What would a startup centric Ontario budget look like?
Well, if I’m asked what a dream startup centric budget would look like then quite simply very interesting and forward-thinking. What does that mean – to be frank those are some pretty broad statements.
Let’s break it down into smaller sections by which we can evaluate what a dream budget would look like. Does it: create new funds for startups; add additional funds to current programs for startups; create new programs and incentives for startup investing in Ontario; create favourable conditions for Ontario-based startups to thrive.
The Ontario government, as well as many other government for that matter, are starting to take a hard look at what the startup community and sector can do, and what exactly it is. Since the term ‘startup’ is so broad, governments are somewhat hesitant to help companies that were once startups leading the pack, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Grocery Gateway, etc. to now being multinational corporations. Simply put governments want to ensure they are helping the little guy, and not some monolith.
The startup community has responded in spades. With more companies calling Ontario home than ever before, Ontario is poised to become a startup hotspot for other jurisdictions to emulate. That is of course, if there is proper investment in the sector in the first place.
“Creating new funds and programs is easier said than done…”
While it might seem like a great idea to just create more programs wherein companies can apply for government funding (grants), the practicality of it is not as easy or cost effective. The government on the other hand can look at enhancing current programs. Not just by putting money in an inaccessible fund that only three people know about, so you can wave your banner that you invested in the sector – rather, funds need to be directed by the sector itself. After all, I have never seen a program that government has administered more effectively than the private sector. At least in this respect, the startup community knows where the funds should and need to be directed.
“Create incentives for startups and
Government has a lot of shortcomings. This should not be a surprise to anyone reading this, simply put, governments are not the best at providing services to their constituents. They are amazing however, at promising these services and finding excuses why they could not be rolled out. A truly innovative and forward thinking government would see an opportunity to partner with startups to provide services to their constituents. This would not only help provide the services, but in turn the government would be helping the startup by promoting the company and allowing it to roll out its products.
These are not revolutionary ideas. In fact, these same ideas have been explored by every political party in Canada in every province. However, in every case, these innovative ideas were shelved for political expediency. A government’s role is to serve the people. A startups role is to create a business that provides a good or service to society. Both roles should be symbiotic, but far too often politics gets in the way of progress.
I hope this coming Thursday the Ontario government demonstrates their willingness to put partisanship aside, and look towards Ontario’s future. A future that places a strong emphasis on fostering the startup community.
Ari S. Laskin, Principal
Global Strategic Consulting, Inc.