The Innovation Agenda: What’s next for VCAP?
By Mike Woollatt
CEO, Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
What’s on the Horizon?
Many of our members are wondering where the Government is at with the next Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP 2.0). First off, I am willing to bet the Liberal Government certainly won’t be calling anything “Action Plan” anytime soon. Names aside, though, I thought I would provide an update on where we’re at from our standpoint and the way forward.
But first, let’s take a few steps back.
The Government of Canada has recently launched a substantial rethink of its involvement in innovation. Titled the “Innovation Agenda”, the first step of the process is underway and they are now calling for input from Canadians throughout the summer to help formulate their plan to “position Canada as a global centre of innovation”.
The CVCA has been asked to provide input to this process, which we would have done anyway, of course. As part of our response, we are launching our own cross-country consultation process, to solicit ideas and priorities from our members and to help define our submission to the Government (and, if you are a member, you would have received notice of this already).
A big part of this process – in our view – is to ensure the Government views this as a broader “Innovation and Growth” agenda, which is sorely needed in Canada, as opposed to simply an early-stage agenda. As a result, our process needs to include input from all across our member spectrum – from those in private equity and early-stage venture capital, to our member service providers.
The Way Forward
So back to VCAP and its way forward. While I would not want to prejudge many of the outcomes of our overall submission to the Government for the Innovation Agenda, I think it’s safe to say that one of our principal recommendations will actually be a recommendation for some version of a “VCAP 2.0”. Given its early success, its impact on the industry thus far, and the negative impact on the industry if the program does not continue, we believe it is necessary and timing is critical.
As a result, we have – and will continue to have – discussions with the new Liberal Government on this subject.
As to the Government’s opinion on the renewal, that is still up in the air. It is safe to say they recognize the importance, and as I mentioned above, it is all part of their overall rethink of what we’re calling their “Innovation and Growth Agenda”. So, in short, stay tuned – we’re on it.