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Council of Canadian Innovators

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    “In today’s globalized economy, Canadian firms looking to scale-up globally face steep competition from abroad for the talent, capital, and customers they need to grow and reach new markets.”
    Benjamin Bergen, Executive Director of the Council of Canadian Innovators

Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), a business council of 70 tech CEOs, was formed to help Canadian-based Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies scale up globally by advocating for greater access to talent, capital, and customers for domestic innovation firms.

The sociopolitical capital of its members are able to voice their collective concerns to the Canadian government through CCI’s platform, which according to Bergen has been “receptive to hearing consultation from all groups.”

CCI’s Chair, Jim Balsillie, the former co-CEO of Research in Motion (RIM, “BlackBerry”), welcomed the Canadian government’s newfound willingness to work with domestic CEOs.

Said Balsillie, “We are witnessing a major change in policy approaches at both federal and provincial levels and a creation of a new landscape that will allow Canada to remain prosperous for the next 150 years.”

CCI is currently focused on new programs like the Innovation Superclusters Initiative, with CAD $950 million in funding up for grabs for projects driven by high-growth firms, and reforms to government procurement models so domestic innovators have a chance to work with government. “These are a few ways the Government of Canada is helping to address the gaps that have hurt our innovation economy in the past,” added Bergen.

CCI’s leadership is well-positioned to draw attention for funding for CCI’s members. Beyond founding BlackBerry, Balsillie is also the founder of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Canadian International Council (CIC), Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA), the Arctic Research Foundation (ARF), and co-founder of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET). Vice-chair, John Ruffolo, also serves as the CEO of OMERS Ventures, arguably Canada’s foremost pension fund, in addition to sitting on the board of Hootsuite and D2L, two rising stars of Canada.

Building the Team Just Got Easier

One of the most tangible advancements CCI has made recently is establishing easier talent-procurement procedures for ICT companies looking to bring in highly skilled talent to Canada.

“Before, it took ten to twelve months to bring in a highly skilled worker to Canada, and in the tech industry that’s an eternity,” Bergen explained. However, after CEOs called on the government to introduce an expedited process for high-growth companies, the Government of Canada announced a new two-week turnaround for work VISA processing, called the Global Skills Strategy.

Find out more. Get in touch with Benjamin Bergen to discuss the criteria and benefits of membership.