Monday, June 01, 2009

If you can't bring Silicon Valley to Canada, bring Canada to Silicon Valley!

Through a series of “bootcamps”, the Canadian Trade Commissions in the US are helping provide guidance to Canadian start-ups on how to pitch and compete is a market as demanding as the US.

Select start-ups event get to move down into Silicon Valley for a while to establish operations and build a presence down here.

I’ve heard this process has taken some heat up in Canada because some claim this program is actually assisting the “brain drain” and creating incentives for start-ups to move out of Canada.

Rubbish! This is actually a very savvy move. What goes on in Silicon Valley cannot really be replicated elsewhere. Many programs around the world have tried, and almost all (if not all) have failed.

This program by the Trade Commissions is far more reasoned. Instead of spending all sorts of time and money attempted to re-create Silicon Valley someplace else, why not bring companies down here and let them learn from the original incarnation?

Canadian tech start-ups need access to the Valley’s ecosystem. It is not just access to capital, but access to talent, mentorship, new ideas and to customers. Companies, with one foot in Silicon Valley and one foot in Canada, are the best conduits through which some of the culture of innovation that exists down here can begin to filter north.

The local Trade Commissions realized this and through this “bootcamp” process have come up with a very creative initiative.

Will some companies move their HQs down here? Sure, probably. But they’ll also keep some functions back up in Canada and thereby create a great platform for SV/Canada exchanges.

And for the other companies that only stay down here for a short while and then head back, they’ll be newly armed with professional and commercial contacts that will help them grow their businesses.

Access to Silicon Valley means access to capital, expertise, and customers. The Trade Commissions are allowing Canadian start-ups to benefit from this access. Well done!

Canadian Technology Accelerator now open in Silicon Valley

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