The Government of Canada presented the annual budget on February 11, 2014. The focal points of Economic Action Plan was on lowering Canada’s unemployment rate, decreasing the deficit and continuing to fund infrastructure. However, the budget also provided indicators of the government’s commitment to entrepreneurship.
In the 2014 budget, the government has promised a $40 million increase in funding for the Canada Accelerator and Incubators Program (CAIP). This additional funding would increase the total amount of money allocated to CAIP to $100 million by 2016.
CAIP provides accelerators and incubators with the resources to serve entrepreneurs better. On their part, business accelerators and incubators support entrepreneurs by connecting start-up ventures to other supporting mechanisms like financing and mentorship.
However, the lack of connectivity and cohesion between those incubators and accelerators that are the primary benefactors of the CAIP is one of the weak links in the chain. With over 100 established incubators and accelerators and several new manifestations emerging across Canada, the CAIP will select the most established ones that have the highest impact potential in areas with a substantial population.
This might seem good on paper. However, it does not account for entrepreneurs from remote areas, who might benefit from the expertise and services of these accelerators and incubators, without having to relocate to more densely populated areas.
Therefore, a national network that connects the major CAIP-funded accelerators and incubators to the various entrepreneurial nodes all over the country is the need of the hour. A national network like Startup Canada could play this vital role.
Currently Startup Canada operates nationally at the grassroots level, from coast to coast. Thus, the government could use this network as a central connecting, collaborating and communicating agent that links all the nodes together and to start-up founders.
These links could help streamline the support process for entrepreneurs, boost entrepreneurial success by effective use of government funding and thus result in a demonstrable effect on the national economy. To achieve this end, Canada needs to invest in its entrepreneurs, who undertake great risks to create wealth and jobs for the Canadian economy.
Source: Victoria Lennox, CEO of Startup Canada (courtesy Global News)