In a recent opinion piece, Diane Francis of the National Post, quotes an un-named “Canadian friend, successful in Silicon Valley” as saying “Canadian governments spend a lot of money on fake startup stuff”.
In her piece titled “Grants to ‘fake startups’ won’t build Silicon Valley North”. They will only spawn Bombardier-like boondoggles”, Ms. Francis asserts: “Canadian governments spend a lot of money on fake startup stuff – basically every agency, province and city now has government funded accelerators or incubators doing fake stuff.”
In a strongly worded response, PEI BioAlliance Executive Director Rory Francis (no relation!) takes issue with Ms. Francis: “While I agree with the title of Ms. Francis’ recent column, the content that follows risks undermining valid private and public sector efforts at increasing the commercialization success of technology companies in Canada.”
“The irony,” Rory writes, “is that [Diane] attacks an underfunded federal organization (NRC-IRAP), well-respected by large and small business, and active in the full range of technology sectors in Canada. IRAP grants to carefully-screened recipients are critical to those companies establishing proof of concept for new technologies and moving closer to the holy grail of private sector investment.”
He claims that it is a fallacy, as she writes, that “Americans have created an innovation economy without handing out cash.”