Feds urged to revamp strategy
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.