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Moving from cooperation to collaboration in support of ‘born globals’

Photo of OCE Admin December 11, 2012 by OCE Admin

Canada has many of the key ingredients needed to support a strong innovation economy. This includes world-class research institutions, exceptional talent, high levels of public investment in research and the development of cutting-edge technologies. 

Where we fall short is in commercializing and globally marketing these exciting inventions.

About 60 members of the Canadian Commercialization Consortium, or C3 as it is more commonly known, met in Ottawa last week to discuss ideas on how to overcome this challenge. Initiated and driven by the Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR) in 2011, C3 brings together leaders from industry, the investment community, academia and government to foster national collaboration and provide a clear and cohesive Canadian voice on innovation.

The innovation leaders shared experiences and lessons learned with respect to various models of support for global initiatives. They also provided their thoughts on ‘soft landings’ for SMEs and start-ups that are moving into international markets and addressed how innovation intermediaries can help companies access global markets. 
 
Noting some of the key challenges faced by internationally bound companies, attendees cited cultural and language barriers and the need to understand how intellectual property laws apply in various jurisdictions. 
  
Karen Young, Executive Director, Partnerships and Collaborations for Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, spoke about the work being done by the crown corporation to advance commercialization based on science research. It places a strong focus on supporting start-ups by helping them develop business know-how and encouraging them to think globally from the beginning. 

Laura O’Blenis, Chair of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) CanWIT Atlantic Chapter and founding executive director of New Brunswick’s research and technology park spoke about the importance of governments acting as “early adopters” of new technology and  of thinking nationally in building an innovation ecosystem. 

Dr. Allison Young, the Canadian Consulate General’s Senior Trade Commissioner in New York noted the need for extreme rigour on the part of companies preparing to pitch to a New York market. They often need considerable help in being able to clearly articulate their business model and what differentiates their product. 
 
Also represented on the event agenda were the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN), MaRS Discovery District, TECTERRA from Calgary, Springboard West Innovations, and Univalor from Montreal. 

A general consensus at the C3 event, the consortium’s third meeting, was the need to now move beyond cooperation to develop a collaborative project that helps remove some of the obstacles to growth faced by young companies and helps born global firms scale up and internationalize.

Dr. Claudia Krywiak, Director, Partnership Development at CCR, which hosted the event, asked participants interested in joining a working group to consider options for a future joint project to submit their names. She noted that such an undertaking would require commitment and resources in both funding and time from a group of champions to move the initiative forward.

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