Canada’s Innovation Budget / Superclusters

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the 2017 budget included an Innovation and Skills Plan.   This is a bold and visionary plan for the development of the country.   It is driven by concerns for the stability of the USA as a long-term trading partner and focuses on building the necessary assets required to be a leading country in tomorrow’s global innovation economy.   The future state plan is multi-faceted targeting major investments in the development of their ecosystem around six superclusters and emerging industries.   It also incorporates the building of new education offerings around lifelong learning for both the current workforce and next generation of students and workers.  While many regions around the world are working on their regional cluster strategies,  this marks a leading trend of county-wide strategies targeting the development and integration of cross-region assets into superclusters.
Here is a quick summary of the budget announcement.
Proposed industry efforts include:
  • $950 million CAD ($709.8 million USD) over five years to develop superclusters in six key national industries:
  1. advanced manufacturing
  2. agri-food
  3. cleantech
  4. digital industries
  5. health/bio-sciences
  6. clean resource
    (+ 7. emerging AI cluster)
  • $50 million CAD ($37.4 million USD) to launch Innovative Solutions Canada.  This is a government procurement program modeled after the United States’ Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
  • $400 million CAD ($298.9 million USD) over three years to help drive investment in growth-stage companies. Through the Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative (VCCI), the Business Development Bank of Canada would make late stage venture capital deals with the intent of stimulating co-investment from the private sector.  The government hopes to unlock nearly $1.5 billion CAD ($1.1 billion USD) in private sector investments through these efforts.
Proposed education and research efforts include:
  • $3.1 billion CAD ($2.3 billion USD) for research and research training – e.g., scholarships, fellowships, research grants, and support for the overhead costs associated with federally funded research conducted in post-secondary institutions.
  • $741 million CAD ($553.3 billion USD) for investments to accelerate infrastructure projects at universities and colleges and affiliated institutions through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
  • $340 million CAD ($253.9 million USD) in planned support for equipment and facilities for post-secondary institutions, research hospitals, and other not-for-profit institutions.
  • $158 million CAD ($118 million USD) for several of the country’s public-private partnerships such as Mitacs, Genome Canada, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, the Stem Cell Network, the Institute for Quantum Computing, Brain Canada and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Proposed Workforce efforts include:
  • $454.4 million CAD ($339.3 million USD) over four years, starting in 2018–19, and $46.3 million CAD ($34.6 million USD) per year thereafter, to help Canada’s middle-class workers find and keep good jobs.
  • $225 million CAD ($168 million USD) over four years, starting in 2018–19, and $75 million CAD ($65 million USD) per year thereafter, to establish a new organization to support skills development and measurement in Canada.
  • $221 million CAD ($165 million USD) over five years to fund up to 10,000 work-integrated learning placements for post-secondary students and graduates each year.
  • $186 million CAD ($138.9 million USD) would be provided to support other, unspecified research and development and related scientific activities in the higher education sector.
  • $7.8 million over two years to implement a new visa program that would allow certain skilled workers to obtain a work permit.
  • $50 million CAD ($37.4 million USD) for a new initiative – Coding Kids. The new two-year initiative would help teach Canadian children how to code to help prepare them for future IT-related careers.

 

See images of the announcement in the international gallery

Stay tuned to follow the progress of this initiative and more to come on cluster development and supercluster integration.

 

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ACG: Crowdsource Investment Event

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I attended the April ACG event hosted at the Windows over Minnesota dining rooms on the 50th floor of the IDS tower.  The event began with open networking with about ~130 in attendance and then transitioned into a served lunch for a panel discussion.  The event was focused on the investment ecosystem of Minnesota.  A panel of investment bankers, securities attorneys, and entrepreneurs spoke on the many steps Minnesota is taking to improve our investment and startup ecosystem.   I’ve attached the event agenda to this post to highlight the various speakers.    The discussion began with an overview of general investment levels in Minnesota and the initiative to pass new legislation around the rules of accredited investing. Several panelists had co-authored the Minnesota’s intrastate crowdfunding law(MNvest). The goal would be to redefine who can be considered an accredited investor and open the doors for individuals to invest in start-ups.   The crowd source funding movement has began to transform how investment capital can be raised.   Historically,  it has been about 3% of the overall population that has been wealthy enough to be the primary investors in new ventures and of that group only about 10% are heavily involved leaving in excess of 97% of the population out of the process.  New legislation and crowd funding are creating new opportunities for ordinary individuals to invest in entrepreneurial ventures.  This movement began in the Obama administration, with the passing of the 2012 Jobs Act,
which opened the door to restructuring the investment landscape.  Many US states are moving forward with legislation and MN had the benefit to review and incorporate the best ideas that preceded out own legislation.  This is an evolving landscape and it will be interesting to see how other states evolve and respond.  Other panelists included innovators who are creating 3 portals that are state approved sites for investment and connecting to opportunities.
See more images in the events gallery
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2017 CornerHouse Breakfast / Fundraiser

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I attended CornerHouse breakfast as a part of their 4th annual fundraiser in support of abused children and their families.
The event was well attended with ~300 guests of the non-profit.   The event started with open networking as guests arrived followed by a sit-down breakfast as the keynote began.   I’ve attached the event agenda to this post to highlight the fantastic speakers that presented.  The subject of child abuse is quite a difficult topic.  Several facts were quite shocking including that only 20% of abuse cases are reported and it is mainly by someone the child knows.   Our speakers were very generous to share their stories of working in this field and specific cases they had involvement in.   It was a tough and emotional hour for everyone.  I really have to give credit to the presenters who had to struggle through some pretty personal emotions at the podium for the sake of the cause.   At the conclusion of the fundraiser, I had the chance to get introduced to many people at the CornerHouse organization.   What a great team that is supporting and extremely important cause.
Learn more and get involved: CornerHouse
More images at the Cheval gallery
Event Agenda:
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