02 June 2012

Fostering entrepreneurship and growing companies

Here is a link to an article that describes a college-industry entrepreneurship model much like that which we are working on here in Canada. $1 Million Grant from Kauffman Foundation Aimed at Making Community Colleges a 'Front Door' for Entrepreneurship outlines the link between growing companies and start-ups with support from colleges. While I don't know much about the Ohio Community College entrepreneurship model, it would appear that the Ohio Innovation Fund is explicitly linking education and entrepreneurship with industry. This is the applied research model the George Brown College Research Labs is building: fostering innovation literacy in our highly qualified and skilled students, while promoting and supporting SME start-ups and company growth. The explicit linking of education with economic development is part of George Brown College's Strategy 2020 of "Understanding Employment."

Also of note, in today's Globe is an interesting article on the dearth of mid-sized companies in Canada. It's a good question, but one that perhaps does not account for the realities of global economics. At our Board fo Trade talk earlier this week, Niall Wallace and I were asked about this issue in terms of companies that grow only to be bought by the US for example. Our reply is mirrored in this Globe piece, which quotes Alexander Fernandes, CEO and founder of Avigilon Corp., who talks about the need for businesses who want to grow to have a global plan from the outset. In discussing this yesterday with a colleague and member of the GBC Innovation Advisory Board, he said that perhaps Canada should think of itself as a global business builder and incubator for companies. Getting bought is not a bad thing in this respect, as long as we can retain IP and job creation in the country. But it is an interesting idea to think of Canada as the world's business incubator, where we take good ideas and businesses with a solid innovation strategy and build them into global companies. This could just be the niche where Canada can excel.

1 comment:

ColdNorth said...

Much as for plants, the value from the large mature plant far exceeds the value of the seedling. IIRC Canada's 1.1M small and medium companies generate less than 50% of our GDP. In contrast the ~3000 large companies (more than 500 employees) generate the balance.

My perspective is that foreign-owned companies are more mobile, meaning that jobs tends to migrate to growing markets and cheap labour.

Being an incubator for the world too closely follows our selfless habit of generating ideas and inventions for others to create value from.