Industry Group launches Canadian Government R&D Accelerator Campaign: Will Canada’s Innovation Minister Help Lead our Commercialization Gap Catch Up?
May 16, 2016

acceletator.pngR&D Accelerator Launch for the National Capital Region


“ Canada has a well-known commercialization gap in which R&D does not get translated into commercially viable products. There is an opportunity for the Canadian federal government to demonstrate leadership in addressing the commercialization gap through the launch of a Canadian government R&D accelerator. ” (CATAAlliance)


Ottawa -- CATAAlliance (www.cata.ca), Canada’s One Voice for Innovation Lobby Group called upon the Canadian government, led by Navdeep Singh Bains, federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to create a Canadian Government R&D Accelerator to launch startups that want to commercialize R&D created by Canadian federal government scientists, engineers and technologists.


The accelerator would be located in the National Capital Region (NCR), so it could benefit both from the deep well of federal R&D created in the NCR as well the private sector technology commercialization expertise in the region. Read Ottawa Business Journal (OBJ) article on Lobby Group Calls for federally funded R&D Accelerator and, Techopia's Blog post, Does Ottawa Need an Accelerator for federal government R&D? John Reid, CATA CEO, said “Canadian federal government scientists and federally-funded research and development programs produce world class R&D.”


He added,  “At the same time, Canada has a well-known commercialization gap in which R&D does not get translated into commercially viable products. There is an opportunity for the Canadian federal government to demonstrate leadership in addressing the commercialization gap through the launch of a Canadian government R&D accelerator.”


Making the Cases for an R&D Accelerator


R&D accelerators are physical facilities that bring together six to eight start-up technology companies with a small group of mentors and advisors.  Usually, the startups cycle through the accelerator for six to 18 months.  The start-ups get much more than office space – the best accelerators are crucibles for rapid product development.


While in the accelerator, the start-ups are connected to VCs, networks of advisors in their industry sector, and sources of industry research. The learning curve of entrepreneurship is dramatically reduced by immersing start-up founders in an environment dedicated to product and business creation.  On graduation from the accelerator, startups are ready to make a go of it on their own, often with the support of VC or angel investment sourced during their tenure in the accelerator.  


Startup founders would be sourced from the private sector and/or may include federal public servants that want to make the transition to being a private sector entrepreneur or pursue a special secondment.  


Potential Benefits

The potential benefits of a Canadian Government R&D Accelerator would be far-reaching:

  • The direct benefit of commercializing R&D to create innovative products and businesses.

  • A test-bed for policy makers in Canada’s public service to discover first-hand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the challenge of technology commercialization.

  • A critical access point for VCs and other external sources of capital to government-created R&D projects.

  • A vote of confidence for the scientists in Canada’s public service that they are producing R&D which can be successfully commercialized.

  • A showcase for visitors to the National Capital Region from outside of Canada to demonstrate Canadian innovation in action.

  • Visible support for a culture of entrepreneurship and cross-pollination between business and industry.

  • Creation of cohorts of entrepreneurs who deeply understand how to interact with government to address the needs of businesses in the innovation sector.

  • Many accelerators are located downtown in non-traditional environments and contribute to urban revitalization.  


An accelerator could either support a wide array of technologies based only on those that have the greatest commercial potential, or else have a more narrow focus on a specific industry or delivery model.  Software and digital media start-ups are natural fits for the accelerator model.



Johnson.jpgAndrea Johnson, member, CATA Innovation Leadership Council (video commentary)



According to Denton Partner, and member, CATA Innovation Leadership Council, Andrea Johnson, “ Many accelerators take a high degree of founder diversity as a given, including women in STEM professions, youth and students, and new Canadians – the only common denominator being a passion for technology and entrepreneurship – so this concept also gives an opportunity to promote diversity-related goals.”


Reid, concluded, “One of the beauties of accelerators is that they typically operate on a shoestring budget;  the  required investment should be modest and there are also obvious opportunities for industry support.  Accelerators typically operate on a shoestring budget so the investment should be modest.”  


++ Action Item

Mobilization & Engagement: If you have an individual or organizational interest in collaborating with CATAAlliance to advance the Canadian Government R&D Accelerator Campaign, then please contact CATAAlliance, CEO, John Reid at jreid@cata.ca   

About CATAAlliance Interact with your Innovation Peer Group Now http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Canadian-Advanced-Technology-Alliance-CATA-37239/about


The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) is Canada's One Voice for Innovation Lobby Group, crowdsourcing ideas and guidance from thousands of opt in members in moderated social networks in Canada and key global markets. (No Tech Firm Left Behind)