In the fall, the federal government announced a shortlist of nine “superclusters” that could qualify for a portion of $950 federal fund the government hopes will boost the economy and job economy.
I’ve been wondering lately whether this initiative will actually give the right kind of boost to hardware development in Canada.
While hardware superclusters have been successful in other places like Silicon Valley and Shenzhen, they have two things going for them that Canada hardware sector doesn’t. First, they have massive populations to form the superclusters themselves. Second, they have massive populations to buy the products coming from the superclusters.
For Canada to be successful developing a hardware supercluster, it must be located where there is enough “super-talent” living close by. Expecting folks from the suburbs to endure long commutes to cities is not a long term recipe for success. As for the products and know-how that are produced from these superclusters, we’ll need to be exporting to much larger markets for them to be viable.
Naturally, there are plenty of opinions as to how this initiative will play out. If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a few links to blog posts, resources and articles :
Blog Post From RDP & Associates: Brian Cookson is President and Managing Director of RDP Associates – a Canadian firm specializing in innovation funding. In this blog post, Brian shares his POV on the benefits of superclusters as well some guiding principles on how they should be created.
Government Of Canada Superclusters Program Guide: This contains the program definition, objectives, requirements, assessment criteria for applicants and information on how the program will be administered.
Globe & Mail Opinion Piece: Jeffrey Crelinsten is the president of The Impact Group and Senior Research Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs. He questions the viability of the supercluster if the funding ends up being hijacked by the research community.