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The Review

Canada: The need for more

Off the Record

If we don't create an ecosystem where leading startups can flourish, our prosperity is at risk.

Canadian entrepreneurs have the opportunity to create a global impact. Our startups and innovators are world-class leaders. However, if we don’t create an ecosystem where they can flourish, our prosperity is at risk. And unfortunately, that’s where we are now.

Creating a successful home-grown business benefits all stakeholders. We see this with countries that are currently leading today’s innovation economy. They do it on the back of entrepreneurs and by commercializing their ideas. However, in Canada, Blackberry (launched by RIM) is still the only company that has been listed among the world’s top innovators. And that was almost 20 years ago.

If we want more Canadian tech companies to become household names around the world, we need to stop riding waves and become market leaders. Our government pumping money into an innovation agenda isn’t enough. There needs to be a shift in our mindset and strategies. We need to be more aggressive and assertive in our approach.

It’s time to understand what role we each play in making sure critical steps are taken to help us transition from being a country with potential to one that is prosperous.

We can only do this if our country’s universities, businesses and political leaders come together to consider programs, policies and initiatives that work hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs. It’s time to boost links between our most important stakeholders and stop working in silos. Our ecosystem, and the players within it, have matured. And now, it’s time for us to make some hard decisions. We need to double down on our high potential startups and programs in order to guarantee success. Spreading our resources equally to all players is no longer an option if we want to get to the next level.

The stakes have gotten higher and it’s no longer about creating a vision to help startups grow and compete in the global innovation economy, but developing a path to make sure they win on the global stage.