"Companies Not Thinking Global Are At Risk"

"Companies Not Thinking Global Are At Risk"

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment & Infrastructure, Ontario, Canada

Image credit: Entrepreneur India

The Ontarian Government is taking some serious initiatives to attract Indian businesses. In an interaction with Entrepreneur, Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, Ontario, Canada, shares the same.

Leaving other countries, why would an Indian entrepreneur take its business to Canada?

We have the lowest effective corporate tax rates in North America to do business. We have tax credits for companies that invest in R&D in Ontario. For every dollar you invest, you get 60 percent back in tax credits. Our R&D is 25 percent less expensive than the US and that is on top of the tax credit benefits. Inversely, these initiatives are helping us in producing some of the best young entrepreneurs.

Which sectors are attracting disruption?

ICT is the driving force behind the disruption led by Indian entrepreneurs. Apart from this, sectors like genetic science, supercomputing and quantum computing are where the breakthrough is happening. We have strength in all these areas, and we believe India has strength in all these areas too. With the areas like connected cars and artificial intelligence, we are just happened to be the largest sub-national producer of automobiles in North America. There is no sector in our economy that’s not impacted by the disruption.

While India is witnessing the startup boom, what initiatives are Canadian Government taking to attract young Indian minds?

The good news is we have reached the time where with just with a laptop computer and the Internet, one can gain information about all kinds of business opportunities even in remote areas. The challenge is to encourage that to happen on a larger scale as the economy needs startups to be the next big companies and the companies thirst for the innovation can be fulfilled by young entrepreneurs.

We are trying to build entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ontario in couple of ways. First is to instill the culture of entrepreneurial thinking among young people from junior kindergarten to all the way through the education system. Another is to provide entrepreneurs the system to get them started.

Financial support is must for entrepreneurs. How is your government ensuring it?

The one area that’s very important to create entrepreneurs is to get them the capital to scale up and that can be challenging. In Silicon Valley, there is a lot of capital, and outside, it’s more challenging so we are trying to build a strong network of venture capital and scale up capital in Ontario, but it’s still work in progress.

We have some government funds and venture capital funds. The federal government has recently begun investing in some venture capital funds. They generally fund the funds so these funds are not administered by
the government. Venture capital companies and the government is there to attract the capital.

The government should create a good environment for venture capital investment. Another area that we are working on is government purchasing. We are trying to get away from the traditional procurement that is only dealing with big companies around for 30 years, and we are opening the door for smaller companies that might want to bring in some new technology that can benefit government and make it more efficient in the end but also gives those smaller companies a platform that they can use to go global with their products.

What is your target of attracting businesses and investments from abroad?

I would say that we want to be the leader in North America. We have gone from not in the game to now been second to the Silicon Valley when it comes to startups and ICT companies. We have around 19,000 ICT companies in Ontario, and we will have number of other startups outside the ICT field.

Don’t you think Canada is creating future Indian entrepreneurs that will look back to India?

One thing I find extraordinary about this new generation of entrepreneurs is they don’t think themselves restricted to their city, province, country or continent. They think globally from the day one and that’s not the way I was raised when I was younger and most us grew up. In today’s global economy companies not thinking global are at risk. So, it’s a very positive sign.

(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (March 2016 Issue).

Edition: October 2016

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