A Compass to Canada’s Innovation + Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

A Compass to Canada’s Innovation + Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

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Description: Given the ongoing growth of Canada’s innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem, it is important that we understand the roles, purpose and connections between the actors operating within it. An ecosystem-oriented approach allows us to see the actors in action - not in silos, but within networks of organizations contributing to a larger system. This framework provides an overview of important concepts and latest thinking in innovation + entrepreneurship.

It attempts to organize some of the actors that are part of Canada’s innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem. It is intended as a compass to help you navigate the considerable volume of actors and interactions in the ecosystem, and dive deeper into specific areas.

 
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Contents:
A COMPASS TO CANADA’S
INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP
ECOSYSTEM

ABOUT THE BROOKFIELD INSTITUTE FOR INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E) is a new,
independent and nonpartisan institute, housed within Ryerson University, that
is dedicated to making Canada the best country in the world to be an innovator
or an entrepreneur.
BII+E supports this mission in three ways: insightful research and analysis;
testing, piloting and prototyping projects; which informs BII+E’s leadership and
advocacy on behalf of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.
For more information, visit brookfieldinstitute.ca
Follow us on Twitter @BrookfieldIIE
20 Dundas St. W, Suite 921
Toronto, ON
M5G 2C2

CONTENTS
2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
3 INTRODUCTION

SECTION 1

SECTION 3

SECTION 4

5 What is Innovation +
Entrepreneurship?

18 CATEGORY 1
Knowledge Generation

58 PROVINCIAL
PROFILES

11 Why Innovation +
Entrepreneurship?

26 CATEGORY 2
Knowledge Transfer

70 POLICY
STRATEGIES

12 The Innovation +
Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

34 CATEGORY 3
Innovation + Entrepreneurship Supports

SECTION 2
13 Navigating the Ecosystem
14 Selection Criteria
15 Actors in the System

47 CATEGORY 4
Ecosystem Governance

LEARN MORE
72 ENDNOTES
71

1

Executive Summary
Given the ongoing growth of Canada’s innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem, it is important that we
understand the roles, purpose and connections between the
actors operating within it. An ecosystem-oriented approach
allows us to see the actors in action - not in silos, but within
networks of organizations contributing to a larger system.
This framework provides an overview of important concepts
and latest thinking in innovation + entrepreneurship. It
attempts to organize some of the actors that are part of
Canada’s innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem. It is
intended as a compass to help you navigate the considerable
volume of actors and interactions in the ecosystem, and dive
deeper into specific areas.

What this report does:
Lays the foundation for a dynamic overview of
Canada’s innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Present a conceptual framework to help navigate the
variety of actors in Canada.
Provide profiles of the innovation + entrepreneurship
ecosystem at the level of Canada’s provinces and
territories.

What this report doesn’t do:
Offer a comprehensive inventory of Canada’s
innovation + entrepreneurship assets.
Provide an assessment of the system strengths and
gaps.
Offer policy recommendations.
This framework is a work in progress. Actors in different parts
of the ecosystem are best positioned to know the assets that
exist. We invite any and all constructive feedback as we
continue to explore the innovation + entrepreneurship
ecosystem and refresh this framework on an ongoing basis.

2

Introduction
hat is the first example that comes to mind when
you think about innovation + entrepreneurship? In
Canada, it’s apt to be home-grown technology
company Blackberry. At one point, Blackberry was
the largest company in Canada and a powerful
global player. Known for bringing wireless email to
the masses, the company created a fundamental
shift in the way people communicated, paired with devices that were
ubiquitous–everyone either had or wanted one. While circumstances
have since changed, what Blackberry accomplished is a prime
example of Canadian innovation and disruptive entrepreneurship.

W

However, innovation + entrepreneurship encompass far more than
one technology giant’s activities. These are the processes that can
occur at any level, from an office above a bagel shop to a company’s
global headquarters. They inspire new and existing actors,
influencing the emergence of research labs and business incubators.
They also work together to inspire new ideas and processes that
become embedded in economic, political and social institutions. All
of the factors that interact to constitute innovation +
entrepreneurship are exceedingly difficult to capture in any one
example, and placed within the context of a wider ecosystem to be
understood. How wide exactly? We are striving to shed some light
on that.

An inventory alone isn’t enough to understand how and why actors
are involved in Canada’s innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem,
let alone how they interact. The volume of actors and their
interactions make it daunting to identify and navigate the broader
ecosystem. Given the sheer volume of actors involved, we recognize
that this will not be a comprehensive inventory, but a living
document and work-in-progress that will evolve as new actors are
discovered, classified and added, and others exit. We do not expect
or aim to have all the answers. Instead, we believe strongly in a
collaborative approach to involving as many users and experts from
the academic, business, public sector and entrepreneurial worlds as
we can in finding solutions that benefit Canada.
This compass presents a framework to help navigate the variety of
actors in Canada’s innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem. It helps
identify and categorize key actors involved to help obtain a highlevel overview. It will serve as a tool to understand how actors fit
within Canada’s innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem. Whether
you are a decision-maker, policy-maker or entrepreneur, we are
aiming to help anyone who is interested to get the lay of the land
from our perspective. This is a resource to learn about other actors,
identify opportunities, discover patterns and connect with actors with
similar or complementary goals.

3

A quick guide to
how this resource is organized:
SECTION 1 provides background information
on innovation, entrepreneurship, and how
they work together in an ecosystem.
SECTION 2 describes the conceptual
framework that helps group ecosystem
actors into categories, with pointers on how
to navigate the ecosystem.
SECTION 3 offers a deeper dive into each
category, describing how actors contribute to
Canada’s innovation + entrepreneurship
ecosystem. This is illuminated by a select
number of profiles of key actors which can
serve as landmarks in a fast-changing
environment.
SECTION 4 aims to profile Canada’s
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem at
the level of each of Canada’s provinces and
territories.

4

W H AT I S I NNOVAT I O N +
ENT REP REN EU RSHI P?

5

What is innovation?
Definitions of innovation vary widely.
For example:

There are four core concepts embedded within the
process of innovation:

“A new or better way of doing valued things.”
—Review of Federal Support to Research and
Development
“The creation and diffusion of new products, processes and
methods.”
—Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD)
“New ideas that work.”
—Nesta

Discovery

Understanding the
fundamental processes of
nature through
systematic investigative
inquiry to uncover new
knowledge.

“Change that creates a new dimension of performance.”
—Peter Drucker

The Brookfield Institute believes that innovation
represents an improvement on the status quo:
a new piece of knowledge, an enhancement to a
process, a new product, or a solution to an
existing problem.

Invention

Creating new ideas by
applying previous
knowledge in new ways,
where its utility to society
and/or the marketplace
has yet to be proven.

Innovation

Introducing a new
product or service where
its utility has been
validated by society or
the marketplace.

Diffusion

Adopting and spreading
the innovation
throughout society to
realize its full value.
6

What does innovation look like?
The OECD defines four broad categories of innovation: 1
Product
Innovation
An improvement to
a good or service
that moves up the
value-chain or is
first to market for
users.

The introduction of the
smartphone in the early
2000s was a game-changing,
disruptive innovation.
Product innovation isn’t
limited to tangible products.
It also operates in services,
such as platforms in the
sharing economy like Uber
or AirBnB.

Process
Innovation
New ways to make
products and
deliver them to
reduce costs and
increase
convenience for
users.

Organizational
Innovation
New ways of
organizing
structures with the
objective of being
supportive of
innovation.

Market
Innovation
Process innovation in production:
The development of new automated
tools for use in manufacturing
assembly lines.
Process innovation in delivery: In
the 1960s, a major innovation
transformed how products were
delivered - the shipping container.2

New ways of
entering the same
market through
alternative
channels, or
accessing new
markets.

One example of an organizational structure
designed to be supportive of innovation is
the “lean startup” model of product
development. Conventional product
development cycles focus on creating a
perfected, multi-featured product over a
long period, usually without customer
feedback as the product is in development.
Lean startup methodology focuses on developing a
minimum viable product and testing it with real
users to refine and improve it. It works to help
innovators validate learnings.3

When eBay entered Canada, they
observed that although Canadians
spend a lot of time shopping online,
they rarely followed through with online
transactions. Kijiji was launched to
address this tendency. A classified ad
listing site, it was a response to the
realization that “Canadians spend a ton of time
online…but they prefer transacting offline.”4 It’s
now is the most popular online classified service
in Canada, and ranks among the country’s most
popular sites.

7

W hat is e n t rep reneu rsh i p?
Like innovation, there are many ways to describe
entrepreneurship:
“Always searching for change, responding to it, and
exploiting it as an opportunity.”
—Peter Drucker
“Involves the creation of something new.”
—StatsCan
“Enterprising human action in pursuit of the generation of
value, through the creation or expansion of economic
activity, by identifying and exploiting new products,
processes or markets.”
—OECD
“Live in the future, then build what’s missing.”
—Paul Graham

The Brookfield Institute defines
entrepreneurship as the activity of leveraging
innovation to improve the status quo: by
starting a new business, tackling a social
challenge, or pursuing new ventures within an
existing organization.
In short, it’s the conduit by which innovation
produces tangible benefits for society.
8

W hat d oes en t repreneu rsh i p l ook like?
Entrepreneurship can be represented in three ways:

In their early stages, high-growth businesses begin as startups.
Then, as they begin to scale, they become scale-ups.

Venture Creation

The most common activity associated with entrepreneurship is
the creation of a new business. There are two distinct segments
of early stage businesses:
Traditional or “lifestyle” businesses: These are characterized
by slow growth trajectories and a focus on serving local
markets. They may or may not have a scalable business model.
They are not characterized by leveraging innovations that can
potentially transform markets. Some typical examples include:
main-street brick-and-mortar businesses
freelancers
professional services
artists
High-growth businesses: These businesses are characterized
by fast growth trajectories and a scalable business models.
They tend to leverage innovations to potentially transform
markets. These businesses typically include:
information and communication technology, both
hardware and services
digital media
life sciences
advanced manufacturing

A startup is an organization formed to search for a
repeatable and scalable business model.5
—Steve Blank
Scale-ups are enterprises with average annualised
growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20 per
cent a year over a three-year period, and with 10 or more
employees at the beginning of the observation period.6
—Sherry Coutu

9

Social Entrepreneurship

Intrapreneurship

“Social innovation is an initiative, product, process or
program that profoundly changes the basic routines,
resources, and authority flows or beliefs of any social
system.”
—Social Innovation Generation (SiG)

Intrapreneurship can operate in a number of ways, for instance,
as an employee-driven initiative to undertake new endeavours
within an organization.

As the name implies, this involves using entrepreneurial
practices to solve social problems, moving outside of the purely
economic realm.

Finally, there is the process of initiating a new projector venture
within existing organizations to improve the status quo. This
integrates risk-taking approaches to disrupt established
practices within large organizations.

Innovation + entrepreneurship
has expanded to include
generating social value in
addition to economic value.
Rather than privileging profits,
social enterprises focus on
addressing problems such as
climate change, poverty
reduction, and caring for an
aging population.

10

Why I n n ova t ion + Entrepreneu rsh ip?

I

nnovation + entrepreneurship skills are
becoming increasingly critical for employment
in the knowledge-based economy. A recent
study estimates that 42 per cent of Canadian
jobs are at risk of being automated.7 Given this
susceptibility to disruption across the
Canadian workforce, innovation within existing
economically productive sectors, as well as
new company creation, are crucial for
continued prosperity.

Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and prosperity. It
does this is two ways:
1. Increasing the inputs to economic growth, including:
labour—the workforce
tangible capital—physical capital such as machinery
and equipment or infrastructure
intangible capital—knowledge-based capital such as
data organization know-how or design
2. Increasing productivity—finding new ways to transform
and increase the extraction of output from inputs.

Entrepreneurship is how innovation is advanced. The OECD
identifies four broad ways in which entrepreneurs can drive
innovation:8
as a disrupter
Entrepreneurs are the key actors in introducing disruptive
products or services that disrupt markets that will lead to
long-term economic growth.
as an opportunity identifier
Entrepreneurs discover and exploit previous unnoticed
opportunities to improve the status quo and address
unmet needs.
as a risk-taker
Entrepreneurs take risks by offering new things in the face
of uncertainty and by experimenting.
as a resource shifter
Entrepreneurs shift resources from lower to higher
productivity activities that can lead to longer term
productivity enhancements.
Innovation + entrepreneurship are intricately linked in one
ecosystem, where entrepreneurship is the conduit by which
innovation produces tangible benefits for society. By trying to
understand how innovation + entrepreneurship interact, how
they support one another,“ and how they can be supported
together, we can move toward unlocking the greatest economic
and social benefits for Canadians.

11

T he I n n ova t ion + Entrepreneu rsh i p E co system
nnovation + entrepreneurship don’t function in
a vacuum. They exist within a ecosystem,
understood as a number of components and
interactions. The performance of an innovation
+ entrepreneurship system not only depends
on the strength of the actors that comprise
the system, but also on the strengths of the relationships
between these actors.

I

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is
a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
—John Donne

Danish organizational theorist Bengt-Åke Lundvall defined a
national system of innovation as “...the elements and

relationships which interact in the production, diffusion
and use of new, and economically useful knowledge….and
are either located within or rooted inside the borders of a
nation state.”9

Each actor in an innovation + entrepreneurship system has
their own role to play, and these roles are in the most part
complementary. A ecosystem-oriented lens will help reveal
how these actors interact with one another and the complex,
dynamic processes involved in innovation + entrepreneurship.
Innovators and entrepreneurs are at the heart of a complex and
layered ecosystem. They are the source of new ideas and new
processes.

12

Nav i ga t in g t h e Ecosystem
There are a lot of actors in Canada’s
innovation + entrepreneurship
ecosystem, and they all play specific
roles. Trying to understand how each
actor contributes to the ecosystem is
a difficult task given their sheer
volume, their interactions, and the
variety of activities they pursue.
A conceptual framework
greatly simplifies this task.
This resource provides one to
help you quickly identify key
actors and how they each
contribute to the ecosystem.

This resource draws on Nesta’s Innovation
Policy Toolkit10 framework to identify four
critical outcomes to classify actors:
KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
Actors that generate knowledge, typically in
the form of research, and train people to
contribute to the ecosystem.

KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER
Actors that help extract economic or social
value from knowledge, including through
commercialization or leveraging
research-based talent to solve applied
problems.
INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS
Actors that directly or indirectly support
innovators and entrepreneurs.

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE
Actors that support or influence the framework
conditions in which innovators and
13
entrepreneurs operate.

S e le c t io n Cr iteri a
Given the sheer volume of actors involved with Canada’s
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem, we’ve limited the
scope of actors we can document at this point. This inventory
aims to capture the landscape of publicly supported actors, and
those that undertake activities with a public policy focus within
Canada’s ecosystem.
To be included in this inventory, actors must meet the
following criteria:
be active and engaged in contributing to the innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem within Canada, as
demonstrated in delivering the outcomes associated with
this framework
undertake publicly supported activities or activities with a
public policy focus
engage in activities at a large scale (within cities as a
minimum).

Actors were collected and curated beginning in January 2016,
and this process remains ongoing.
Actors were identified by:
conducting literature reviews and evaluations of Canada’s
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem
searching lists and existing databases provided by national
membership-based professional associations
reaching out to representative organizations in provinces
and territories.
Once we identified the actors, we compiled descriptions of
organizational objectives and their approaches using
information publicly available on their websites.
The information we collected and curated from each
organization included:
sources of additional information
organization governance—how the organization is
structured
organizational type
geographic scope—geographic scale to represent area of
influence
organizational objectives
focus areas—the organization’s sector focus
approaches
categorization based on framework and activity roles.

14

A Compass to Canadian
Innovation + Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
SELECT ACTORS

16

CAT E G O RY 1

KN OW LED GE
GEN E RAT I O N

17

W hat is Kn owl e dge G enerati on?
nowledge generation is the foundation of the
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem. It
involves the creation of new ideas and/or
skills, which have the potential to lead to
valuable innovations. It touches directly upon
the processes associated with the earlier
stages of innovation, namely at the discovery and invention
stages where ideas are explored, created and prototyped.

K

Knowledge is a necessary resource, but often insufficient for
innovation on its own. Knowledge generation in itself does not
always lead to innovation, as not all knowledge can be
leveraged for value. The market might not generate the
demand for knowledge that can lead to innovations. As such,
while knowledge generation is a critical outcome for a healthy
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem, it is only one of
many potential outcomes.
There are two ways in which knowledge is usually generated:
research and development to generate new ideas, products
and/or services
developing and training human capital to attain or develop
knowledge-based skills

UN PACKING
THI S S ECTION
P O ST-S E CO N DA RY I NSTI TUTI ONS
U N IVE RS IT IE S
CO LLE G E S
RE S E A R C H IN FRASTR U CTU RE
RE S E A R C H CO U N CILS + RE SE A R CH FU NDE RS

Generating knowledge pushes the frontiers of science and
technology forward, presenting opportunities for innovation +
entrepreneurship.

18

Po st -Se co n d a r y Insti tu ti ons
Post-secondary institutions include both
universities and colleges. They are the
foundation for generating knowledge in society.
One measure of that contribution is
post-secondary certification, which includes
trade certifications, college diplomas and
university degrees. Given that approximately
53.6 per cent of Canadian adults hold tertiary
degrees,11 post-secondary institutions are
considered a key component of any innovation
+ entrepreneurship ecosystem.

1
2

12
21

1

1
8

32
14

3

6
11

6

19

5
32
25

UNIVERSITIES
COLLEGES

1

35
4

3
3

9
3
19

Universities
Universities engage two core activities among many
that generate knowledge:
research and development activities, both basic
and applied research, to advance the frontier of
knowledge
capacity-building amongst people by developing
the skills and human capital required for people
to contribute to a knowledge-based economy.
Some universities offer a suite of opportunities that help
advance other critical outcomes identified by this
framework, such as:
experiential and work-integrated learning
opportunities for students to apply their learnings,
particularly in industry settings
technology transfer services to help bring university
research to market
business incubation and acceleration support.
According to Universities Canada, there are 96 universities
in Canada.

Key universities in Canada that are associated
with innovation + entrepreneurship:
The University of Waterloo operates the
largest post-secondary co-op program of its
kind in the world. This program offers
students work-integrated learning to develop
industry experience. In 2016, Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau referenced the University of
Waterloo in his speech to the World Economic
Forum as “a source of graduates with
sparkling new ideas.”12
Ryerson University offers a Zone Learning
model that provides students with
opportunities to turn their own ideas into
entrepreneurial ventures. This is supported by
Ryerson’s innovation ecosystem, which has
grown from its successful DMZ, a leading
business incubator for Canadian technology
startups and the top-ranked university
incubator in North America and third in the
world.
Simon Fraser University offers an extensive
internal innovation + entrepreneurship
ecosystem for students. It offers unique
entrepreneurial programs for students
interested in social innovation, such as
RADIUS (RADical Ideas, Useful to Society), a
social innovation lab and business incubator.
The University of Toronto was ranked as the
most innovative university in Canada in a 2015
Reuters report on the World’s Most Innovative
Universities.13
20

Colleges
Colleges advance knowledge generation in many
important ways, particularly with respect to
training. Their applied training programs develop
technical competencies valued within industry.
Colleges also tend to have strong industry
connections and the applied research capabilities to
help solve industry problems.
According to Colleges and Institutes Canada, there are 126
colleges across Canada.

Key colleges in Canada that are associated with
innovation + entrepreneurship:
George Brown College aims to enhance its
students’ “innovation literacy” - the ability to
creatively apply problem-solving skills to
diverse real-world problems. The college
facilitates experiential learning to this end.
Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
(NAIT) Polytechnic is renowned for offering
applied experiential learning opportunities to
students through applied research projects
provided by potential employers.
NAIT is one of the host colleges for the
Siemens Canada Engineering and Technology
Academy, a unique initiative designed to
provide engineering and technology students
with a solid educational and professional
foundation.
British Columbia Institute of Technology
(BCIT) is a leader in providing students with
applied experiential learning. It offers small
class sizes with programs developed in
partnership with leading employers. It offers
specialized training in the aerospace, digital
media, and transportation industries. BCIT’s
Technology Centre undertakes and
coordinates applied research, and assists with
technology transfer and commercialization.

21

Research I n f ra stru ctu re
Research infrastructure refers to actors that support
facilities, resources and services used by the
research community to undertake cutting-edge
research.

Having research infrastructure available is critical to equip researchers with the
right tools to push the frontiers of knowledge and explore the unknown.
Moreover, actors that support research infrastructure help create a research
environment conducive to advancing knowledge. This is particularly valuable
for the discovery stage of innovation.

These include:
state-of-the-art equipment
laboratories
databases
scientific collections
computer hardware and software
communications linkages and buildings.

Research infrastructure can be stand-alone or it can also be hosted by other
actors involved in knowledge generation, including higher education learning
institutions and research hospitals. The Canada Foundation for Innovation lists
over 400 research laboratories located in universities, colleges and research
hospitals in its Research Facilities Navigator, and that is not a comprehensive
list. It can also extend to corporate research and development labs.

SELECT ACTOR PROFILES
CANARIE
Mission:
To design and deliver digital infrastructure, and drive
its adoption for research, education and innovation.
Further Information
CANARIE’s domestic innovation partners and 100+
international partners
CANARIE’s 12 provincial and territorial research and
education networks
canarie.ca

CANARIE is a non-profit corporation that provides an
ultra-high speed network to Canada’s approximately 2,000
research and innovation institutions and advanced
education communities.
It assists firms operating in Canada with cloud-based digital
infrastructure to accelerate product development and
maintain their competitive edge.
CANARIE connects the 12 provincial and territorial research
networks to form Canada’s National Research and
Education Network, and links these partners to
international research and education networks.
22

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC)
Mission:
To provide a strategic knowledge and technology
advantage to advance Canada’s defence and security
at home and abroad.
Contacts + Further Information
The 8 locations of DRDC research centres
drdc-rddc.gc.ca

Genome Canada
Mission:
To harness the transformative power of genomics for
the benefit of Canadians.
Contacts + Further Information
The locations of Genome Centres
Genome Canada’s 2012-2017 strategic plan
genomecanada.ca

DRDC invests in science and technology to forecast, cost,
and deliver future readiness levels to meet operational
requirements.
It generates knowledge and technology, and builds strategic
partnerships with a variety of actors across the innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem to create a robust, connected
and multi-jurisdictional security and intelligence
environment to meet its goals.
DRDC anticipates science and technology defence and
security challenges and acts as the catalyst for an innovative
defence and security sector across Canada.

Genome Canada operates on a partnership basis at the
program and research project level, connecting ideas and
people across the public and private sector to find new uses
and applications for genomics. It makes large-scale
strategic investments in cutting-edge genomics research to
fuel technology and innovation.
It translates discoveries into solutions across key sectors of
national importance and conducts applied research to
improve the quality of life for Canadians and strengthen the
country's bioeconomy.
Genome Canada also contributes to scholarship on the
ethical, environmental, economic, legal and social
challenges and opportunities of genomics in all its activities
and uses that knowledge to inform policy and practice in
the field of genomics to improve the possibilities that
scientific discovery leads to real-world benefit.

23

Re searc h Co u n c ils + Research F u nders
Research councils and research funders set the research agenda and invest funds to be used by the research
and development community in conducting cutting-edge research for the benefit of Canada. The research
agenda will usually align with federal or provincial science and technology strategies.
Research councils and research funders may also undertake research activities themselves.

KEY ACTOR PROFILES
National Research Council (NRC)
Mission:
Partnering to provide innovation support,
strategic research, scientific and technical
services to develop and deploy solutions to
meet Canada's current and future industrial and
societal needs.
Further Information
The NRC’s areas of R&D
The NRC’s programs and services
The locations of the NRC’s research facilities
nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

The NRC, Canada’s premier organization for research and
development, provides opportunities to industry partners
to leverage the R&D solutions and intellectual property
developed from its licensing arrangements.
It also facilitates access to advanced research
infrastructure for its clients, and helps reduce the risk
involved in innovation and commercialization by focusing
on three priority research areas: emerging technologies,
life sciences, and engineering.
The NRC directly supports small and medium-sized
enterprises with advisory support and referrals through a
Concierge Service, and direct financial support through its
Industrial Research Assistance Program—the largest direct
support program of its kind in Canada.

24

Tri- Council Agencies
Mission:
To invest in the generation, application and
sharing of knowledge, train the next generation
of research talent, and build opportunities for
collaboration and partnerships.
Further Information
CIHR: cihr-irsc.gc.ca
NSERC: nserc-crsng.gc.ca
SSHRC: sshrc-crsh.gc.ca
Tri-Council Agencies’ Delivery Plans
CIHR Strategic Plan
NSERC Strategic Plan
SSHRC Strategic Plan

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
Mission:
To build Canada’s capacity to undertake
world-class research and technology
development to benefit Canadians.
Further Information:
The locations of CFI research facilities in
universities, colleges and research hospitals
innovation.ca

The Tri-Council Agencies comprise three major research
councils that provide a significant amount of funding for
post-secondary institutions in Canada.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
funds health research.
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada (NSERC) funds academic science
and technology research.
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
(SSHRC) funds academic social sciences and
humanities research.
The Tri-Agencies offer fiduciary support for researchers in
universities, hospitals, and other institutes, and
disseminate the knowledge generated by research. They
facilitate interactions between researchers in academia
and local, provincial, and federal governments, industry,
and the broader community. (This is particularly true for
NSERC, which offers the NSERC Engage Grant, connecting
researchers to short-term industrial research projects.)
Created by the Government of Canada in 1997, the CFI
provides funding architecture to support cutting-edge
research infrastructure in Canada, including equipment,
databases, facilities and more, plus new programs for
colleges and major science initiatives.
It funds up to 40 per cent of a project’s research
infrastructure costs. Research projects are assessed by
three criteria: quality of the research and its need for
infrastructure, contribution to strengthening the capacity
for innovation, and potential benefits to Canada.
The CFI offers a variety of programs through three
channels: 1) open competitions for innovative
infrastructure projects, such as the Innovation Fund
program, 2) an allocation-based program that helps
universities recruit and retain talent, and 3) partial
operating and maintenance cost offsets.

25

CAT E G O RY 2

KN OW L ED GE
T RA N SFE R

26

What is Kn owl e dge Transfer?
nowledge must have some value proposition
for society for it to become innovation +
entrepreneurship. Knowledge transfer is the
process of transforming knowledge manifested
as research, science and technology into
something that can go to market.
It is the capacity of the innovation + entrepreneurship
ecosystem to extract value from knowledge such that it moves
up the value chain.

K

Knowledge can be transferred to the wider innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem in various ways, such as:
Technology transfer and commercialization—facilitating
the adoption of innovations in the market
Leveraging talent—having highly qualified people work on
solving problems, particularly industry problems, to
improve the status quo.

UN PACKING
THI S S ECTION
RE S E A R C H + T E C H NOLO GY PA RKS
T E C HN O LO GY T RA NSF E R +
CO M ME R CIA L IZ ATI ON NE TWORKS
ACA D E M IC- IN D U STRY L I A I SONS

Knowledge transfer as a general category of outcomes requires
collaboration between a variety of actors. Many actors that
contribute to knowledge transfer within an innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem operate as innovation
intermediaries. They facilitate interactions between different
classes of actors to enhance connections and
complementarities within the ecosystem.

27

Re searc h + Te c h nol ogy Parks
Research and technology parks co-locate industry,
governments and academics to advance innovation
+ entrepreneurship. They act as hosts to offer
physical space to organizations, which encourages
collaboration within the ecosystem.
Research parks are structured as not-for-profits focused on
driving new innovations to the market. They provide the
support existing knowledge-based businesses need to enable
export-ready ventures to thrive in the Canadian ecosystem.

The Association of University Research & Technology Parks (AURP) Canada
says research parks typically have:
a master development plan with potential to accommodate new and
expanding knowledge-based businesses
an incubation and/or acceleration centre
a collaboration agreement with the affiliated university to drive new
innovations to the market and increase technology transfer
opportunities
a role in promoting technology-led economic development for the
community or the region.14-

SELECT ACTOR PROFILES
MaRS Discovery District
Mission:
To bridge the gap between what people need and
what governments can provide.
Further Information
Newsletter subscription
marsdd.com

The MaRS Discovery District brings together educators,
researchers, social scientists, entrepreneurs, and business
experts under one roof with lab, office, event and meeting
space. It offers services in six broad sectoral clusters: 1)
cleantech, 2) health, 3) information & communications
technology, 4) social innovation, 5) work & learning, and 6)
financial technology (FinTech). It gives early-stage capital to
a number of startups in those clusters through programs
such as the Investment Accelerator Fund.
MaRS provides in-kind venture service support to client
innovators and entrepreneurs. It partners and convenes
with various stakeholders focused on fostering
systems-level change across all sectors.
28

Zones Québec Innovation (Zones QI)
Mission:
To accelerate the intermeshing of high-tech
businesses and public research platforms in Québec
to facilitate commercialization of its innovations.
Further Information
The locations of Zones Québec Innovation 11
research & technology parks

Zones QI is a collection of the province’s leading 11 technology
parks that serves as a regional anchor to attract and retain
talent, specifically in the high-technology sector, and to connect
research centres, incubation services and capital to transfer
research into marketable products..
It offers accreditation to maintain quality standards in
innovation zones across the province and serves as a leading
voice for innovation + entrepreneurship in Québec.

zonesquebecinnovation.com

Zones QI promotes Québec’s innovation + entrepreneurship
ecosystem to referral agents and to other potential business
prospects and attracts them to invest in Québec.

Innovation Place

Innovation Place is one of North America’s most successful
university-affiliated technology parks, contributing
approximately $830 million to Saskatchewan’s economy in 2015.

Mission:
To create, encourage and facilitate business
opportunities in the Saskatchewan technology
sector, and partner in supporting Saskatchewan’s
economic prosperity.
Further Information:
Innovation Place’s three locations
innovationplace.com

With facilities in Saskatoon, Regina, and Prince Albert, it
provides office space and access to laboratory equipment for
researchers and tenant clients and organizes programs to bridge
the gap between research and industry.
Innovation Place supports the growth of four key sectors: 1) high
technology, 2) life sciences, 3) natural resources, and
4) agri-tech.

29

Tec h n o l ogy T ra n sfer + Com m erci al i zat io n Net wo rks
These actors often act as intermediaries,
connecting actors in the innovation ecosystem,
particularly linking those involved in
knowledge generation with entrepreneurs.
Technology transfer and commercialization
bodies provide technical support and advice to
assess and then assist new knowledge and
intellectual property in getting to market.

S

In Canada, many bodies intended to encourage commercialization of
research adopt a “centres of excellence” model. These organizations aim
to influence university research by facilitating a number of partnerships
between universities and industry, and by providing incentives for
university research to work on industry-defined problems.

ACTOR PROFILES
Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada (NCE)
Mission:
To help build a more advanced, healthy, competitive
and prosperous country.
Further Information:
The list of funded Networks and Centres of
Excellence
The locations of Canada’s Networks of Centres of
Excellence
nce-rce.gc.ca

The core approach of the Networks of Centres of xcellence
ecretariat is to mobili e research talent and entrepreneurial
talent and build opportunities, domestically and internationally,
to collaborate to address specific issues in strategic areas.
The NC facilitates collaboration between researchers across
disciplines and sectors to solve ma or social, economic, and
health issues within the Canadian context.
t offers a suite of programs convening a variety of partnerships
that harness the best talent in the natural sciences,
engineering, social sciences and health sciences. or example,
the NC ’s ndustrial &D nternship Program allows highly
trained students to gain industry experience researching
solutions to private sector challenges.

30

Alberta Inn0vates (AI)
Mission:
To provide a world-class and globally competitive
knowledge transfer system to support the province’s
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Further Information
A list of programs that Alberta Innovates offers
albertainnovates.ca
Health Solutions—aihealthsolutions.ca
Bio Solutions—bio.albertainnovates.ca
Energy and Environment Solutions—ai-ees.ca
Technology Futures—albertatechfutures.ca

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)
Mission:
To accelerate innovation through game-changing
research leading to successful commercialization
and vibrant collaboration between industry and
academia, launching the next generation of products
and jobs.
Further Information:
A list of programs the OCE offers
oce-ontario.org

AI a research network focused on commercializing research by
connecting universities, government and industry to fund and
drive innovation.
It comprises four corporations: bio-solutions, health solutions,
energy and environment solutions, and technology futures that
support research and innovation in agriculture, food and
forestry, health and disease, energy and the environment, the
commercialization of technology products and growth of
technology firms.
AI also offers in-kind technical support services intended to
commercialize research discoveries from advisory services to
prototyping support through its Technology Development
Advisors.

The OCE seeks to transform Ontario into a leading jurisdiction
for knowledge transfer to commercialize cutting-edge research.
It’s a leader in facilitating academia-to-industry collaborations,
and connecting with other provincial actors like the Ontario
Network of Entrepreneurs.
The OCE offers a suite of programs aimed at leveraging Ontario’s
research capacity in three key areas:
1) the Academic-Industry R&D Collaboration, including the
OCE’s Collaboration Voucher Program and TalentEdge Program
2) programs such as Market Readiness and Mind to Market to
commercialize intellectual property that emerges from publicly
supported research, and
3) entrepreneurship programs for youth and students across the
province, such as the On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities
and the Campus-Linked Accelerators.

31

Acade mic - I n d u stry Li ai sons
Academic-industry liaisons or technology
transfer offices act within universities to
connect them with industry and the
broader market. This can mean exposing
university research to the market through
technology transfer or linking talented
researchers to industry problems.

Academic-industry liaisons play a key role in the overall ecosystem of actors
involved with technology, often serving as a central point of contact between
universities and industry. They serve two main functions:
evaluating the commercial potential of knowledge and intellectual property
produced within the university
creating collaboration and partnership opportunities between university
researchers and industry to work on defined research projects.
Canadian universities usually have their own set of intellectual property policies.
In universities that do not have standalone academic-industry liaisons, their
respective research services would manage services such as facilitating
commercialization and/or academic-industry research collaborations. Universities
often have a vice president of research, whose office may possess the capacity to
facilitate commercialization.

SELECT ACTOR PROFILES
Réseau Trans-tech
Mission:
To promote collaboration among, contribute to the
development of, and represent its members in
dealings with government, scientific and business
organizations and actors, with a view to stimulating
the economic development of all regions of Québec.
Further Information:
reseautranstech.qc.ca

Réseau Trans-tech is the network of all College Centres for
the Transfer of Technologies (CCTT). These are applied
research centres affiliated with the cégeps (Collèges
d'enseignement général et professionnel—the first level of
post-secondary education in Québec) and colleges in Québec.
CCTTs aim to support the innovation + entrepreneurship in
the province through technical support, technological
development, and providing information and training.
Réseau Trans-tech’s work as a network for integrated applied
research and technology transfer resources contributes to
both enriching the training provided at colleges and cégeps in
Québec and supporting the technological innovation process
of business.
32

Springboard Atlantic
Mission:
To mobilize innovation to enhance the
economic development of the region.
Further Information
Learn about Springboard Atlantic Canada’s
program areas.
springboardatlantic.ca

Mitacs
Mission:
To build partnerships between academia,
industry and the world to create a more
innovative Canada.
Further Information:
Learn about Mitacs’ program areas
mitacs.ca

Springboard Atlantic works with 18 post-secondary
institutions conducting research in Atlantic Canada to help
them transfer knowledge and technology to the region's
private sector. As Atlantic Canada's central
academic-industry liaison body, it connects skilled
professionals in academia with industry experts across a
range of programs and services.
Springboard Atlantic provides subsidised support for
industry engagement positions in member institutions,
central support services, access to programs and expertise,
and leveraged funding to support relevant opportunities
for sponsoring technology development, technology
acceleration, industry engagement and IP protection.
Mitacs fosters R&D in Canada by delivering training and
research programs for university students and graduates
to address industrial challenges. This national,
not-for-profit organization, founded in 1999 as a Canadian
Network of Centres of Excellence, builds partnerships that
support industrial and social innovation in Canada.
Mitacs gives student researchers the opportunity to work
on applied and industrial research through five key
programs:
1) Mitacs Accelerate four-month research internships with
industry for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
2) Mitacs Elevate offers two-year postdoctoral fellowships
with industry with a particular focus on R&D management
and professional skills.
3) Mitacs Globalink funds internships for high achieving
international students to conduct research in Canada, or
for top Canadian students to conduct research in a Mitacs
partner country.
4) Mitacs Step is a series of professional development
workshops that improve the business and entrepreneurial
skills of Canada’s future R&D leaders.
33

CAT E G O RY 3

I NNOVAT I O N +
ENT REP REN EU RSHI P
SU P P O RTS

34

What a re In n ova t i on + Entrepreneu rs hip Sup p o rt s?

T

he final two sections of this framework centre
on supporting innovators and entrepreneurs
and the firms through which they operate.
Supporting the capacity of these firms to
innovate is critical to the innovation
ecosystem.

This section profiles public and private sector actors which
encourage and enable entrepreneurs to translate knowledge
into economic value via innovation, and contribute to the
health of the innovation ecosystem.
These actors support entrepreneurial activities in many ways:
Direct financial support—provided by federal and
provincial governments, or by innovation intermediaries to:
give firms timely access to capital
provide access to seed, startup, and growth capital for
innovative companies.
Indirect financial support—in the form of tax credit
support for innovation activities and research and
development.
Private financial support—Angel investors and venture
capitalists can be essential to supporting firms, particularly
where public sources of funding are slow or insufficient
In-kind support—which can include, but is not limited to,
providing physical office space, consulting, access to
networking, consulting, and access to research
infrastructure.

Public procurement— Public procurement of products that
enable the delivery of key public services with the potential
create an important source of demand for innovative firms.
It’s an important lever for spurring innovation.
Public procurement can be a major part of domestic
demand. Government is essentially a user with enough
purchasing power to constitute a market on its own. When
a government acts as a lead user to initiate the creation of
markets, it can enable the early adoption of new innovative
products or services. Depending on government efforts to
satisfy emerging societal needs, the state could have a
greater demand for innovative solutions than private
consumers.15
Public procurement can include:
general procurement—when innovation serves as a
criterion for public tendering
strategic procurement—when demand for specific
technology is encouraged to stimulate the market for
that technology
direct public procurement—when products and
services are procured exclusively for public use
catalytic procurement—when a government initiates
the procurement, with the products to be used
exclusively by private sector users
pre-commercial procurement—when government
purchases products which require further R&D, thereby
helping to share risk between procurer and supplier.

35

Levels of collaboration between actors—Collaboration
between firms and other actors in the system, in R&D or in
innovation activities, is highly significant to any innovation
+ entrepreneurship ecosystem. Linkages and partnerships,
through networking, in-kind or financial support, enable
firms to operate and generate economic and social impact.
New venture creation—The number and magnitude of
spin-off companies, contracts and intellectual property
agreements are critical outcome measures of supporting
researchers and firms.
Events focused on innovation + entrepreneurship—Events
can serve several support functions. For instance, events
like the hackathons run by Hacking Health and
Open Data Day use a competition model that acts as a
conduit to opportunities for funding, mentorship and entry
into business incubators or accelerators. Events can also
act to increase potential entry points for firm creation and
growth through networking opportunities and
collaboration.

UN PACKING
THI S S ECTION
BU S IN E SS IN C U BATORS + ACCE L E RATORS
E N T RE PRE N E U RIA L NE TWOR KS
RE G IO N A L D E VE LOPM E NT AG E NCI E S
MA RK E T ACCE SS + P R OM OTI ON AG E NCI E S
FU N D IN G B O D IE S

36

Bu si n e ss I n c u b a tors + Accel erators
Incubators and accelerators are directly involved with
helping support the growth of businesses.
While the differences between incubators and accelerators vary widely,
they are usually distinguished as follows:
Business incubators provide startup assistance that focuses on
early-stage entrepreneurs. They provide physical space and mentorship
for firms, as well as a number of support services that include
networking and cultivating markets.
Business accelerators provide more time-limited support for startups,
in addition to seed funding. Like incubators, they offer a range of
services, although they aim to accelerate high-potential firms to either
success or failure, rather than focus on early-stage startups.

Incubators and accelerators are created for different reasons,
depending on the actor that backs them. For example, as identified by
Nesta:16
Venture-backed incubators and accelerators exist to provide
better deal flows for investors
Institutionally-backed incubators and accelerators usually aim to
enhance local economic development or align with a public
research mandate
Corporate-sponsored incubators and accelerators are established
to help tackle specific research issues or to develop an ecosystem
around a core piece of technology.

SELECT ACTOR PROFILES
TEC Edmonton
Mission:
To accelerate growth of emerging technology-based
companies in partnership with the community, to
contribute to Edmonton being recognized as one of
North America’s leading regions for wealth creation
through innovation.
Further Information:
tecedmonton.com

TEC Edmonton is a non-profit joint venture between the City of
Edmonton’s Economic Development Corporation and the
University of Alberta that Startup Canada ranked the #1 Business
Incubator in Canada in 2014.
Through its people, networks and facilities, TEC Edmonton
strives to develop the region’s global reputation in three ways:
1)Commercializing technology from private, university and
public sources, 2) helping build successful innovation-based
companies, 3) fostering and promoting innovation and new
enterprise development.
37

DMZ
Mission:
To provide a world-class and globally competitive
knowledge transfer system to support the province’s
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Further Information
dmz.ryerson.ca

Communitech
Mission:
To help tech companies start, grow and
succeed—and have fun doing it.
Further Information:
communitech.ca

The DMZ is one of Canada’s largest business incubators for
emerging technology startups. Based at Ryerson University, it is
open to any startup with an innovative business idea. It
operates using a four-step model: educate, ideate, incubate and
accelerate.
The Digital Specialization Program teaches digital skills to
students who receive academic credit in the areas of business
and social innovation.
StartMeUp Ryerson helps entrepreneurs devise a viable
business idea.
Startups in the DMZ Incubation Program work on validating
their business model, R&D, iterating their prototype, seeking out
pilot customers, and conducting market research for their
product. This semi-structured four-month program includes an
optional additional eight months where fees may apply,
determined primarily by team size, with options for equity
exchanges or in-kind contributions.
4 The Acceleration program consists of a three phased
structured program ranging from to 8 months with equity
funding available.

Communitech is an industry-led innovation centre that
supports, fosters and celebrates a community of nearly 1,000
tech companies. It supports companies at all stages of growth
and development—from startups to rapidly-growing mid-sized
companies and large global players.
Communitech’s community-based approach to fostering
entrepreneurship is supported by strong interactions between
companies and individuals that link academia, research
institutions, sources of funding, technology and non-technology
companies, and government at all levels.
The Communitech Hub brings together key players—from
startups and global brands, to government agencies, academic
institutions, tech incubators and accelerators—to foster
world-leading collaboration and innovation.

38

The Next 36
Mission:
To increase Canadian prosperity and competitiveness
by accelerating the development of the country’s
most talented young entrepreneurs and their
ventures.
Further Information
thenext36org.ca

The Next 36 provides Canada’s most promising young
entrepreneurs with world-class business mentorship, capital,
venture building and founder development opportunities
needed to launch their ventures.
Since 2010, it has supported the development of over 200 young
entrepreneurs and their ventures through two key programs:
1) The Next 36—an annual eight-month founder development
program for exceptional student entrepreneurs and recent grads
that challenges 36 young Canadian innovators to build a new
business venture or iterate and scale a high-potential idea. The
program’s core offerings include founder development,
mentorship, network building, investment, a direct line to
experts and in-kind products and services.
2) The Next Founders—a four-month program for founders of
high-growth tech ventures looking to scale their venture that
helps participants build relationships with an extraordinary
community of business leaders, entrepreneurs, professors and
investors.
Since inception, these programs have bolstered the success of
industry-changing start-ups plus the creation of more than 478
new jobs and $48 million in funding raised by alumni.

39

En t re pre n e u r ia l Networks
Entrepreneurial networks are organized, formally or
informally, with the aim of supporting
entrepreneurial projects by providing or connecting
members to resources.
While this support includes financial resources and access to
research, the main focus tends to be human resources. Such
networks increase access to opportunities and diverse skillsets,
and provide direction and motivation to members.

Entrepreneurial networks bring diverse professionals together to build
social networks that are essential for entrepreneurial endeavours to
succeed. These networks not only help firms operate successfully, but
also help them differentiate themselves. By promoting each member’s
expertise and services within and outside of broader markets, they
increase their members’ opportunities.

SELECT ACTOR PROFILES
C100
Mission:
To help companies win on the global stage.
Further Information:
theC100.org

The C100 Association connects Canadian entrepreneurs to
successful Canadian investors, entrepreneurs and
executives living in the Silicon Valley tech community who
are dedicated to the growth of innovation in Canada
This member-driven non-profit supports Canadian
technology startups, founders and entrepreneurs through
its mentorship, partnership and investment programs.
C100 strives to foster a new generation of Canadian-led
technology companies poised for growth at a global scale
by helping members access innovative companies,
potential partners, investors and mentors.

40

Futurpreneur Canada (formerly CYBF)
Mission:
To play an integral role in the entrepreneurship
experience of Canadians aged 18-39 by providing
financing, mentoring and tools that will help them
build sustainable businesses and create value.
Further Information
A list of resources and programs on offer by
Futurpreneur
A list of upcoming events
futurpreneur.ca

Startup Canada
Mission:
To build an environment for entrepreneurship in
Canada.
Further Information:
startupcan.ca

Futurpreneur Canada organizes financing, mentoring and
business programs to support entrepreneurs at all stages of
growth.
Its Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program helps young
entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable businesses. Its
Entrepeer program offers entrepreneurs two years of business
mentoring as well as ongoing support. Its Business Resource
Centre provides access to an array of resources, tools and
articles to help create business plans.
In addition, in partnership with the Business Development Bank
of Canada, Futurpreneur Canada also finances ventures for up to
$45,000.

Startup Canada is internationally renowned as a best practice in
fostering grassroots entrepreneurship.
It cultivates a culture of entrepreneurship and generates
entrepreneurial momentum across the country through its
online platforms, grassroots Startup communities, and
cross-sector initiatives.
Startup Canada represents a network of more than 80,000
entrepreneurs. It oversees approximately 300 volunteers in 20
Startup communities across Canada. It has established more
than 400 enterprise support partners and mentored more than
20,000 Canadians.
In addition, Startup Canada provides an online directory,
marketplace for Canadian entrepreneurs, and social and
mainstream media cultural campaigns, flagship events, and
cross-sector initiatives.

41

Re g i o n a l D eve l opment Agenci es
Regional development agencies are public bodies that
foster economic development across Canada.

ACOA

They support business growth, productivity and innovation and work
to help small- and medium-sized businesses compete in the global
marketplace. These agencies align federal economic development
priorities with regional strengths. They work to support a variety of
agency sectors through services, knowledge, expertise and targeted
business programs that build on regional economic assets to help
create, retain and grow businesses, cultivate partnerships and build
strong communities.

CanNor

CED
FedDev Ontario
FedNor
WD

There are six regional development agencies in Canada, all of which
contribute to federal-regional coordination of Canada’s innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem:17
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
acoa-apeca.gc.ca
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)
dec-ced.gc.ca
Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)
cannor.gc.ca
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)
feddevontario.gc.ca
Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor)
fednor.gc.ca
Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)
wd.gc.ca

42

Marke t Acce ss + Promoti on Agenci es
Market access and promotion agencies help firms gain access to potential customers. Having access to markets, both
domestically and internationally, will determine whether a firm’s success or failure. Furthermore, improved market
access facilitates the diffusion of new knowledge and adoption of innovations. Market access also exposes firms to more
competition, encouraging firms to be more innovative to remain competitive.18
SELECT ACTOR PROFILES
Export Development Canada (EDC)
Mission:
To support and develop Canada’s export trade and
capacity to engage in that trade and respond to
international business opportunities.
Further Information:
The locations of all the regional representatives
located around the world
edc.ca
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS)
Mission:
To support and develop Canada’s exports.
Further Information
The locations of domestic offices in Canada
The locations of international offices
tradecommissioner.gc.ca

EDC is a self-financing, Crown corporation that operates at
arm's length from the government. It provides insurance and
financial services, bonding products and small business
solutions to Canadian exporters and investors and their
international buyers. It also supports Canadian direct
investment abroad and investment into Canada.
Much of EDC’s business is done in partnership with other
financial institutions and through collaboration with the federal
government.

The TCS is a network of more than 1,000 trade professionals
working in Canadian embassies, high commissions and
consulates located in 150 cities around the world and offices
across Canada. It provides expert advice designed to support the
growth of Canadian companies internationally, whether they
export, invest or partner.
The TCS offers a broad range of services that help Canadian
businesses determine if they can compete internationally,
identify target markets, collate market and industry information,
improve international business strategy, resolve potential
disputes, and find contacts, technology sources, foreign
regulatory authorities, and investment promotion agencies.
43

F un di n g B od ie s
Access to finance is a key driver for firms to not only survive, but
to thrive. It allows innovators and entrepreneurs to pursue
innovative projects, cover expenses, and accelerate the growth of
their firms. Funding bodies provide financial resources and tools to
assist various types of firms at different stages of growth.
Traditional businesses for the most part can rely on debt financing by borrowing
money. High-growth businesses with intellectual property may have different
specialized financing needs such as venture capital financing. Furthermore,
funding can be direct (i.e. grants, investments, etc.) or be indirect (i.e. tax credits).

KEY ACTOR PROFILES
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
Mission:
To help create and develop strong Canadian
businesses, particularly small and medium-sized
enterprises, through financing, consulting services
and securitization.
Further Information:
The locations of Business Centres across Canada
bdc.ca

The Business Development Bank of Canada is a federal Crown
corporation and the only bank in Canada exclusively focused on
entrepreneurs.
BDC financially supports small and medium-sized enterprises in
concert with the financial services provided by private sector
institutions. This includes low-cost consulting services as well
as business loans to enhance its clients’ competitiveness in
local and global markets.
Through its more than 100 business centres across Canada, BDC
offers clients a variety of financing options customized at the
different stages of their firms’ growth cycles. These include
financing, securitization, growth and transition capital, venture
capital, and venture capital action planning.
44

Scientific Research and Experimental Development
(SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program
—Canada Revenue Agency
Mission:
To encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in
all sectors to conduct research and development in
Canada.
Further Information
cra-arc.gc.ca/txcrdt/sred-rsde

Through the SR&ED program, the federal government provides
tax incentives for:
1) basic research—advances scientific knowledge but has yet to
devise a specific practical application of its results
2) applied research—advances scientific knowledge and has a
specific practical application in mind
3) experimental development—research undertaken to create
new or improve existing materials, devices, products or
processes.
These incentives come in three forms: income tax deductions,
investment tax credits, and, in certain circumstances, tax
refunds.
The SR&ED Program is administered by the Canada Revenue
Agency and provides more than $3 billion in tax incentives to
over 20,000 claimants annually.

National Research Council Industrial Research
Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
Mission:
To accelerate the growth of small and medium-sized
enterprises by providing them with a comprehensive
suite of innovation services and funding.
Further Information:
nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/irap

IRAP is Canada's premier innovation assistance program for
small and medium-sized enterprises. It helps equip firms to
perform research and development, commercialize new
products, processes and services, and access new domestic and
international markets.
IRAP provides technical and business advisory services through
industrial technology advisors assigned to coach clients through
all stages of the innovation-commercialization process. Its
financial assistance program funds qualified firms and their
R&D-related projects.
IRAP’s networking and linkage services connect clients to
industry experts and potential business partners. Its youth
employment program helps recent graduates work in the field
of research, development and commercialization of
technologies.

45

Grand Challenges Canada
Mission:
To identify global grand challenges (a specific critical
barrier that if removed would help to solve an
important development problem) and fund a global
community of researchers and related institutions on
a competitive basis to address them.
Further Information
Learn more about Grand Challenges Canada’s
programs
grandchallenges.ca

Grand Challenges Canada supports bold ideas that integrate
science and technology, social and business innovation to save
and improve lives in low- and middle-income countries.
Its core objectives are to:
1) identify grand challenges, notably in the area of global health
2) mobilize the Canadian and international scientific
communities to address those challenges
3) support the implementation and commercialization of the
solutions that emerge.
It takes an evidenced-based approach to development
innovation to help the poorest and most vulnerable
populations. Grand Challenges works closely with Canada’s
International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Global Affairs
Canada to catalyze scale, sustainability and impact. Its
commitment to key social issues like maternal, newborn and
child health (MNCH) is reflected in its programs like Saving Lives
at Birth, Saving Brains, and MNCH Stars in Global Health.

46

CAT E G O RY 4

ECO SYST E M
GOVERN A N C E

47

Wh at i s E cosyste m G overnance?
egulations and policies play an integral role in
supporting firm innovation. They can influence
the health of the innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem—and the rates of
firm innovation—for better or worse.
Government and regulatory policies shape the
contexts in which firms operate. From legislation to factors
such as basic infrastructure, they can either accelerate or
inhibit the creation and growth of entrepreneurial firms.

R

Some types of policy that influence the I+E ecosystem include:
Competition policy, which plays an important role in
creating markets for innovative goods and services.
Competition serves as an important motivator for firms to
innovate, developing better products.
Trade policy exposes firms to international markets and
competition, encouraging innovative behaviour. Trade
policies are particularly significant to technology-focused
industries.
Tax policy can reduce barriers to engaging in innovation or
entrepreneurial activities. For instance, tax credit programs
like SR&ED provide incentives that lower the costs of
engaging in R&D for Canadian businesses.
Intellectual property policy supports firms by protecting
their proprietary rights, allowing them to recover their
investments in innovation.
Sector-specific regulations can set the conditions for early
adoption and diffusion of innovative products and services.
For instance, since regulation influences demand,
smart-labelling regulations contribute to better informed
consumer choices and subsequently increase demand for
innovative products.

UN PACKING
THI S SE CTION
G OVE RN ME N T P O L ICY B ODI E S
RE G U L ATO RY B O D IE S
PR O FE SS IO N A L ASSO CI ATI ONS
T HIN K TA N KS

48

G ove r nm en t Po l icy B odi es
These public sector bodies are responsible for developing the
overall innovation + entrepreneurship policies and strategies that
governments are responsible for pursuing. They can also be
government bodies with a mandate to offer advice to
decision-makers on best practices for enhancing an innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem.

KEY ACTOR PROFILES
Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Canada (ISED)
Mission:
To further the government's goal of building a
knowledge-based economy in all regions of Canada
and to advance the government's jobs and growth
agenda.
Further Information:
canada.ca/innovation-science-economic-development

ISED is a federal institution that works in partnership with the 12
federal departments and agencies that constitute the
Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Portfolio.
Together, they work with Canadians in all areas of the economy
and all parts of the country to improve conditions for
investment, enhance Canada’s innovation performance, increase
Canada’s share of global trade and build a fair, efficient and
competitive marketplace.
ISED leverages government resources to help entrepreneurs in
four key ways:
1) It helps firms and non-profit organizations quickly turn their
ideas into new products and services.
2) It encourages firms to export to new markets and also attract
a larger share of foreign direct investment.
3) It provides access to capital, information, and services to
increase the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.
4) It promotes new approaches to community economic
development that prioritize community strengths and
information infrastructures.
49

Prov i n c ia l M in ist ri es
ALBERTA

Ministry of Economic Development and
Trade:
Science and Innovation Division
alberta.ca/economic-development-trade
-organized.cfm

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Ministry of Technology, Innovation and
Citizen’s Services:
Technology and Innovation Branch
gov.bc.ca/citz/technologyandinnovation

MANITOBA

Ministry of Jobs and the Economy:
Research and Innovation Policy
gov.mb.ca/jec/busdev/sibd/rip

NEW BRUNSWICK

Executive Council Office
http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/dep
artments/executive_council.html

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Department of Business, Tourism, Culture
and Rural Development: Innovation and
Sector Development Branch
www.btcrd.gov.nl.ca/department/contact_i
sib.html

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Ministry of Industry, Tourism and
Investment
iti.gov.nt.ca

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Innovation PEI
innovationpei.com

QUÉBEC
NOVA SCOTIA

Department of Business
novascotia.ca/business

NUNAVUT

Department of Economic Development
and Transportation
gov.nu.ca/edt

ONTARIO

Ministry of Economic Development and
rowth
ontario.ca page ministry economic
development and growth

Ministère de l'Économie, de la Science et
de l'Innovation: Bureau de la
sous-ministre adjointe à l'Innovation
economie.gouv.qc.ca/accueil

SASKATCHEWAN

Innovation Saskatchewan
innovationsask.ca

YUKON

Department of Economic Development
economicdevelopment.gov.yk.ca

Ministry of Research and Innovation
ontario.ca/page/ministry-research-and-i
nnovation

50

Reg ul ator y B od ie s
Regulatory bodies influence demand-driven innovation policy.
They use regulation to encourage innovations and their diffusion
through stimulating demand and promoting their early adoption.
This can increase the competitiveness of companies by driving
demand for innovations, as well as increase speed to market,
lowering the risks of commercialization.
S

ACTOR PROFILES
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)
Mission:
To contribute to Canada's innovation and
economic success.
Further Information:
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-interne
topic.nsf/eng/Home

CIPO is a Special Operating Agency associated with ISED that
administers and processes most intellectual property in Canada.
It strives to increase Canadians awareness, knowledge, and
effective use of IP. CIPO’s areas of activity include patents,
trademarks, copyrights, industrial designs, and integrated circuit
topographies.
CIPO’s core activities include:
1) providing greater certainty in the marketplace through
high-quality and timely IP rights
2) fostering and supporting invention and creativity through
knowledge sharing
3) raising awareness to encourage innovators to better exploit IP
4) helping business compete globally through international
cooperation and the promotion of Canada's IP interests
5) administering Canada's IP system and office efficiently and
effectively.

51

Competition Bureau
Mission:
To ensure that Canadian businesses and consumers
prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
Further Information
competitionbureau.gc.ca

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement
agency that prevents anti-competitive behaviour and deceptive
business practices, reviews mergers to ensure they do not stifle
competition, and empowers consumers and businesses.
It has the ability to take appropriate legal action against actors
who contravene its legislation, referring criminal matters to the
Attorney General of Canada or bringing civil matters before the
Competition Tribunal or other courts depending on the issue.,
In addition, the Bureau advocates before government to
promote compliance in the private sector, engages with
domestic and international partners, and liaises with key
stakeholders such as the business community, consumer
groups, the legal community, and the Canadian public.

Standards Council of Canada
Mission:
To promote efficient and effective standardization
that strengthens Canada’s competitiveness and
social well-being in Canada.
Further Information:
scc.ca

The Standards Council of Canada leads and facilitates the
development and use of national and international standards
and accreditation services in order to advance the national
economy, support sustainable development, benefit the health,
safety and welfare of workers and the public, assist and protect
consumers, facilitate domestic and international trade and
further international cooperation in relation to standardization.
It works with stakeholders and customers in promoting efficient
and effective standardization that improves Canadians’ quality
of life and also represents the interests of Canadians on
standardization in foreign and international forums.

52

Pro fe ssio n a l Ass oci ati ons
Professional associations are
collective bodies that play an
intermediary role between
association members and the
government.
These groups represent a wide variety of members
that can include actors directly involved with
contributing to the overall ecosystem (e.g.,
incubators, research bodies, universities, etc.)
and/or knowledge-intensive professions and firms.

Professional associations offer a variety of services to their members that can
include:
accreditation and standards
communication
self-regulation
benchmarking
networking events (conferences, social events, meetups, etc.)
best practices and technical advice to members
policy advocacy.
Together, these activities contribute to the broader innovation + entrepreneurship
ecosystem and influence the environment in which their members operate.

SELECT ACTOR PROFILES
Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI)
Mission:
To lobby the Canadian government on behalf of
scaling and commercializing local tech firms.
Further Information:
Website in progress.

The Council of Canadian Innovators is a recently established
coalition of Canada-based technology companies that wants to
help Canadian tech firms scale up.
It aims to be the voice for Canadian-based high-growth
companies that:
are home-grown tech companies (not Canadian subsidiaries
of foreign companies)
have annual sales totalling at least US$15 million
are increasing revenues rapidly via “organic” growth rather
than acquisitions
intend to scale for global expansion.
The Council of Canadian Innovators will serve as a collective
voice lobbying government for more favourable innovation +
entrepreneurship policies, including support of revenue growth
and improving access to talent for scaling firms.
53

Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation
(CABI)
Mission:
To advance the success of business incubators and
accelerators across Canada while enhancing the
knowledge and skills of these professionals and
promoting a better understanding of the business
incubation and acceleration role in Canada’s
economic development.
Further Information
cabi.ca

Information Technology Association of Canada
(ITAC)
Mission:
To promote and enhance the significant contribution
that digital technology can make to Canada’s
economic prosperity.
Further Information:
itac.ca

Its primary activities include:
accreditation—It has established a national standard for
business incubators and accelerators allowing member
organizations to become accredited and recognized
nationally in the designation process.
certification—It reviews and recommends organizations to
Citizenship and Immigration Canada for certification under
the federal government's Start-up Visa
Incubator/Accelerator program.
communication—As the voice for business incubators and
accelerators, it communicates developments in national and
international incubation and acceleration best practices.
partnerships—It promotes strategic partnerships nationally
and internationally to benefit members, and many of these
alliances protect public and private interests in the industry.
training—It organizes training sessions, conferences,
seminars, and workshops to support the development,
design and operations of business incubators and
accelerators across the country.
consulting—It provides professional support services and
tool-kits.
ITAC, Canada’s national ICT business association, aims to see
Canada become a leading digital society that delivers domestic
prosperity and competitiveness in a global market.It is
committed to growing an innovation ecosystem across Canada
that:
increases productivity through the robust adoption of new
technologies
drives innovation and competitiveness and works to
improve the talent pool, skills and diversity of the tech
sector
modernizes how the public sector uses information
technology.
Among the benefits members derive from this non-profit are
policy advocacy, networking opportunities, professional
development, and the promotion of the benefits of adopting
new technologies in industry.
54

Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity
Association (CVCA)
Mission:
To improve Canada’s venture capital and private
equity industry and drive innovation and growth.
Further Information

The CVCA aims to be the voice of Canada’s venture capital and
private equity industry.
Members include Canadian venture capital and private equity
firms, international investors, debt and equity providers,
institutional funds, government entities, angel and family
offices, and industry service providers.

cvca.ca

The CVCA advocates on behalf of the industry to ensure sound
public policy that encourages a favourable environment for
investment. It broadens industry awareness through market
research, professional development events and networking
opportunities to help members make the best decisions for their
investments. And it provides the most comprehensive database
on Canadian private capital investments, exits and fundraising
activities.

National Angel Capital Organization (NACO)

NACO is a non-profit national industry association that helps
ensure access for Canadian entrepreneurs to resources they
need to develop and commercialize their innovative companies
locally.

Mission:
To professionalize Angel investment in Canada and
evolve it into a new asset class of investment.
Further Information:
nacocanada.com

It accelerates a thriving, early-stage investing ecosystem in
Canada by connecting individuals, groups and other partners
that support Angel-stage investing.
For its members, NACO provides intelligence, tools and
resources; facilitates key connections across networks, borders
and industries; and helps to inform policy affecting the Angel
asset-class.
It achieves these things primarily through running industry
events, offering members a number of professional
development tools, running research initiatives focused on
industry data, and bringing forward programs that support the
efforts of Angel investor groups in Canada.
55

T hi n k Ta n ks
Think tanks, says author and scholar Andrew Rich, are “independent,
non-interest-based, non-profit organizations that produce and principally rely on
expertise and ideas to obtain support and to influence the policymaking process.” 19
Typically, think tanks position themselves as independent bodies that leverage expertise to influence
policymaking. Their work is usually aimed at political decision-makers, and can range from producing credible
research to establishing access to government institutions and political officials, and contributing to public
discourse through editorials, articles and commentary.

KEY ACTOR PROFILES
The Centre for Digital Entrepreneurship and
Economic Performance (DEEP Centre)
Mission:
To provide thought leadership and rigorous
research in the pursuit of public policy
innovation and economic prosperity.
Further Information:
deepcentre.com

The DEEP Centre is an economic policy think-tank based in
Waterloo, Ontario. Its methodology combines in-depth analysis
of case studies, econometric data and existing literature, along
with interviews with thought leaders and practitioners around
the world.
Showcased in a series of public reports, case studies,
conferences and workshops, its resulting analysis of competitive
strategies across the globe aims to provide policymakers with
unique insights into how to build a competitive edge in
fostering innovation and growth in their jurisdictions.
Among the DEEP Centre’s topics of research are:
mapping the changing drivers of economic success in the
global economy
evaluating the impact of digital technologies on
entrepreneurialism, innovation, and competitiveness across
industries
identifying powerful new policy levers that governments can
use to foster innovation, economic development and
employment in their jurisdictions.
56

The Centre for Innovation Studies (THECIS)
Mission:
To help public and private sector clients make better
decisions about innovation.
Further Information
thecis.ca

THECIS is a non-profit organization based at the University of
Calgary that provides independent research services into
innovation systems and acts as a catalyst for public and private
sector clients to make better decisions about innovation.
It focuses on studying and promoting innovation in Western
Canada and is also the Canadian host of the Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor, the world’s largest study of
entrepreneurship.
THECIS serves three core functions:
1) Creating new knowledge and building insights into how the
innovation systems functions and policies that can improve it.
2) Providing opportunities for exchange of ideas through events.
3) Dissemination of information through Newsletters, events
and other informal education activities, particularly for graduate
students.

Brookfield Institute for Innovation +
Entrepreneurship (BII+E)
Mission:
To make Canada the best country in the world to be
an innovator or entrepreneur.
Further Information:
brookfieldinstitute.ca

The rookfield nstitute for nnovation + ntrepreneurship is an
independent and nonpartisan institute, housed within yerson
niversity, that is dedicated to making Canada the best country
in the world to be an innovator or an entrepreneur.
+ supports this mission in three ways insightful research
and analysis testing, piloting and prototyping pro ects which
informs the nstitute's leadership and advocacy on behalf of
innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.

57

P R OVI NC I AL P R O FI L ES
ALBERTA
BRITISH COLUMBIA
MANITOBA
NEW BRUNSWICK
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
NOVA SCOTIA
ONTARIO
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
QUÉBEC
SASKATCHEWAN
TERRITORIES

This framework attempts to provide a national overview of Canada’s innovation
+ entrepreneurship ecosystem. However, given the nature of Canada’s federal
political system, a national view alone will be incomplete.
The intergovernmental aspect is immensely important as provinces are
responsible for key parts of the ecosystem.
This section provides a high-level profile of actors in the innovation +
entrepreneurship ecosystem in each province. We refer to source lists from national
associations (refer to Further Information in the Appendix) and have followed up
with conversations from stakeholders in each province where
possible to understand the provincial and territorial context.
This won’t be a comprehensive view of the ecosystem, and we recognize that
many actors are not captured. Nonetheless, we expect this to be a good starting
point to help navigate the key actors in each respective provincial/territorial
jurisdiction. This is a tool we intend to update regularly. If you notice there are
actors that are not included, we invite you to let us know.

58

ALB ER TA
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER
2 TECHNOLOGY PARKS include Edmonton Research Park and
Innovate Calgary
3 FEDERALLY FUNDED NETWORK CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
include AUTO21, GlycoNet, and TECTERRA - Geomatics Lab

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
8 UNIVERSITIES such as the University of Alberta, and University of
Calgary
14 COLLEGES such as the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT),
and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), a polytechnic
institute
30 CANADA FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION RESEARCH LABS

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, responsible
for coordinating and leveraging Alberta’s I+E ecosystem to
increase business startups and commercialization of ideas
Alberta Research and Innovation Authority, the advisory
body that offers strategic advice to the government on
innovation and entrepreneurship in the province
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS such as the Alberta Council
of Technologies (ABCTech), Digital Alberta, and BioAlberta
The Centre for Innovation Studies (THECIS)
see page 57 for details

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS
13 BUSINESS ACCELERATORS AND INCUBATORS such as TEC
Edmonton and the Centre for Research & Innovation
Alberta Enterprise Corporation invests in Alberta-based venture
capital to grow the province’s pool of venture capital
Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures, a corporation within the Alberta
Innovates network that provides commercialization support for technology-based
firms
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, a for-profit organization that supports women
entrepreneurs in the province
Business Link, Alberta’s hub to help entrepreneurs start their own businesses
Connectica, A service that connects enterpreneurs and innovators to programs
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: Western Diversification—See page 42 for
details
Alberta International Offices, responsible for advancing advocacy, trade
promotion, and investment attraction in the province

59

BR I T I S H CO LU M BIA
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

9 FEDERALLY FUNDED NETWORK CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE such
as Accel-RX, the Centre for Drug Research and Development, and
NeuroDevNet
2 RESEARCH + TECHNOLOGY PARKS include Discovery Parks and
Vancouver Island Technology Park

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION

12 UNIVERSITIES such as the University of British Columbia, and Simon
Fraser University
21 COLLEGES such as the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT)
84 CANADA FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION FUNDED RESEARCH LABS
RESEARCH FUNDERS that include:
British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF), the province’s
primary funding vehicle for research infrastructure
Discovery Foundation, a registered charity promoting the development of
the technology sector through education
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, funds research
focused on health sciences to keep BC’s health research sector
globally competitive

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE
BC Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services,
responsible for developing and implementing policies for
research and innovation in BC
BC Premier’s Technology Council, provides strategic advice to the
Premier on all technology-related issues in the province
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS, such as AdvantageBC, British Columbia
Technology Industry Association (BCTIA), and LifeSciences BC
Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology (CPROST)—think
tank based at Simon Fraser University to inform government on science
and technology policy

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS
23 BUSINESS INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS such as
Launch Academy and Venture Labs
BC Innovation Councl, a Crown agency of British Columbia
that directly supports startups and develops entrepreneurs in
a variety of sectors
Trade and Invest British Columbia supports market access
for international enterprises in BC and BC enterprises for
international markets
MentorshipBC, an online service matching entrepreneurs
and small business owners with successful entrepreneurs
that act as mentors
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: Western Diversification
(WD)—See page 42 for details

60

MA NI T O BA
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
6 UNIVERSITIES such as the University of Manitoba

1 FEDERALLY FUNDED NETWORK CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE,
the Translating Emergency Knowledge for Kids (TREKK)

5 COLLEGES such as Red River College
18 CANADA FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION FUNDED
RESEARCH LABS
Research Manitoba, a primary research funding body that
coordinates research funding in the province

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE
Science, Innovation and Business Development: Research
and Innovation Policy Division, responsible for developing,
analyzing and communicating policies related to research,
innovation, and science & technology in Manitoba
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS such as the Information and
Communication Technologies Association of Manitoba
(ICTAM), and the Life Science Association of Manitoba

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS
3 BUSINESS INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS such as
Innovate Manitoba, and Manitoba Technology Accelerator
Manitoba Trade and Investment helps to support the growth
of Manitoba’s economy through increased exports and to
attract direct foreign investments into Manitoba
Entrepreneurship Manitoba offers a range of services to
businesses and entrepreneurs at every stage of the business
life cycle
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: Western Diversification
(WD)—See page 42 for details

61

NEW B R U N SW IC K
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
4 UNIVERSITIES such as the University of New Brunswick

Knowledge Park, the research + technology park that serves
to house knowledge-based companies to facilitate a
partnership with the University of New Brunswick

3 COLLEGES for example, the Collège communautaire du
Nouveau-Brunswick
6 CANADA FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION FUNDED
RESEARCH LABS
New Brunswick Research and Productivity Council, a crown
corporation that offers 13,000 square feet in lab space for
research and development
New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, aresearch
funder that coordinates, fund and support health research

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE
New Brunswick Research and Innovation Council, an
advisory body to New Brunswick’s Executive Council on all
aspects of research and innovation-related activities in New
Brunswick
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS such as TechImpact, BioNB,
Health + Life Science New Brunswick and NB+

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS
3 BUSINESS INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS such as
Propel ICT and Planet Hatch
New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, a non-profit crown
corporation that serves as a funding body to invest in applied
research projects and new growth-oriented enterprises
Opportunities NB provides support services for local
businesses, foster high-growth opportunities and pursue
foreign companies to locate within the province
Pond-Deshpande Centre, an entrepreneurial support centre
based out of the University of New Brunswick
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency (ACOA)—See page 42 for details

62

NE W FO U ND L A ND A ND LAB R A D O R
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
1 UNIVERSITY, Memorial University of Newfoundland

1 FEDERALLY FUNDED NETWORK CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE,
LookNORTH

3 COLLEGES, including the College of the North Atlantic
4 CANADA FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION FUNDED RESEARCH LABS
Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador
(RDC), a crown corporation focused on increasing research and
development capacity in the province particularly in the business sector

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE

Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural
Development - Innovation and Sector Development
supports industry, new ventures, labour and research
institutions involved in innovation-related activities
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS, such as the Newfoundland and
Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI)

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS

2 BUSINESS INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS such as The
Genesis Centre, a Memorial University-based incubator
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency (ACOA)—See page 42 for details

63

NOVA S CO T I A
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Perrenia, a research + technology park focused on agriculture
and the agri-food industry, providing resources and technical
knowledge to create value
2 FEDERALLY FUNDED NETWORK CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
include the Children and Youth In Challenging Contexts, and
Marine Environmental, Observation, Prediction and Response
Network

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE
Nova Scotia Department of Business, responsible for creating
the right environmental conditions for innovation and
entrepreneurship in the province
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS include:
Digital Nova Scotia, provincial ICT industry association
Bionova, provincial life sciences industry association

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
9 UNIVERSITIES such as Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s Xavier
University
3 COLLEGES such as Nova Scotia Community College
22 CANADA FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION FUNDED RESEARCH LABS
Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT) supports research
infrastructure in the province by matching national funding from the
Canada Foundation for Innovation

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS
Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development,
delivers programs aimed at advancing and supporting
entrepreneurial culture in the province
6 BUSINESS INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS including Volta and
Venture Solutions Inc.
Nova Scotia Business Inc. a private-sector economic development agency
with a public mandate to support investment attraction and market exports
Innovacorp, a crown corporation that invests in promising early-stage
entrepreneurs in information technology, clean technology and life sciences
in the province , combining venture capital with business mentoring and
incubation facilities
Regional Enterprise Networks, provide regional economic leadership and
help to develop regional economic development strategies in partnership
with businesses, the province, and municipalities
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
(ACOA)—See page 42 for details

64

ON TA R I O
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER
6 RESEARCH + TECHNOLOGY PARKS such as the MaRS Discovery District
and the David Johnston Research + Technology Park
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), see page 31 for details
Ontario Partnership for Innovation and Commercialization, a network of
technology transfer experts located across nine member universities
19 FEDERALLY FUNDED NETWORK CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE IN ONTARIO
includes the Stem Cell Network, and the Canadian Water Network

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION

32 UNIVERSITIES, including the University of Toronto, Ryerson
University, and Waterloo University
26 COLLEGES, for example, George Brown College
RESEARCH FUNDERS include:
Ontario Research Fund, funds research institutions to help support
the operational costs of large-scale transformative research
Banting Research Foundation, a public foundation based in Ontario
that funds biomedical research in Canada
RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE includes the Ontario Institute
for Cancer Research, Ontario Brain Institute, and the
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE
Ministry of Economic Development and Growth oversees
key strategies and programs that support Ontario's research
excellence, commercialization, and entrepreneurship
networks
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS such as Life Sciences
Ontario and the Ontario Clean Technology Alliance
THINK TANKS such as the DEEP Centre, Brookfield Institute
for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, and the Innovation
Policy Lab

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS
55 BUSINESS INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS such as
the DMZ, OneEleven, Creative Destructions Lab, and
Communitech
Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE Network), a
collaborative network of organizations across Ontario designed
to help provide resources for entrepreneurs and businesses
Includes 17 Regional Innovation Centres for innovative and
technology-based companies and 57 Small Business
Enterprise Centres for traditional SMEs
Ontario Venture Capital Fund, a joint initiative with the government and
institutional investors to support investments into Ontario-based
high-growth firms
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES: Federal Economic Development
Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) and Federal Economic
Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)—See page
42 for details
65

PR I N C E E DWA R D IS LAND
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Synapse Applied Research and Industry Service, an
independently-incorporated enterprise aiming to support the University
of PEI’s technology transfer activities

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE

Innovation PEI, the government body charged with
developing and designing programs to support
innovation + entrepreneurship in PEI
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS, such as Gameplan

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION

1 UNIVERSITY, the University of Prince Edward Island
2 COLLEGES, the College Acadie and Holland College
4 CANADA FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION FUNDED RESEARCH LABS

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS

2 BUSINESS INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS, include
LaunchPad PEI and Prince Edward Island BioAlliance
Invest PEI, a government partnership involving all three
levels of government to attract foreign investment into the
province
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: Atlantic Canada Opportunities
Agency (ACOA)—See page 42 for details

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QUÉBEC
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

8 FEDERALLY FUNDED NETWORK CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE, include the
ArcticNet, MiQro Innovation Collaborative Centre, and CDQM
Réseau Trans-tech, see page 32 for more details
Zones Innovation Québec, see page 29 for more details

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
19 UNIVERSITIES, such as McGill University and Laval University.
39 COLLEGES, such as Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthhe and Cégep de la
Gaspésie et des Iles
87 CANADA FOR INNOVATION FUNDED RESEARCH LABS
Fonds de recherche du Québec, a provincial research funding
stream that supports research along three streams: health,
nature and technology, society and culture

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS

Ministere de l’Économie, de la Science et de
l’Innovation, responsible for setting the policy strategy for
Québec’s economic development and research

25 BUSINESS INCUBATORS AND ACCELERATORS, including
Founderfuel and Founders Institute

Chief Scientist Advisor, advises provincial government on matters
of science and research, and represents Québec’s research
community internationally

Investissement Québec, offers guidance to enterprises that
are looking to set up in Québec, and facilitate access to the
global market

Professional Associations, such Québec Technology Association
(AQT) and BIOQuébec
The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, acts as a source of
thought leadership on social innovation
Fondation de l’entrepreneurship promotes a culture of
entrepreneurship throughout Québec, and produces the annual
“Indice entrepreneurial Québécois” which takes stock of the state
of entrepreneurship in the province

QuébecInnove, a network of organizations that convene
actors in the innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES: Canada Economic
Development for Québec Regions (CED)—See page 42 for
details

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SAS K ATC H E WA N
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Innovation Place, see page 29 for details
Saskatchewan Research Council, provides research and development
support and helps to commercialize research for client firms
1 FEDERALLY FUNDED NETWORK CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE, the
Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE
Innovation Saskatchewan aims to develop policies and
programs that create an enabling environment to realize
Saskatchewan's innovation priorities
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS, such as the
Saskatchewan Advanced Technology Association

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION

6 UNIVERSITIES, such as the University of Saskatchewan, and First
Nations University
11 COLLEGES, such as Saskatchewan Polytechnic
14 CANADA FOUNDATION FOR INNOVATION FUNDED RESEARCH LABS

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS
SquareOne, provides entrepreneurs with services and
technical support
Raj Manek Mentorship Program, leading provider of
mentorship to small and medium-sized enterprises in
Saskatchewan
1 BUSINESS INCUBATOR, includes Saskatoon Ideas Inc.
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY: Western
Diversification (WD)—See page 42 for details

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T ER R I T O RIE S
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

Synapse Applied Research and Industry Service, an
independently-incorporated enterprise aiming to support the University
of PEI’s technology transfer activities

ECOSYSTEM GOVERNANCE

KNOWLEDGE GENERATION

4 COLLEGES, such as Yukon College, Nunavut Arctic College and Aurora
College
RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE, includes Canadian Network of Northern
Research Operators, Yukon Research Centre and the Aurora Research
Institute

INNOVATION + ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUPPORTS

YUKON, Economic Development Yukon

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES: the Canadian
Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNOR)—See
page 42 for details

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, Ministry of Industry, Tourism and
Investment

PROVINCIAL INVESTMENT PROMOTION AGENCIES: Invest
Yukon and Invest NWT

NUNAVUT, Department of Economic Development and
Transportation

FUNDING BODIES include:
Nunavut Development Corporation, territorial corporation of the
government of Nunavut that makes equity investments in a select
number of Nunavut-based firms
Nunavut Business Credit Corporation, territorial corporation of the
government of Nunavut that offers lending opportunities for
entrepreneurs
Northwest Territories Business Development & Investment
Corporation—territorial corporation of the government of Northwest
Territories that funds and helps grow SMEs
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Prov i n cia l + Te r r itori al Innovati on S t rategies
Learn more about Alberta’s policy direction at:
Alberta Research & Innovation Plan (2012) — vision for
home-grown research
Building an Integrated Knowledge Economy (2008)—ICT sector
strategy
Alberta's Health Research and Innovation Strategy (2010)—life
sciences sector strategy
Learn more about British Columbia’s policy direction at:
#BCTECH Strategy (2016)–High tech sector strategy
BC Innovation Council Service Plan – Delivery plan for innovation
+ entrepreneurship programs
Jobs Plan (2014)—vision for BC’s job growth in a variety of sectors
Learn more about Manitoba’s policy direction at:
Manitoba Innovation Strategy (2014)—vision for growing
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem
Learn more about New Brunswick’s policy direction at:
Strategies for Innovation (2012) — recommendations for growing
innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem
New Brunswick Information & Communications Technology
Sector Strategy (2012) — ICT Sector strategy
Learn more about Newfoundland and Labrador’s policy direction
at:
Innovation: A Blueprint for Prosperity (2006) — vision for
home-grown innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem

Learn more about Nova Scotia’s policy direction at:
The Way Ahead for Nova Scotia (2010) – stock-take and recommendations
for Nova Scotia’s I+E ecosystem
Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy
(2014) – recommendations on Nova Scotia’s economic future
Learn more about Nunavut’s policy direction at:
Small Business Support Program Policy (2011) — support for SMEs
Strategic Investments Program Policy (2015) – guidelines for investing into
innovation projects
Learn more about Ontario’s policy direction at:
Seizing Global Opportunities: Ontario's Innovation Agenda (2008)
–vision for a home-grown innovation + entrepreneurship ecosystem
Ontario Life Sciences Commercialization Strategy (2010) –
Life sciences sector commercialization strategy
Impact: A Social Enterprise Strategy (2014) – social enterprise strategy
Towards an Ontario Health Innovation Strategy – healthcare system
innovation strategy
Learn more about Québec’s policy direction at:
Québec’s National Research and Innovation Policy (2014) – vision for
home-grown research
Learn more about Saskatchewan’s policy direction at:
The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth (2012) – vision for home-grown
economic growth by 2020

Learn more about the Northwest Territories’ policy direction at:
Support to Entrepreneur and Economic Development Policy –
funding support for entrepreneurs
Economic Opportunities Strategy (2013) – implementation plan
for economic development
Building a Path for Northern Science (2009) – vision for
homegrown scientific research

70

Find more information:
Where can you go to get a list of UNIVERSITIES in
Canada?
For this Compass framework, we drew on the list of
member universities provided by Universities Canada.
Where can you go to get a list of COLLEGES in Canada?
We primarily referred to the list of member colleges and
institutes provided by Colleges and Institutes Canada.
Where can you go to get a list of RESEARCH
INFRASTRUCTURE FACILITIES in Canada?
While we don’t have a comprehensive list of research
infrastructure facilities in Canada, we found the Canada
Foundation for Innovation's Navigation Tool helpful.
Where can you go to get a list of RESEARCH +
TECHNOLOGY PARKS in Canada?
We worked off of the list of R&T Parks by the Association
of University Research Parks.
Where can you go to get a list of FEDERALLY FUNDED
CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE in Canada?
We used a list of networks and centres by sector, funded
by the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada.
Where can you go to get a list of BUSINESS
INCUBATORS + ACCELERATORS in Canada?
Take a look at the list collected by the Centre for Digital
Entrepreneurship + Economic Performance.

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En dn o tes
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Coutu, S. (2014). The Scale-Up Report on UK Economic Growth. Retrieved from
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Nesta. (2015). Innovation in the UK: Understanding and Connecting with the UK Innovation System. London, UK: UK Science
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Lavender, T. (2015). Reuters: U of T is Canada’s most innovative university. U of T News, Dec. 1, 2015. Retrieved from
http://news.utoronto.ca/reuters-u-t-canadas-most-innovative-university
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http://aurpcanada.com/canadas-rt-parks/what-is-a-technology-park/
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Canadian
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Nesta. (2014). Startup Accelerator Programmes, A Practice Guide. London, UK: Nesta. Retrieved from
https://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/ startup_accelerator_programmes_practice_guide, p. 7
17
Government of Canada. (2014). Regional Development Agencies Across Canada [Map]. Ottawa, ON: Federal Economic
Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Retrieved from
http://www.feddevontario.gc.ca/eic/site/723.nsf/eng/01690.html
18
Nesta. (2014). Startup Accelerator Programmes, A Practice Guide. London, UK: Nesta. Retrieved from
https://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/ startup_accelerator_programmes_practice_guide, p. 7-8
19
Rich, A. (2004). Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.11.
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