Published: May 2nd, 2019
By: Richard Waterhouse, VP, Business Development & Marketing
The barriers to growing a successful startup or scale-up are countless and approach from all angles. Whether it’s technology development, securing the first customers, or raising funds, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) fight tooth and nail to overcome the multitude of barriers to steadily grow their company. In order to help these companies reach their potential, it’s important that the necessary programs, policies, and support are available and are as strong as the passion of their founders.
A few facts about SMEs:
- Small businesses (companies with 1-99 employees) comprise the bulk of the Canadian economy making up 99.1% of Canadian technology businesses. (Source: ICTC)
- Approximately 90% of people employed in the private sector in Canada in 2017 were employed by a small or medium-sized enterprise. (Source: Statistics Canada)
- In 2017, more than 48,000 Canadian companies exported goods and 97.4% of these were SMEs. (Source: Statistics Canada)
- Between 2010 and 2015 95,000 Canadian businesses were created and 85,000 disappeared. 89% of the businesses created employed 1-4 people. (Source: Statistics Canada)
Startups are plentiful across Canada and the contributions small businesses are making continue to have a positive influence on Canada’s GDP. That being said, a common problem that leaves a business stagnant is the ability to scale. Scaling refers to growing the organization’s operations in a cost-effective way, meaning that your increasing sales while maintaining or increasing productivity.
According to a report from KPMG, Canada traditionally does not produce very large global tech companies as founders typically take the path of an acquisition for an exit strategy after achieving around $8M USD in revenue. This signals that Canada has fostered a startup ecosystem as opposed to an environment that facilitates growth for scale-ups. Newly announced government programs for business advisory services combined with the technology development services that CENGN offers are an enabler of change to support scale-up companies.
In Canada, there are several innovation hubs and economic development offices designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to workshops and mentorships that help companies scale their operations. Just recently we saw a $52.4 million CAD investment from the Federal Government in a scale-up program to increase support from Communitech, Invest Ottawa, and MaRS for local tech companies. These organizations provide excellent services for SMEs to tap into the business knowledge they need. In addition to business support, Canadian SMEs require technology commercialization support; CENGN is doing its part to address this need.
CENGN has completed 61 projects since its inception in 2014 to help SMEs overcome commercialization barriers whether they are starting up or scaling up. We have seen tremendous use of our infrastructure and technical services for companies looking to scale their operations and need to test or improve the scalability of their technology. Whether it’s to demonstrate the performance of their solution to a new client or prior to ramping up business development efforts, Canadian tech businesses looking to reach the next stage have leveraged a CENGN project for commercial growth.
Below are some of the typical scenarios of how companies leverage a CENGN project:
- Determine product specifications
- Integration with a new product in a commercial-grade environment
- Use results to estimate costs of commercial deployment at different requirement levels
- Measure limitations of product
Each CENGN project starts with the SME and our business development team collaborating on a goal-oriented and detailed project charter, laying out the definition for a measurable and successful project outcome. From there, the SME is provided secure and dedicated access to what is a project slice on our infrastructure. This project slice is highly-customized to meet the resource requirements for testing which can include bare metal servers, cloud tenancy, access to IoT networks, member and partner equipment, and open source technologies. Throughout the project, our marketing team writes articles on your company to promote your company and solution to our ecosystem, as well as highlight the developments made during your CENGN project.
Are you a Canadian technology company with less than 500 employees? Talk to us about how you can benefit from a CENGN project!