24 February 2015

Balsillie bullish on Canada’s commercialization competitiveness

Jim Balsillie diagnoses the ills of Canada's competitiveness in an article in today's Globe and Mail. "A tale of two economies and headlines" Balsillie states that he is "bullish on Canada’s prospects for the future" provided we can start to focus less on resource extraction (being a price taker) and more on fostering innovation based industries (to be a price setter). It's not that resource extraction industries are not important to our economy, but rather that we need to ensure that we help foster the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators and to teach them "how to protect their ideas, commercialize them and then maximize the ensuing profit." The one thing I will fault Balsillie for here is his focus on universities as being the only conduit for entrepreneurship. As the federal government's new Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy outlines, Canada's innovation ecosystem is comprised of universities, polytechnics and colleges, who together make up the fabric of education and R&D support for industry. Recognizing this fact will help Balsillie and others realize our shared goal of being like "other innovation nations."

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