Canadiens non autochtones du même groupe d’âge.

  • Universités Canada aspire à réduire considérablement l’écart entre Canadiens autochtones et non autochtones en matière de taux de fréquentation de l’université au cours des 10 prochaines années par la hausse de l’aide financière fédérale aux étudiants autochtones et des initiatives des établissements d’enseignement.
  • Universités Canada recommande également d’appuyer un plus grand nombre d’étudiants autochtones pour qu’ils entreprennent des études aux cycles supérieurs et au niveau postdoctoral, d’augmenter le nombre de professeurs et de chercheurs autochtones, et d’accroître leur participation à l’innovation future du Canada.

Par l’apprentissage intégré au travail, la recherche sur le terrain et les expériences à l’étranger, les diplômés universitaires canadiens sont formés au sein d’une culture d’innovation et acquièrent des compétences du XXIe siècle, dont la souplesse, la capacité d’adaptation et une ouverture au risque.

 

Universités Canada appuie les revendications de la Table ronde de l’enseignement supérieur et les entreprises, qui réclame l’accès à des expériences d’apprentissage intégré au travail pour tous les étudiants canadiens de niveau postsecondaire.

  • À cette fin, Universités Canada et d’autres groupes nationaux étudiant et des milieux des affaires et recommandent au gouvernement fédéral d’investir dans de nouvelles mesures, comme des bons et des crédits d’impôt, pour inciter les employeurs – surtout les PME et les organisations à but non lucratif – à créer plus de stages rémunérés dans toutes les disciplines et à résoudre les difficultés qui les empêchent d’offrir ce type d’expériences aux étudiants.

Les universités canadiennes sont des partenaires dynamiques qui aident les entreprises et les organisations à but non lucratif à trouver des solutions à leurs problèmes. Une des plus grandes contributions des universités en matière d’innovation est de donner à leurs diplômés les compétences, les connaissances et la mentalité nécessaires pour participer à l’économie du XXIe siècle. Les universités contribuent à l’innovation, à la prospérité et à la qualité de vie des Canadiens grâce à diverses activités de mobilisation du savoir. Il suffit de penser aux programmes d’enseignement coopératif qui offrent aux étudiants des expériences d’apprentissage sur le terrain, aux activités de service à la collectivité, à la participation à l’établissement des politiques publiques, aux partenariats intersectoriels et aux activités de commercialisation de la recherche. La souplesse est de mise, car il n’existe pas de démarche unique en mesure de répondre aux besoins des différentes régions du Canada.

Les universités contribuent à la commercialisation de la recherche en agissant comme précieux partenaires de recherche et en favorisant la transmission du savoir par le démarrage d’entreprises.

  • Les universités sont une source intarissable de nouvelles idées, mais elles requièrent du soutien en recherche-développement (R-D) pendant la phase de démarrage pour faire le lien entre l’idée initiale et les capitaux de risque nécessaires à sa concrétisation pendant le processus de commercialisation.
  • Il faut également offrir un soutien ciblé pour favoriser l’incubation et l’accélération sur les campus et faciliter l’accès au capital de risque. Nos diplômés ne manquent pas d’idées, mais ils ont besoin d’appuis pour mettre sur pied de jeunes entreprises solides et souples en mesure de devenir concurrentielles à l’échelle mondiale.

Les universités peuvent également soutenir les jeunes entreprises en offrant une formation en administration des affaires dans les domaines où le Canada peut faire mieux, soit en formant des dirigeants à faire croître des entreprises en démarrage et en intégrant des connaissances sur les ventes aux cours des programmes de commerce pour aider les petites entreprises à grandir.

Credit: Universities Canada / Universités Canada

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Nurturing and entrepreneurial mindset with peer to peer learning

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/31/2016 1472657406
One way to nurture and entrepreneurial and innovative skillset and mindset in today’s youth is to provide students at all levels with the opport .... Read more

One way to nurture and entrepreneurial and innovative skillset and mindset in today’s youth is to provide students at all levels with the opportunity to collaborate on interdisciplinary teams on entrepreneurial endeavors. At George Brown College we facilitate with through Peer to Peer (P2P) learning.

startGBC, your gateway to entrepreneurship at George Brown College is a virtual hub, connecting entrepreneurial students, alumni and faculty to the resources they need.  We have matched startGBC student entrepreneurs with business, design and engineering students who act as consultants on matters such as positioning, product design and prototyping, market research, customer validation, pricing, etc.  Both sides of the transaction benefit as the student entrepreneurs gain valuable insights and recommendations from their peers and the consulting students experience working with real-life customers, products and solutions rather than generic case studies.  They are also able to add this background to their resumes and to speak knowledgably about their consulting experience during interviews with prospective employers.

At George Brown, we have received excellent feedback from both faculty and students, and we plan to expand the P2P model, with the addition of student “subject matter experts”, from areas like culinary management and health sciences.

Credit: George Brown College Research & Innovation

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We need our political leaders to lead.

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 08/16/2016 1471374022
“Canada can't become a global leader in an innovation economy by simply following popular opinion. As Canadians respond to calls for submissions .... Read more

“Canada can't become a global leader in an innovation economy by simply following popular opinion. As Canadians respond to calls for submissions for Canada's Innovation Agenda, we'll look for greater depth than over-simplified slogans.”

 

We need our political leaders to lead.

 

“For Canada to become a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and start-up companies into global successes, we need our political leaders to lead.”

Mark Goldberg, Telecommunications consultant, blogger and organizer of The Canadian Telecom Summit, Populism versus democracy, Mark Goldberg Blog, June 27 2016

 

Credit: Mark Goldberg, Telecommunications consultant, blogger and organizer of The Canadian Telecom Summit

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More free support and communities like rockmybizplan.ca

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/04/2016 1467662341
By giving young people easy access to expertise, guidance, coaching and peer communities with other entrepreneurs, we set people up for taking more ac .... Read more

By giving young people easy access to expertise, guidance, coaching and peer communities with other entrepreneurs, we set people up for taking more action on their ideas. 

British Columbia is leading the charge in this regard with Futurpreneur Canada's free Rock My Business Plan series throughout the province (in partnership with the Provincial Government and RBC). http://rockmybizplan.ca

 

 

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