Canada’s Minister of Industry to Launch a Canadian-Made Digital Economy Strategy by Year-End
By Andrea Wahbe on Sep 5, 2012 / Categories: CDMN News, Featured
Last week, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Canada’s Minister of Industry, addressed business leaders and entrepreneurs in Toronto on the federal government’s priorities around capital investment, adoption of technology and innovation during an event at the Economic Club of Canada.
“I will launch a Canadian-made digital economy strategy by the end of the year,” said Minister Paradis. “One based on my conversations with you. One that challenges our innovators. One that drives new technology. And one that, through technology, benefits our entire economy.”
He emphasised that the federal government will contribute to the creation of companies and jobs, will connect with academia and industry to spur commercialisation and will support entrepreneurs to increase productivity – all of which will help Canada to compete on the global stage.
Minister Paradis highlighted initiatives to bolster Canada’s position with regards to access to capital, talent and productivity – three of the five key pillars of the Canadian Digital Media Network’s (CDMN) Canada 3.0 “Moonshot 5,” areas that Canada must better understand in order to ensure that we achieve our Moonshot goal: that anyone in Canada can do anything online by the year 2017.
Access to Capital
During his remarks, Minister Paradis gave an overview of some of the federal government’s recent efforts to foster economic growth and spark private sector investment in research and development.
“We are investing $400 million to provide early-stage risk capital and create large-scale venture capital funds. This is in addition to the $100 million we made available through the Business Development Bank of Canada,” said Minister Paradis. “In today’s economy, firms need greater access to this kind of risk capital to get their ideas off the ground and into the marketplace. Capital leads to opportunities for collaboration between government, academia and the private sector. And, in many cases, it acts as a catalyst for much greater private investment.”
He also explained that the 2012 Economic Action Plan calls for an additional $110 million to be allocated to the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) annually to expand the program’s reach and services for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada. “IRAP is the government’s premier innovation assistance program for small and medium-sized enterprises. It is a cornerstone of Canada’s innovation system, and it is regarded worldwide as one of the best programs of its kind,” he said.
Access to Talent
“I believe—and I think that many in this room would agree—that the government’s role is to give our best and brightest the opportunities they need to succeed and then get out of the way,” said Minister Paradis. He went on to describe how the 21st century economy is “too fast-paced.” As a result, academia, government and the public and private sectors must collaborate to succeed.
“This means that our provinces and territories need to make tomorrow’s skills a priority today in their education systems. Our colleges, universities and polytechnics must work together and embrace partnerships with the private sector. Industry must bring forward more private investment, particularly in early-stage risk capital and to support larger-scale venture capital funds. And companies must drive product and service innovations and propel them into every corner of our economy,” he said.
Productivity and Commercialisation
Minister Paradis believes that “growth and job creation in today’s modern economy start with businesses not government, and it will be driven by innovation in every sector of our economy.”
He explained that the federal government has launched a new pilot program – designed to help businesses adapt to and grow in the digital world. “The Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program—or DTAPP—gives small and medium-sized firms access to expert advisors to help them integrate new digital technologies into their business models,” said Minister Paradis. “We know that technology is directly linked to productivity. And it is only through the adoption of cutting-edge technology that we will increase the productivity of our nation.”
He asserted that product and service innovations must be driven and propelled into every corner of our economy. “That is where our future lies and, to get there, we must invest, adapt and innovate” he said. “With the right investments at the right time, we are able to take ideas from design to delivery—and grow our businesses in the process.”
Minister Paradis ended his keynote by emphasising that “as a nation we need to take more risks, think more creatively and act more boldly to claim our place in the global economy.”