Innovation Hub – a Bad Idea

It is discouraging to see the idea of an Innovation Hub being run up the flagpole. On a scale of one to ten, I would rate it at minus five Doyle%2C%20Denzil-120X185.jpgas something that is going to solve the region’s high tech problems. About 20 years ago, we were told that if we invested in a life sciences technology park, we would grow a life sciences industry that would rival the telecom industry. We all know how that turned out. We seem to forget that Mitel started in the basement of an office building in Kanata and that a combination of its working capital and outside investment financed its real estate requirements thereafter. DY-4 started in a very ordinary building on Laperriere Ave – and so on. Our basic problem is that we are not launching our companies properly in the first place and after struggling to gain a market position for what is usually excellent technology, they get sold to U.S. companies and get turned into R&D branch plants. We need incentives for the very first investors in a company. When one considers that the only party that makes any money out of a new venture during its early years is the government, it would seem reasonable for the government to share some of that revenue – say 50% – until such time as investors get their money back. The scheme would need some careful scrutiny to deal with the fraud artists, but it would be preferable to more government-funded construction, whose real purpose is often a photo opportunity for some politicians. The bricks and mortar proposal shows only that we are bankrupt of ideas about how to fix what is ailing our high tech industry.

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