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OCE’s International Commercialization Forum highlights challenges and opportunities

March 22, 2013

The Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State, Science and Technology (left) is seen here with OCE President and CEO Tom Corr at the third annual International Commercialization Forum, hosted by Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Canada must set its sights on emerging global markets if it is going to succeed in building a strong, internationally competitive economy, says The Hon. Dr. Kevin Lynch, Vice-Chair of the BMO Financial Group. 

Keynote speaker Dr. Lynch addressed 90 representatives from 22 countries at the third annual International Commercialization Forum (ICF) hosted by Ontario Centres of Excellence. He noted that the world is changing “rapidly and profoundly” with globalization driving growth to China, India, Brazil and Indonesia and with Asia emerging as the world’s economic centre.  

He described the new global reality as a “two-speed world.” While Western economies are experiencing low growth and low interest rates, emerging economies are seeing more rapid expansion -- one to two per cent growth versus a five to eight per cent growth. 

This is why Canadian businesses, which currently do 89 per cent of their trade with OECD counties, need to diversify. “Canada has fared well due to a number of global strengths but to continue to do so we need to adapt to the new global reality with a focus on diversification, productivity and innovation,” he says. 

OCE President Tom Corr said the ICF, founded in 2011, is intended to give innovation leaders from around the world the opportunity to come face to face to compare notes on effective practices and innovative models for transforming research results into globally competitive products and services.

He noted that despite the uncertain world economy, there are many forces on the side of global innovation, including the Internet and big data; trade opportunities created by the growth of emerging economies; and government support in creating conditions that foster competitiveness. 

Sessions during the two-day event focused on a wide range of topics inlucding best practices in global commercialization, the role of IP in innovation, the role of big data in   strengthening competitiveness, how intermediaries can support born-global companies, and investment and financing models.

The two-day event included a presentation from The Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State, Science and Technology, who highlighted the benefits of investing in programs that support partnerships between companies and research institutions to help move ideas from university, college and government labs into the marketplace.

"Our government's investments in recent years have significantly strengthened Canada's capacity for conducting world-leading research," he said. “Capitalizing on the momentum generated by these investments, we will continue to improve commercialization performance by transforming research outcomes into economic benefits for Canadians."

In his address, Bill Mantel, Assistant Deputy Minister Research, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Division, Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment and Ministry of Research and Innovation, noted that the secret sauce for successful commercialization is the local environment where peer networks and local businesses play a critical role in building local economies. 

He also noted as “attributes of success,” a strong growing community of start-ups, entrepreneurial give-back through mentoring and bootstrapping, strong and involved institutions, a sense of community amongst local businesses and a commitment to evolving and continuous improvement.

He referred to OCE as “a very valuable partner” in building collaborations between industry and academia that lead to the commercialization of publicly funded research.