i-CANADA SUMMIT: A Canada for the 21st Century
Sunday, October 21, 2012
SAT Multi-Media Centre, 1201 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal
With rapidly declining Venture Capital rates that depress the start-up fuel of innovative enterprises, Canada needs to catch up with promising American alternatives to traditional forms of finance, according to i-CANADA Governors Council member Dr. Cindy Gordon. Dr. Gordon is CEO, Helix Commerce International Inc., and Co-Founder, SalesChoice, and 2012 recipient of the coveted Governor’s General - Queen’s Jubilee Medal Award.
i-CANADA SUMMIT: A Canada for the 21st Century
Dr. Gordon will discuss new Crowdfunding developments at the upcoming i-CANADA SUMMIT. She heads Invest CrowdFund Canada (ICC), a national advocacy voluntary committee of i-CANADA/CATA focused on evolving the security laws coast to coast to help create jobs for Canadians. ICC is now partnering with the Crowdfunding Professionals (CfPA), which was formed out of the Leadership Group that U.S. President Obama made reference to at the the JOBS Bill signing earlier this year. CfPA Co-Chair Sherwood Neiss will join Dr. Gordon at the SUMMIT.
Mr. Neiss will describe the progress of USA Crowdfunding efforts, advances in portal technologies, and explain how the Internet and social media will allow an entrepreneur to raise a limited amount of capital from friends, family and the community under a framework that provides for investor protection, and stimulates job creation.
“According to the Small Business Administration, 50% of all jobs are created by small business yet only 1% of the capital in the markets is available to them. If we invest just 1% or $300 billion of the trillions we have sitting on the sidelines into Crowdfunding, it would be 10 times more than venture capitalists did in 2011. Imagine the impact that will have on our economy,” said Mr. Neiss.
“Crowdfunding is important to i-CANADA because innovation starts in the community,” said i-CANADA Co-Founder Barry Gander. i-CANADA is the only organization dedicated solely to the creation of Intelligent Communities in Canada. These centres enjoy the economic development, digital inclusion, job growth and social prosperity available to the world’s leading Intelligent Communities. “Crowdfunding is a way for thousands of citizens to use the Internet for small-grained investing. These small grains aggregate into a solid investment foundation for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SME’S). Perhaps it would also ease Canada’s perennial investment problem - a systemic lack of capital for innovative ventures”
ICC is also backed by Canada’s largest high-tech organization, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), and is lobbying provincial securities regulators coast to coast to make changes in Canada that would permit Crowdfund Investing. While the new American legislation would be overseen by a single national watchdog, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Canada still has no national securities regulator, after a Supreme Court decision recently declared such a body unconstitutional.
Leading the i-Canada and CATA advocacy and leadership efforts through ICC and CfPA, Dr. Gordon stated that “We are in a crisis in Canada in funding for early stage companies; capital access is down by over 60%, as private equity firms or venture capitalists have moved upstream to lower risk investments. Canada was recently ranked as a D in Innovation performance, and was downgraded by two indices in the recent 2012 World Economic Forum report for innovation sustainability. Canada's Innovation and Prosperity Agenda are linked to the quality of our public and private partnership (PPP's) and our investment frameworks. With Canada considered to be "best in class" in the global P3 market, public-private partnerships are becoming a common tool to bring together the strengths of both sectors. However this positive news will not be sufficient to shift our year over year declining innovation global status and our ability to fund rapidly start-ups and also have the courage to maintain a global growth path vs. early market exodus. Canadians need to take heed and catch up reg: emerging investment practices. Ontario is further behind with constraining OM practices. Although, It is well understood that Canada's Venture Capital pool sources are down and with the recent Obama Jobs Act , alternative forms of financing early stage companies are emerging from community centric, "crowd sourcing models," there is a lack of speed by security regulators in changing legislation. Look and see is pervasive, but new frameworks agreed to is two years behind the USA movement, 5 years behind Australia and other high ranking innovative countries like the Netherlands. With funding in these models taking less than 60 days on average, compared to six months to our current VC business practices, and over the last 5 years, no incidents of fraud, with 86% of the small businesses invested in surviving, there is value in seriously looking at what Canada can do. By combining the risk smart practices Canada is well known for, Canada can benefit from learning what other countries have done and develop an improved framework that protects stakeholders, but also recognizes social media and innovative technology platforms, monitored by regulators can open up new possibilities for Canadian entrepreneurs. We need to rapidly jump-start equity acceleration in Canada, and Crowdfunding is an emerging model for Canadian’s to seriously consider. We have more to lose by sitting on the sidelines, as this could present the most significant risk and exodus of Canadian entrepreneurs that we have ever seen. ICC, CFPA and over 100 volunteers coast to coast are asking all Canadians to help us legalize a form of equity crowdfunding. ”
Crowdfunding provides Canadian entrepreneurs with new alternatives for financing. Equity or Debt financing in Canada via crowdfunding portals is currently not accessible to Canadians. Other countries like: Australia, UK, The Netherlands, and the USA are actively making room for Crowdfunding to stimulate growth: Canadians need to catch up. A national petition is encouraging Canadians to step up. http://icanada.nu/crowdfunding/petition/. Comprehensive crowdfunding white papers are also available at http://icanada.nu/crowdfunding/learning-center/. We would like to draw your attention to the FAQ white paper, recently completed by ICC volunteers, led by Brad Ross, former CEO Entrust, Angel, and ICC Angel VP advocacy leader.
The new CfPA/ICC National Canadian Board will have board representatives from ICC, CATA, including: Sherwood Neiss, Co-Chair, CfPA, Barry Gander, VP CATA, Fawn Annan, CEO IT World Canada, Dr. Cindy Gordon, National Chair, ICC. ICC Governance leadership information can be found at: http://icanada.nu/crowdfunding/governance/
CfPA will be introducing its national Canadian Trade Association more actively in the next few months, with major rebranding efforts to integrate the ICC operation into CfPA global operations. (See crowdfundingprofessionals.org). ICC will have a seat for representing Canada’s national efforts on the CfPA global board, which Dr.Gordon will hold to further help Canadians evolve their crowdfunding practices.)
Sign the Petition to legalize Crowdfunding in Canada: http://icanada.nu/crowdfunding/petition/
Attend the i-CANADA SUMMIT: http://cata.ca/i-canada/