Ontario’s talent, research and diversity are key to building up the province’s businesses, attracting foreign investment and becoming a global economic leader. To ensure Ontario’s long-term prosperity, however, we need to also invest in entrepreneurs and economic development.
- Thriving clusters – regional concentrations of companies, non-profits and academic institutions that spur growth and innovation in a common field – help drive Ontario’s economy by encouraging collaboration and knowledge-sharing between postsecondary institutions, business and the public sector.
- Talent development and research expertise are essential ingredients for thriving clusters. From finance and the life sciences to mining and manufacturing, employers across the province depend on highly skilled university graduates and research produced by university researchers to stay competitive and grow.
- In a global economy, attracting top talent from around the world and drawing on the insights and ideas of international researchers is also essential, which is why Ontario’s universities put an emphasis on recruiting students and faculty to develop their ideas here in Ontario.
- A risk-taking entrepreneurial culture is vital for a dynamic and innovative economy. In Canada, small businesses, including startups, accounted for 87.7 per cent of net new private jobs in Canada from 2005 to 2015. And 16.7 per cent of working-age Canadians are involved in early stage entrepreneurial activity, up from 12.2 per cent in 2013.
- University incubators and accelerators have helped launch hundreds of startups. But after their launch, Ontario startups face challenges in scaling up into large companies. Too many companies get bought out and move abroad, Google Canada’s Fab Dolan said at a recent roundtable held by Ontario’s universities. “We need those companies to be here.”
- Ontario’s economy will continue to develop and thrive through clusters of innovation, a risk-taking entrepreneurial culture, and global partnerships that give the province’s employers and industries access to the brightest talent and ideas.