Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) hopes the five consortia of business, academic and non-profits will create 150 new firms and involve 100 larger “anchor” companies by March 31, 2023. The indicators were disclosed in the department’s 2021–2022 plan, released Tuesday. (The Logic)
Talking point: The targets are overdue—ISED originally promised to release them in April 2019, and was aiming to hit them a year earlier than it’s now intending. The department and its expert review panel spent 2017–2018, the supercluster program’s first official year, evaluating applications, and so pushed back the timeline to ensure the winners had a full five years, said spokesperson Erika Zeroual. Statistics Canada will measure the number of new firms in the organizations local regions—the five are spread across the country—and industries, while ISED will use member lists to count anchor firms. Delays in finalizing the contracts between the department and the five new organizations also pushed back the flow of funding—the supercluster program spent just $5.6 million of its $244-million allocation in the 2018–2019 fiscal year, and the first of their projects were only announced in March 2019. With the negotiations and administrative setup work out of the way, ISED is looking further afield this year. The department plans to coordinate with other departments and agencies to support projects—as it does for individual companies through the Accelerated Growth Service—and put together an “international strategy to … extend the reach of superclusters beyond Canada.” It’s already signed an agreement to connect the program to a similar EU initiative.
This item has been updated with comment from ISED.