During the course of workshopping concepts, a group I was in came up with the concept of Canada as Global Platform for Starting and Scaling Businesses. This emerged as a result of thinking about the oft-heard criticism that Canada is good at start-ups but not scaling, that we perform well in basic research but not experimental development (read: commercialization) and that we need to do something about this. In essence we are proposing that we take what is seen as a weakness and instead see this as a strength. To turn a bug into a feature.
Think of it this way: Canada' greatest strength is our multicultural foundation. This could be viewed as an excellent asset for product and service design and development for almost any global landing spot.
- Leverages the world leading basic research labs in our universities, aided by those colleges and cegeps--in particular those that are home to Technology Access Centres--for the iterative design, development and deployment of products and services to global markets.
- Takes Canadian ideas to the world, and enhances the ideas of others that are brought here to utilize Canadian social, cultural and economic knowledge.
- Launches global businesses - from start-up to scale-up - based on Canadian talent, technology and R&D infrastructure.
There are many issues that need teasing out here, from the role of public funding (via R&D awards and tax credits, for example), to the agency and autonomy of businesses and the people that power them. The bottom line here is that we can take a narrow vertical of expertise - here the ability to launch start-ups - and turn this on its side to create a powerful platform that lets us serve global markets.
This is the essence of the pivot economy, where Canada goes from being a price taker to being a price setter.