Stock exchange operator TMX Group Ltd. is attempting to help Canadian startups blossom into world beaters by backing a blue-chip study on the innovation economy that draws on talent from the country's deepest capital pools.
The TMX announced a 12-person "Advancing Innovation Roundtable" on Tuesday that draws on executives from pension plans, banks and venture-capital funds.
The group is charged with coming up with a road map for small technology-focused companies looking to expand, with the report expected by early 2017, ahead of next year's federal and provincial government budgets.
"We want to open the eyes of the investment sector to the potential of Canada's innovation sector," said Salil Munjal, chairman of the roundtable and general partner in venture capital firm Yaletown Partners Inc. of Vancouver.
"The key to creating jobs and long-term economic growth is scaling up our startup businesses."
Mr. Munjal pointed out that Canadians rank among global leaders when it comes to starting companies, with more startups as a percentage of the overall economy than seen in the United States, but the country struggles to turn small private businesses into mature public companies.
Lou Eccleston, chief executive officer of TMX Group, said the roundtable's goals include both fostering domestic businesses and luring foreign companies to Canada to raise capital.
"Canada has developed a robust global market for resource companies, and we can do the same in the innovation sector," he said.
The roundtable is expected to meet with outside experts on innovation at sessions in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. There is a smaller group of investment bankers focusing on recommendations to improve financing for startups.
Along with Mr. Munjal and Mr. Eccleston, members of the roundtable are:
- Geoff Beattie, CEO of Generation Capital and a director at General Electric, Royal Bank of Canada and Maple Leaf Foods;
- Helen Beck, senior vice-president of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec;
- Michael Denham, CEO, Business Development Bank of Canada;
- Paul Desmarais III, vice-president, Power Financial and Power Corp.;
- Stephen Forbes, executive vice-president, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce;
- Hugh O’Reilly, CEO, OPTrust, which manages OPSEU pension plans;
- Gerry Pond, chairman, Mariner Partners Inc.;
- Lisa Porlier, deputy country manager, Russell Reynolds Associates;
- Kevin Uebelein, CEO, AIMco;
- Tamara Vrooman, CEO, Vancity Credit Union.