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Showing posts with label innovation growth Red wilson Berry McKenna Globe and Mail competitive. Show all posts
Showing posts with label innovation growth Red wilson Berry McKenna Globe and Mail competitive. Show all posts

January 19, 2012

Barry McKenna on how Canada can be competitive

How to get the Canadian economy to grow is on everyone's priority list. There were 65 recommendations made by Red Wilson's panel set up to make recommendations.
My time in private equity has shown me that "Growth and innovation" is an attitude.
Canadian business owners have managed to tuck in behind the American economy and grab a good enough market share, but not build its own global winning companies.
Here is an excellent article by Barry McKenna in the Globe and Mail discussing the problem on business innovation further:

Putting Canada on a more competitive footing will likely mean diversifying trade links beyond the U.S., converting corporate profits into world-beating innovation and pursuing big infrastructure projects. It also means welcoming more foreign investment from places such as China and the Middle East and deregulating a host of stodgy pre-Internet industries, such as telecommunications, cable and transportation.Such a campaign has a long way to go – as is highlighted by the comments of foreign investors like Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian telecommunications tycoon. It was his money, controversially, that helped fund the startup of Wind Mobile in this country. In an interview with The Globe and Mail this week, he blamed Ottawa’s telecommunications policy for making it harder for new wireless companies to establish themselves. “Anybody who asks me, I tell him look, we are the stupid investors that poured a billion dollars into Canada here and created 1,000 new jobs, please don’t do this mistake. Don’t come here,” Mr. Sawiris said. He also drew a direct link between the long-standing federal policy of limiting foreign investment and the lack of global presence of Canada’s major telcos.
“If they were that good, why are they just in Canada here? Why don’t we have Rogers in the U.K. or Germany? Why is Vodafone everywhere? Why is France Télécom everywhere? And this national champion Rogers is only in Canada? Because only in Canada it gets pampered and it can kill its competitors.”
A push for reform
In 2008, an expert panel set up by the Harper government to examine Canada’s competitiveness recommended a major shift in Ottawa’s approach to telecom, in favour of opening it up to far more foreign investment. Three and half years later, the chairman of that panel, Red Wilson, looks back on his effort with a mixture of pride and regret. Pride because his panel’s findings are just as relevant today as they were then. But it’s tinged with disappointment because most of the 65 recommendations, including the one on foreign ownership of telecom companies, remain on the shelf even as the country’s innovation and productivity performance sputters.