De-Risk the Bet on Innovation January 25, 2012 RICCentre By Pam Banks Jobs and the economy are a prevalent topic of discussion at dinner tables and board room tables around the country. Local Mississauga MP’s joined a round table discussion with Hon. Peter Van Loan, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and local business leaders recently. The conversation focused on how to balance the budget and support the economy. There was general support of Canada’s Economic Action Planand the policies introduced in response to the global recession. Overall Canada is in far better shape than the other G8 countries with a $62-billion recovery package to boost the economy and create jobs lost due to the recession. The discussion, prompted by Brad Butt, MP Mississauga Streetsville, focused on “what’s next”… how do we continue to grow the economy? The need for “innovation” was woven into discussion in all business sectors. Most agree that innovation is the catalyst for higher return on investment and economic prosperity but it is the “how” that is the stumbling point. Federally and provincially there are significant investments in research and development. Once the R&D is complete there are relatively few resources to help a company soldier the journey through the “valley of death”, also known as the path to commercialization. Investor sources, venture capital and angels, are all but invisible to most start- up companies. Boot strapped companies look to a first customer to help grow the company. But first customers are hard to find – established companies are hesitant to risk buying from a start-up. We need to develop policies that incent large corporations to buy from innovative companies. De-risking the business relationship will help put money into small growing innovative businesses. Growing businesses create jobs, contribute to the economy and support the commercialization of new technology. What are your ideas on policies to de-risk betting on new innovative companies? Pam is the Executive Director for RIC Centre. Pam has worked with entrepreneurs in all stages of start-up and growth through the Enterprise Centres and the Canadian Technology Networks. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.