Bolstering Growth

The Next Frontier for Canadian Startups

Published by ICTC in partnership with ventureLAB, October 2020

COVID-19 has produced devastating impacts on the Canadian economy and society. Large-scale economic slowdowns are seen across nearly all sectors, record-high unemployment rates likening back to the Great Depression persist, and global supply chains are moving at a grinding pace. These harsh realities have resulted in a forecasted increase of 1000% in the federal deficit (expected to reach $343 billion), and despite the gain in employment witnessed in June as several provinces entered Stage 3 reopening, nearly 1 million jobs were lost in Canada since February. While government policy responses have mediated some impacts of the pandemic to date, many are short-term solutions with end dates in sight.

Looking forward, Canada must seek to recoup this investment and forge a sustainable path toward economic recovery. Much of this recovery is inherently tied to the success of Canadian-grown small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and their ability to compete on the global stage.

With no shortage of innovation taking place among Canadian businesses, startups are defined by their core challenge: the transformation of an innovative idea into a scalable and sustainable business model. What Canada needs going forward are sustainable business models and built-to-scale, IP-generating companies — in other words, more scale-ups.

This brief discusses the ingredients needed for a strong and resilient scale-up ecosystem in Canada; one that can shape and support globally competitive Canadian anchor companies in a future where the digital economy will lead the way. Specifically, it highlights the following topics and considerations:

  1. Creating, Protecting, and Incentivizing Canadian IP
  2. Building a built-to-scale Canadian business culture
  3. Establishing Canadian anchor companies, and leveraging trade
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Researched and written by Alexandra Cutean (Senior Director, Research & Policy), Tyler Farmer (Manager, Business Transformation and Partnerships), and Mairead Matthews (Research & Policy Analyst), with generous support from ventureLAB and the Digital Think Tank by ICTC team.

For in-depth insights into the digital economy and the policies that shape it, follow the Digital Think Tank by ICTC on Medium and sign up for our weekly briefing.

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