Archived — Statement from the Honourable Gary Goodyear about Small Business Week and National Science and Technology Week
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October 19, 2011
Our country's economic future depends on developing and growing small businesses that are innovative and productive. As Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and for Science and Technology, I know that there is a strong connection between research and development and innovation and productivity. That is why our government is making local investments in projects that help small business meet these goals which results in job creation and economic growth. Recent indications show that we're moving in the right direction.
As a result of our investments, optimism persists in Canada–despite the recent flood of news about economic challenges overseas. In a recent TD Canada Trust survey, half of our small business owners stated that they are looking forward to a positive 2012 for business, and 13 per cent believed that next year might be their best yet. Shortly thereafter, Forbes announced that it had ranked Canada the best country for business in the world, up from fourth place in 2010.
That's good news for Canada's entrepreneurs, who are celebrating Small Business Week. Its theme of investment, growth and innovation could be equally applied to National Science and Technology Week, which is taking place across the country concurrently. These two celebrations are quite complementary: businesses rely on science and technology to maintain their competitive edge, while scientists and technologists need the know-how of entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to market. And nowhere is that relationship more productive in Canada than in the small business sector.
That's because small business is big in Canada: 98% of businesses have fewer than 100 employees. These businesses alone account for nearly half of our country's GDP. However, less than a quarter of these businesses can afford to invest in research and development. That's why our government supports strategic partnerships between players that may have complementary goals, but differing means of achieving them. Agencies like FedDev Ontario, created in 2009 to ensure that hard-hit southern Ontario received immediate support in the wake of the global downturn, focus on partnerships that can further the regional economic development agenda.
In August, I visited Seneca College in Markham, Ontario, to announce sixteen partnerships between local businesses and researchers, which will result in new products for Canadians and provide opportunities for students and faculty to further develop and share their expertise. By focussing on applied research and commercialization, our government is helping small- and medium-sized companies experiment with new products or production methods in a cost-effective way. We're also helping reap a harvest of the ideas being sown in our country's exceptional educational institutions.
Although we have made these strategic investments in the business and scientific community, we recognize there is more that remains to be done. Our government continues to put measures in place that support small businesses by creating economic conditions for success. This includes initiatives that focus on access to capital, commercialization of new products, business expansion, and training and development for youth and graduates, and a strategy for science and technology that encourages stronger private sector commitment, builds on Canada's research strengths, and attracts and retains highly skilled researchers.
With the talk now of brain gain, rather than brain drain, Canada is positioned to remain ahead with its innovative thinking, strategic policies and strong leadership. We can be proud of our country's track record, while always striving to do better.
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