August 1, 2020

CATA CEO Suzanne Grant presents at CIGI/ Hon Mary Ng Round Table – 30 July

Exploiting current and imminent trade opportunities in digital technology hosted by Centre for International Governance Innovation and Hon Mary Ng 

CATAAlliance was invited as a lead intervener for: “Digital Trade: COVID-19 recovery and Canadian businesses”. A synopsis delivered by CEO, Suzanne Grant follows. 

Expanding digital and advanced technology trade and exploiting opportunities starts at home – with resilient and agile small companies. The resilience suggestions that follow, are drawn from conversations with hundreds of innovators, and are the tip of the iceberg. 

Proportionate assistance, delivered at market pace and scale can help exploit new opportunities. Existing programs have delivered proportionate support to hundreds of companies but fall short of deploying assistance at scale or pace. Government data, and existing due diligence, can simplify liquidity assistance eligibility needed to bridge toward the future.  The RR Fund – Data Solution can bring people back to work and protect sovereign IP. 

As entrepreneurs pivot and adapt technologies to new applications, they struggle to meet new vertical first customer buyer and investor criteria. The government can lead in procurement of small. Overcoming bias, re-writing guidelines that skew towards big, and incentivizing Canadian & small company made technology purchases can help. 

We also recommend expanding the “Go Digital”, a new program to upgrade businesses to e-commerce.  Why not incentivize private businesses to update their technology, and be more competitive, by purchasing Canadian digital and advanced technologies? 

And then when we looked at export development support, underwriting, and services, and financing through banks. Criteria and access are based on backward looking business models. A recently announced BDC program matches funding with new investment based on Intellectual Property valuation. This model is a solid step toward the future economy.  IP valuation should be more broadly applied to bank financing. 

Going Forward the pace of technology changes, enormity of global challenges and the hyper-competitive nature of markets, including major international investments into home based innovation, will drive the need for more private /public partnerships. Broader consultations with customer and competitor facing innovators are recommended.