IN­NO­VA­TION NA­TION?

Feds urged to re­vamp strat­egy

Ottawa Business Journal - Techopia - - Front Page - BY MICHAEL WOODS

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s muchan­tic­i­pated in­no­va­tion agenda took cen­tre stage at Ottawa’s Shaw Cen­tre early last month.

The event was Startup Canada’s third an­nual Day on the Hill, a 1,500-per­son gath­er­ing geared to­ward bring­ing small busi­ness own­ers, pub­lic ser­vants and politi­cians to­gether.

Ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded so-called ‘pol­icy hackathons,’ dur­ing which en­trepreneurs worked with min­is­ters to tackle pol­icy chal­lenges such as women in en­trepreneur­ship, so­cial in­no­va­tion and dis­rup­tive tech in gov­ern­ment.

The 50 meet­ings with cab­i­net min­is­ters and mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, pol­icy hear­ings, pan­els and other events cen­tred around the theme of Canada’s in­no­va­tion agenda.

Min­is­ter of In­no­va­tion, Sci­ence and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Navdeep Bains is lead­ing the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment’s devel­op­ment of an in­no­va­tion agenda by next year’s fed­eral bud­get.

Here are four ideas and rec­om­men­da­tions for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment that emerged from the gath­er­ing:

OVER­HAUL CANADA’S PRO­CURE­MENT STRAT­EGY

The feds are be­ing urged to over­haul their pro­cure­ment strat­egy to bet­ter sup­port small busi­nesses owned by in­dige­nous, women and eth­nic mi­nor­ity en­trepreneurs.

Startup Canada sug­gests a pro­gram that adopts el­e­ments from the U.S. 8(a) Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Pro­gram, which helps so­cially and eco­nom­i­cally dis­ad­van­taged en­trepreneurs com­pete in the mar­ket­place.

“Most small busi­nesses can­not com­pete for these gov­ern­ment ten­ders,” Startup Canada CEO Vic­to­ria Len­nox said. “They’re just not to scale.”

A new pro­gram would make it eas­ier for busi­nesses owned by women, in­dige­nous peo­ples and eth­nic mi­nori­ties to bid for con­tracts.

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