Launch of Innovation Agenda


Speaking Points

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, PC, MP
Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Ottawa, Ontario

June 14, 2016

Check Against Delivery

From start-up to scale-up

Thank you, Navdeep.

In 2013, about 78,000 small businesses were created in our country.

This clearly demonstrates that we are a nation of entrepreneurs who want to succeed in business. And why not?

Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy.

They create jobs. They support communities. They allow our best and brightest to shine.

As we move ahead with the Innovation Agenda, we need to set our sights high.

In addition to being a great place to start a business, Canada should become a great place to grow a business. 

The Innovation Agenda is orienting federal business support toward firms with ambition to grow.

To help us do this, I am very pleased to announce the launch of the Accelerated Growth Service.

This pilot project delivers on our government's Budget 2016 commitment to seek out new high-impact firms and help them grow.

The Accelerated Growth Service is a national project that will coordinate support for businesses across all of government.

It will bring together key supports, such as financing solutions, advisory services, and export and innovation support.

Participating organizations include:

  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada;
  • Global Affairs Canada;
  • The Business Development Bank of Canada;
  • Export Development Canada;
  • The National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program; and
  • The regional development agencies.

A critical feature of the Accelerated Growth Service is flexibility.

This isn't a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter program; this is about rethinking government's role in supporting innovative Canadian businesses!

In a similar vein, I will be announcing the Advisory Council for Business Accelerators and Incubators later this month. It will help lay the groundwork for strengthening the already vibrant network of accelerators and incubators across the country.

Finance, talent and clean growth

As any entrepreneur out there on the leading edge of ideas can tell you, there is a critical need in this country for patient financing.

It's not just about taking entrepreneurs through the initial start-up; it's about sticking with them when they need to scale up. Access to capital will be key if we are to drive greater innovation.

We need to source top talent from anywhere and everywhere in the world. And we need to do so in new and innovative industries and sectors of the economy.

As part of our drive for an entrepreneurial and creative society, we want to prepare Canada's workforce to embrace technological shifts.

To do that, we need to boost the number of Canadians receiving training in the skills of the new economy.

We will be working very hard to ensure that our approach is inclusive and considers all under-represented groups—in particular, women entrepreneurs—so that we are tapping into our nation's full potential and are all contributing to Canada's economic growth.

Our government also intends to use increased immigration to build Canada's pool of highly skilled and educated people.

We have all heard too many horror stories of agile companies facing challenges when trying to bring in bright new employees to support business growth and opportunities.

Highly skilled workers, researchers and entrepreneurs should be welcomed in Canada in higher volumes and at a faster rate than in other OECD countries.

Finally, as the world moves toward cleaner sources of energy, we want to build Canada's share of the clean tech market.

Our government's commitment to combatting greenhouse gas emissions will mean increased opportunities for Canada's clean tech sector and help position our firms to expand their exports.

What have we listed in just those examples?

  • Business Development Bank of Canada
  • Finance
  • Immigration
  • Jobs training
  • Status of Women
  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs
  • Environment

How's that for a whole-of-government approach?

That's part of our job. Your entire government is at the table.

What we need now is to hear from Canadians. We want you to share your ideas.

We want you to be engaged in helping build an innovation plan that is reflective of Canada but also challenges us to reach higher, to lead not only across the country but also around the globe.

When we get all of this in place and get all of this right—and I know we can—we're also going to have to come up with a new innovative name for "unicorns."

Because Canadian companies with more than a billion dollars in sales will become far too commonplace to be named after a mythical creature.

There are currently 169 Canadian companies in the billion-dollar club. We want to double that number!

Of course, you can't have world-leading technology without the science to back it.

So my colleague and friend Minister Kirsty Duncan will now speak about the need for global science excellence.

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