The report adds to a recent chorus of voices calling for governments, the business community, and other actors to build on the province’s entrepreneurial spirit by creating the conditions to enable our most promising firms to scale.
To position Ontario for long-term success, the report proposes recommendations to address six specific barriers preventing businesses from growing, which includes a lack of access to talent with scale up experience, gaps in the right kinds of financing, and lower incentives to growth offered through public programs.
Chief among the Peterborough Chamber’s recommendations are for governments to improve businesses’ access to talent in the short-term by creating a scale-up visa to quicken access to essential international managerial talent. According to an OCC survey, 63 percent of businesses that are looking to grow face a talent shortage. The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce also encourages governments to gain a better understanding of where current gaps exist in the Canadian financing landscape.
Other recommendations of the report include:
- Realign public programs and incentives to focus supports on high-growth firms
- Encourage greater international trade activity by linking more business support programs to trade
- Improve access to public and private anchor customers by leveraging procurement to strategically invest in growing businesses
- Enable accurate measurement and monitoring of the scale up challenge by ensuring collaboration between Statistics Canada and industry groups to collect and publicize relevant data
- Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce: “We are seeing innovation in all sectors of Peterborough’s economy, the ability to move a business forward in a timely and efficient matter requires a solid public policy framework. The Chamber is committed to bringing the voice of our members forward to help inform the government and continue to build an entrepreneurial support system here in Peterborough.”
- Mike Skinner, Entrepreneur & Interim CEO, Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster: “Ensuring that our local businesses with high growth potential have access to the necessary tools for success is paramount for sustainable economic development in our community. It is important for firms to know they have a ready support system at their disposal.”
- Paul Bennett, Ashburnham Realty & Co-Founder of StartUp Peterborough: “A lot of effort has gone into building and nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Peterborough over the past year and there is more to come. We are happy to support a push for public policy that encourages growth as it will only help our local businesses thrive in our community and other markets.”
- Allan O’Dette, President & CEO of Ontario Chamber of Commerce: “The release of Breaking Barriers coincides with initiatives currently underway by the governments of Canada and Ontario to help our most promising firms scale up. We have an incredible opportunity to leverage this alignment across government and the business community to tackle this challenge.”
- Sean Mullin, Executive Director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship: “Supporting the work of innovators and entrepreneurs across the country is integral to Canada’s future productivity and economic prosperity. Canada and Ontario stand to benefit from focusing efforts on supporting our most promising new firms and helping them succeed on a global stage.”
- Jérôme Nycz, Executive Vice President of BDC Capital: “BDC’s sole purpose is to help Canadian entrepreneurs succeed and grow. While our Growth and Transition Capital Team already supports many entrepreneurs with flexible, patient “scale-up” financing, we see the need for more. That is why we are already exploring additional ways we can help more entrepreneurs find the specialized financing they need to bring their business to the next level. Last year, BDC provided nearly $1.2-billion in lending to Ontario’s small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, $100-million of which was allocated to high-growth, high-potential entrepreneurs in the province.”
Scaling Up Report