By Erik Oster, Podium Ventures, May 24, 2012
An improved ecosystem for startups seems to be emerging in Canada, where Prime Minister Harper recently put his full support behind the Startup Canada movement.
The Prime Minister’s endorsement, sought by Startup Canada’s co-founder Victoria Lennox since Startup Canada launched in March, arrived in the form of a letter of endorsement from Prime Minister Harper.
“I commend the founders of Startup Canada and the organizers of this inspired nationwide campaign,” the letter read in part. “I wish you tremendous success as you promote a stronger entrepreneurial culture in Canada.”
The public endorsement from the Prime Minister should give momentum to Startup Canada on their current tour of town hall style events at 30 locations across Canada, concluding September 18-21 in Vancouver. Lennox set up the tour with the goal of documenting the wants and needs of entrepreneurs across the country. Startup Canada then plans to create a white paper of recommendations based on the feedback provided from the tour.
In November, chairman Zarlink Semiconductor plans to share this white paper with Prime Minister Harper; he’s already declared his support, so there’s a good chance he’ll listen.
Startup Canada hopes that this will result in programs that provide Canada’s entrepreneurs with access to the resources they need to navigate Canada’s promising but still highly-fragmented startup ecosystem.
There’s still a long way to go to make Startup Canada’s goal of creating an infrastructure to support Canada’s myriad startups and, and they will likely need more support from Prime Minister Harper in the future.
Ultimately, real, meaningful change will require a good deal of legislative action and federal funding. Supporting startups is a smart move for Harper; successful startups drive economic growth.
Let’s see if he puts his money where his mouth is.