Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Research In Motion (now BlackBerry Ltd), found that wealth from ideas is not something Canada is currently equipped for. The need to build a proper infrastructure to aid entrepreneurs globally is where the secret lays. Policies currently in place have little impact on an innovation economy.
Here are some of the issues Balsillie accounts for Canada’s venture capital failings and how to resolve them:
In Canada, policies needed for making innovation profitable are inadequate, which is why there has been zero growth in multifactor productivity as reported by Statistics Canada.
Both the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement and the subsequent North American free-trade agreement (NAFTA) have allowed for a better flow of products. Open borders are crucial for Canadian oil, lumber and beef.
But the FTA and NAFTA contain little about intellectual property rights. Ideas are not not tangible and thus difficult to patent. To make the problem worse, the decision is almost always decided in foreign courts, the United States being one, as the market for tech is created there.
Entrepreneurs & Policy-Makers Need A Hand-shaking
Canadian politicians and policy-makers may not understand how this works! It cannot be overlooked that countries like the United States owe their prosperity partly to the engagement between entrepreneurs and policy-makers. For instance, Google executives have visited the White House over 200 times, while Canadian entrepreneurs are expected to succeed solo. Without some love from policy-makers, entrepreneurs are left fending for themselves in a competitive global market.
Innovation Needs A Legal Framework
Canada needs a legal strategy – and now. Canada’s Federal Court have very little power to dissuade patent trolls with any severe punishment.
Though as part of the new free-trade deal with the European Union, Canada could negotiate to become a part of the Unified Patent Court. The EU has made its patent enforcement stricter and by implementing a unified European patent protection and court system; the ownership of ideas within the European market will be decided inside the UPC.
Prosperity is not for entrepreneurs to foster alone. Business or government need to step in in order to grow Canada’s VC success. With the potential to build smarter companies and employ more natives, Canadians can employ a commercial ecosystem that will help them meet their potential in the global economy.