Please confirm your interest in participating in an Educational and Advocacy Agenda Setting Workshop (Save the Date: October 25th in Ottawa) that is part of an industry and community led initiative entitled, “Empowering Hi-Tech SMEs to strengthen our Knowledge-Based Economy (KBE).”
The Workshop, limited to 60 invited executives, features public and private sector leaders knowledgeable of selling to Canadian and U.S. governments.
The goal of the Workshop is to strengthen the relationship between Hi Tech SMEs and the Government of Canada and improving Canada’s procurement system as a marketplace and first market for goods and services.
Your advice and guidance will also be the basis for go forward advocacy activities designed to strengthen Canada’s SME Innovation sector. We are providing a first draft discussion paper below as part of starting the conversation and welcome your input. Confirm your interest, today!
“EMPOWERING OUR HIGH-TECH SMEs TO STRENGTHEN OUR KBE” (first draft discussion paper)
Workshop #1: Strengthening relationship between Hi-Tech SMEs and the Government of Canada & Improving our Procurement System
Improving Relationship between Government Departments & SMEs (Topics of Discussion)
This part of the Conference will deal with departmental operations and potential improvements to help hi-tech SMEs to grow ( e.g., less in-house development more contracting out, more collaboration between Government Departments and hi-tech SMEs, more efficient setup within the Government departments, strong encouragement for collaboration between Public/Private/University/NGO sectors and with other friendly nations, etc). It will lead to recommendations about what improvements are required within the government departments to help develop hi-tech SMEs capacities. We would like to engage in discussion on:
This part of the conference will deal with Procurement issues deserving of attention. Many of these issues are related to the internal operations of the government which minimize contracting opportunities; many opportunities come only in the form of Ottawa based “body-shopping” thus starving companies in the rest of Canada. “Body-shopping” does not create any IP – the bloodline of growth – for companies to leverage. Other examples include requirements for more Canadian content, PSPC to have a more vendor-friendly attitude, realistic requirements for insurances, and more attention for commercialization possibilities.
Powers of SME Department
The USA Government officially established SBA (Small Business Administration) Program in 1953, but its philosophy and mission began to take shape years earlier in a number of predecessor agencies, largely as a response to the pressures of the Great Depression and World War II.
Canada started its Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Department approximately 10 years ago which was an interesting step forward. However, the SME Department of PSPC does not have the same powers as the SBA which is an independent Authority at the Cabinet level. It has presence in each Government Department involved in any contracting work. It mandates that 23 to 25%, and in some departments even more contracts, must be given to SMEs. Any large company getting a large contract must subcontract about the same amount (23 to 25%) to SMEs. This is rigorously enforced by SBA which levies penalties and fines for non-compliance.
In addition, the US Procurement system under SBA has an 8(a) Clause which is a Business Development Program to assist small disadvantaged businesses to succeed. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Canada should look into this Program and try to implement a similar program.