Welcome everyone to our Roundtable on Sustaining the Innovation Ecosystem.
Today’s agenda includes Opening Comments by David Skok, CEO & Editor-in-Chief at The Logic, Special Remarks by Anthony Lacavera, Founder and Chairman of Globalive. And an important conversation with The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages –– with angel investors, innovation leaders and most importantly entrepreneurs.
The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) was honoured to host a collaborative roundtable on Thursday April 16 that featured an impressive selection of industry insiders who shared insights about the current state of the innovation ecosystem in light of COVID-19. The discussion also revolved around specific, tangible ways the Canadian government can better assist early-stage entrepreneurs and angel investors weather the current economic storm.
This session—the third in a now-popular series delivered by NACO every Thursday—included experts “united in attacking the economic effects that are impacting all sectors and level of society,” said Claudio Rojas, CEO of NACO. “If we focus on helping each other, cognizant of the effects we’re experiencing as individuals and organizations, we can better find new ways to collaborate and help the ecosystem.”
The 90-minute roundtable was virtually attended by people in each province and territory across the country and presented a solid focus: building solutions to help entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time. “We hear you. We know your collective strength can help us find new solutions and shape policies that can drive the innovation ecosystem forward,” Rojas said. Attendees were also privileged to listen to remarks by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, who explained the federal government’s ongoing economic response to the pandemic.
The respected roster of speakers—angel investors, entrepreneurs and innovation leaders—shared candid tales of their current state, and offered Minister Joly well-informed suggestions of concrete ways Canada’s government can help the ecosystem’s most vulnerable entrepreneurs and startups.
“If we move too slowly in supporting startups or focus too narrowly on scale-ups, the innovation ecosystem itself and its interconnectedness will unravel and Canada will, once again, lag behind,” Rojas said. “Or we can take bold action, make bold moves and emerge in the aftermath as a country the whole world looks to for leadership.”
1) State of the union: David Skok
“This isn’t really a time for fiscal restraint—this is a time for spending. This is the biggest collapse of the economic order since the Great Depression and if spending doesn’t happen soon, there is a chance we could experience a lost decade”
“There has never been a more necessary time for entrepreneurs and angels to work together to build a foundation of a new economy.”
2) Proposed solutions for government from industry leaders
“What the government can do in a straight-forward way is to support the construction of a world-class angel investor ecosystem in Canada that will drive our overall innovation ecosystem.” –Anthony Lacavera
“I would like to see income tax deductibility for qualifying angel investments in the pre-seed stage that have been accepted into a recognized incubator or accelerator. Any company that’s in one of recognized incubators or accelerators that’s doing a seed or pre-seed financing and has angel investor participation—those angels should qualify for straight-forward income tax deductibility for those investments.” –Anthony Lacavera
Originally Recorded on April 16, 2020. Cli