A chicken in every pot? You decide
Timely, targeted and temporary.
The guiding principles behind this week’s federal budget are, on the face of it, what one should expect from a minority Conservative government grappling with complex challenges unraveling the global economy.
As the pundits sniff the economic and political entrails of this critical budget, the MaRS Blog has pulled together a handful of highlights for entrepreneurs and those who seek to seed innovation and help it flourish.
- $3 billion to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and the Export Development Corporation (EDC) to support additional financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises;
- $200 million over two years to the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP);
- Increasing the maximum eligible loan amount a small business can access under the Canada Small Business Financing Program;
- Increasing access to credit for small businesses through proposed amendments to the Canada Small Business Financing Program as well as BDC;
- Providing $30 million over two years for the Canada Business Network and $10 million to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
- Establishing a new Clean Energy Fund for clean energy research, development and demonstration projects, including carbon capture and storage.
These commitments certainly recognize the importance of small- and mid-sized companies as well as R&D; the IRAP infusion for one offers a boost for many of MaRS’ entrepreneurial clients. The question remains, however, whether BDC, EDC, IRAP and the other federal programs have the ability to flow this much-needed capital into the hands of companies quickly enough to have a material impact in the current situation.
We are in grave danger of losing a significant number of young companies in Canada — in fact an entire generation of companies could close their doors if we’re not able to act quickly and decisively.
As MaRS CEO Ilse Treurnicht told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning: “These kind of companies are not flip-of-the-switch on-off endeavors. They are complex organisms that emerge often from many years of research and scientific inquiry. They attract capital in a very intricate mix of talent to get off ground.
“Restarting them at some point in the future — magically — is a fantasy so we have to maintain our momentum in building Canada’s innovation economy.”
To hear the rest of Dr. Treurnicht’s interview, click here (.mp3).
A chicken in every pot? You decide.
Linda Quattrin was a newspaper reporter and editor before applying her interest in science as communications director at Robarts Research Institute. A member of the Canadian Science Writers Association, she is responsible for media relations and corporate communications at MaRS. See more…