2022 will be a great year for entrepreneurs in Alberta – Blog #21

24, January 2022

In this blog we’ll take a look at the prospects for entrepreneurship in Alberta in 2022.

First of all, though, we’ll revisit why startups are important in the economy. Startups can be seen as experiments which introduce new ideas, new technologies and business models to the marketplace. The market then decides which of these succeed and which fail as new entrants compete with existing firms. History shows that most radical ideas come from new players rather than existing companies. For example, it is no surprise that a new entrant (Tesla) led the move for electric cars, rather than incumbents such as Ford or Toyota. Having a consistent supply of new ideas is essential for a dynamic growing economy and startups are a major source of these and the driving force for creative destruction.

So, what can we expect in 2022?

First of all, we can expect a lot of startups. Measuring the number of startups is a tricky business. When does a startup start? Is it when the business is registered? Is it when it hires its first employee? Should we count the number of people involved? What about non-registered businesses? However, by all of these metrics 2022 looks very good for Alberta, building off a strong 2021. Alberta showed 3,930 new business registrations in November (latest available), up 7.7% from 2020. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) showed that 20.1% of the adult population was involved in some form of entrepreneurial activity in 2021, the highest level in rich countries, up 29% from 2020. The US showed similar large increases, with startups increasing by 23% during the first 9 months of the year. We don’t really know why the activity has been so strong. One reason is probably finding new opportunities. The GEM survey showed that 67.1% of Canadian entrepreneurs saw new opportunities as a result of the pandemic, the highest rate among high income countries and a big increase from the previous year. Another might necessity, as so many people lost their jobs in 2021.

Who will the new entrepreneurs be? Based on previous years, the largest age group will be 25-34. They will be highly educated – about 20% will have a degree, and almost a quarter will have graduate experience.  About 45% of them will be women. One thing to look out for:  will there be older entrepreneurs?  Anecdotally many baby boomers have retired early due to COVID and it will be interesting to see if they decide to start something.

What will their new businesses be? Again, based on previous years, they will be in business services (30-35%), consumer services (30-35%), manufacturing (around 25%) and extractive services (around 10%).  The tech sector will be very strong. Edmonton was recently named the fastest-growing tech sector in North America. Innovate Edmonton reports that there are more than 930 start ups and scale ups in Edmonton. Calgary is home to roughly 700 tech companies, according to Platform Calgary, and has plans to reach 3,000 by 2031. There have been four unicorns in Calgary in recent years– startups with a market value of $1 billion. These are Benevity, Parvus Therapeutics, Shareworks and Enverus Intelligence Research.

Will they export? According to GEM, 2021 saw a big rise in startups that generated 25% or more of their income from exports.

What motivates entrepreneurs?  There have consistently been three main motivations for entrepreneurs in Canada: a desire to change the world, a desire to build great wealth, and the need to earn a living. A lesser motivation is the desire to continue a family tradition.

What challenges will they face? Finding financing is always the biggest concern of startups, but in 2022 it is likely that finding qualified staff will also be a major challenge. According to the Alberta government, by December full time and part time employment was back to pre-pandemic levels.  The job vacancy rate was 4.7%, which equates to about unfilled 100,000 jobs in Alberta. It is also likely that supply chain disruptions will also affect many entrepreneurs in 2022.

What can history tell us?  During the Spanish flu in 1918/1919 startups boomed from 1919 in the middle of the pandemic onwards. This was very likely for similar reasons we see in the COVID-19 pandemic – entrepreneurs seeing new opportunities.

All of this will be underpinned by robust economic growth.  The Conference Board projects Alberta’s GDP will grow by 6.1% in 2022.

So, all the signs are pointing towards an awesome year for entrepreneurs in Alberta in 2022.

 

Peter Josty

This blog first appeared on www.thecis.ca


The impact of COVID on entrepreneurship in Canada – Blog #20

17, January, 2022

There are two possible ways COVD-19 could affect entrepreneurship in Canada:

  • It could reduce it, because potential entrepreneurs weigh up the risks of a
    prolonged COVID pandemic and the potential effect on their businesses and
    decide to hold off starting a new business;
  • It could increase it, as entrepreneurs see opportunities to benefit from
    opportunities created by the pandemic, and feel confident they have the skills to
    be successful.

Both of these have happened in Canada in the last two years. In 2020 the startup
activity (as measured by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)) decreased by
about 14% compared with 2019. And in 2021, startup activity increased by 29%
compared with 2020, and surpassed the 2019 level by 10% to a record level.

This is illustrated in the graph below, where the TEA (Total early stage
entrepreneurship) measures the percentage of the adult population actively planning to
start a new business or within 42 months of startup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why the difference between 2020 and 2021?
According to GEM there were three factors underlying these differences.

  1. Perceived opportunities. Entrepreneurs are constantly looking for new
    opportunities, and their perception of the opportunities available to them is a big driver
    of entrepreneurial activity. In 2020 the number of people seeing opportunities declined
    from 67.1% in 2019 to 49.1% in 2020, a decline of 27%. This is shown in the graph. In
    2021 that number increased by an astonishing 44%, to 70.5%, well above the 2019
    number, and significantly above the USA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Fear of failure. Fear of failure is when a potential entrepreneur is deterred from
starting a business because of their assessment of risks and likelihood of failure. In
2020 the fear of failure increased from 49.7% in 2019 to 57.5% in 2020, an increase of
16%. From 2020 to 2021 it decreased to 53.8% – still more than 2019, but a significant
decrease from 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Skills and knowledge.  Entrepreneur’s self-confidence is measured by their perception of whether they
have the skills and knowledge to start a new business. In 2020 this decreased a
little from 2019, down from 56.5 to 55.6. In 2021 it jumped back up to 58.9,
higher than the 2019 number.

Summary. So in 2020 it appears that potential entrepreneurs, faced with the
surprise and uncertainty of COVID-19, decided to hold off starting a new
business, rationalizing this as they saw fewer opportunities, felt less capable, and
had a higher fear of failure. As the pandemic progressed, these attitudes
gradually changed and more opportunities appeared, confidence returned and
fear of failure subsided, leading to a burst of new entrepreneurial activity. We
don’t know in detail what new opportunities they saw, but it is a safe bet that
many were related to COVID – for example, new delivery services, technologies
to enable remote working and online learning.

 


The role of Medium – sized Enterprises in the Alberta Industrial Ecosystem

The next THECIS  breakfast in Calgary will be on Wednesday April 24th 2019.  The speaker is Richard Hawkins from the University of Calgary.

The role of Medium –sized Enterprises in the Alberta Industrial Ecosystem.

There is a huge focus in Alberta on SMEs – Small and Medium sized enterprises. However, the vast majority of these are “small” – with fewer than 100 employees and these get almost all the attention. The Medium-Size companies – with 100-499 employees tend to get neglected. This meeting draws on a recent research by THECIS to profile the Medium sized companies in Alberta, and shows that MSEs are a  distinctive and valuable part of the Alberta economy quite different from small and large companies.

The full report can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/y2lfvnto

A hot breakfast will be served at 7:15 am

Time & Location

Time:  7:00 – 9:00 am

Date: Wednesday April 24th 2019.
Place:  Innovate Calgary, 3553 31 Street NW, Calgary

Cost – Payment at the door
Adults $36.00
Students: $21.00
THECIS GST number is 88075 0914 RT0001. It is THECIS policy that no-shows will be billed.

Registration

By Phone: 403-968-3722 or 1-877-877-1055 [toll free anywhere in Alberta]

By Email: Martha@thecis.ca

Register on line, with payment at the door:

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Entrepreneurship in Alberta – Definite signs of the poor economic situation in Alberta. – Blog #19

21, January 2019 – Blog #19

 Entrepreneurship in Alberta – Definite signs of the poor economic situation in Alberta

Alberta again has the highest rate of entrepreneurship in Canada, confirming what we have seen for the last five years. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report on Entrepreneurship in Alberta shows that 19.6% of Albertans aged 18-64 are involved in starting a business. This is higher than the rate for Canada as a whole (18.8%) and higher than all other innovation driven economies including the US, Australia and Israel.  Although Alberta has a slightly higher rate of established businesses than Canada as a whole (7.5% vs 6.2%) it is lower than the US or Australia.

Alberta also has a lower rate of intrapreneurship than the Canadian average, 5.7% compared with 6.6%, similar to last years findings. This factor can be linked to a firm’s innovation and productivity strategies.

Who are these entrepreneurs? They are highly educated, with most having a university or college education, many with graduate degrees. The rate of entrepreneurship rises steadily with the amount of education, peaking in those with some post graduate experience. Their ages vary, with entrepreneurship rates peaking in the 25-34 and 55-64 age group.  The entrepreneurship rate in the 55-64 age group is two and a half times the Canadian average, and supports a narrative of older workers losing their jobs in the weak economy.
For Established Businesses, the rate increases steadily with age, as expected, but Alberta has a surprisingly high rate in the 18-24 age group.
The rate of women’s entrepreneurship is almost 90% of the male rate, one of the highest ratios in the world. It is much higher than the Canadian average of 66%.

What do they do?  Alberta has a very different startup industry profile than Canada. GEM puts businesses into four categories – extractive (oil and gas, mining and agriculture); transformative (manufacturing), business services and consumer services. Alberta has two and a half as many extractive businesses, twice as many transformative business, roughly similar business services, and far fewer consumer oriented businesses than Canada as a whole.

Why do they do it?  Most entrepreneurs say they started their business to purse an opportunity, although 23% do so out of necessity, because they had no other economic opportunities. The necessity rate is 50% greater than the Canadian average, and this may reflect poor economic conditions in Alberta. It is worth noting that in 2014 (when the economy was much stronger), the necessity entrepreneurship rate in Alberta was only 8%.

Size and Growth. Startups in Alberta are much smaller than the Canadian average. One third of all Alberta startups have no employees, compared with 22% in Canada. And only 6.7% have 20+ employees, compared with 12.9% for Canada as a whole. However, almost a quarter of Alberta startups plan to have 20 employees in five years’ time.

How innovative are they?  40% of Alberta startups say they have no novelty in their products or services, the highest rate in Canada. This would indicate a low level of innovativeness. This is corroborated by the metric that over 60% of Alberta startups use older technology, also the highest rate in Canada.  However, 12% of Alberta startups say they have no competitors, the highest rate in Canada. So it looks as if there are a few very innovative startups among an overall pool of low innovations.

How supportive is the ecosystem?  GEM measures ecosystem performance by polling 36 experts in nine separate areas of expertise. By these measures, Alberta is similar to Canada as a whole, except performance is a little lower in most measures. Alberta is equal to or better than Canada in 4 of the 9 measures used in the report.

What constraints do they face? According to the Expert opinion, the main constraints facing Alberta entrepreneurs are:

  • Financial support;
  • Government Programs and policies;
  • Capacity for entrepreneurship.

GEM is the oldest and largest study of entrepreneurship in the world, covering 60+ countries every year.

The report contains the following recommendations:

  1. Continue to highlight opportunities for entrepreneurs in the province and develop tactics to mediate fears in future training initiatives.
  2. Consider ways to increase Employee Entrepreneurship?Intrapreneurship within Alberta.
  3. Aim to close the gender gap completely and investigate further why Alberta is more successful in this area than elsewhere across Canada.
  4. Provide support for burgeoning entrepreneurs with high growth expectations within the province in order to optimize their impact.
  5. Follow expert advice and look for improvements in Government Policies, Finance, and Education. 

The full report is available at GEM Alberta 2017 Report.

Peter Josty

p.josty@thecis.ca
403-249-0191
www.thecis.ca

 


Women’s Entrepreneurship in Alberta World-beaters – Blog #18

8, January 2019 – Blog #18

Women’s Entrepreneurship in Alberta – World-beaters

Alberta has the highest rate of women’s entrepreneurship in Canada. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Alberta shows that 15.5% of Alberta women aged 18-64 are involved in starting a business. This is higher than the rate for Canada as a whole (13.3%) and higher than all other innovation driven economies including the US, Australia and the UK.

Who are these entrepreneurs? They are highly educated, with most having a university or college education, many with graduate degrees. Their ages vary, with entrepreneurship rates peaking in the 18-34 and 55+ age categories.

What do they do?  Most (almost 70%) of their businesses are service based, evenly split between business services and consumer services. The next largest category (at 19%) is “extractive” businesses, such as mining, oil, and gas and agriculture, and the balance is manufacturing. This profile is quite different from that of Canada as a whole, where consumer services is by far the largest sector (at 41%) and extractive businesses are half the Alberta rate.  The top six sectors are government/education/health; agriculture; professional services; manufacturing; retail; and finance/insurance/real estate.

Why do they do it?  Most women entrepreneurs state that their business is to purse an opportunity, although 25% do so out of necessity. The necessity rate is almost twice the Canadian average. The report also provides detailed information on motivation. The main reasons women start a business are independence, a positive work environment, a flexible schedule, and the ability to work from home.

What impact do they have?  Most women led businesses are smaller than businesses led by men. Over one quarter of women entrepreneurs operate as solo entrepreneurs with no employees. 7% of women led businesses have created more than 20 jobs. This compares with 10% of businesses led by men. In terms of future job growth, 17% of women led enterprises expect to create 20 or more jobs in the next five years.

How innovative are they?  About 30% of women led businesses in Alberta claim to have a new product, process or new market, compared with 33% of businesses led by men. Both of these numbers are lower than the Canadian average.

Do they export?  26% of women led businesses in Alberta export, compared with about 30% for businesses led by men. Both of these numbers are lower than the Canadian average. Canada as a whole ranks highly by this measure, being #3 globally for exporting.

How satisfied are the entrepreneurs? Most women entrepreneurs in Alberta say they are satisfied with their work. The highest ratings for satisfaction are related to having decision making autonomy over how work is accomplished, and doing work that is personally meaningful. The lowest ratings for satisfaction relate the level of work stress, the growth trajectory of the business, levels of income and work related stress.

What challenges do they face? Women entrepreneurs face a number of challenges in Alberta, despite their overall very positive situation.  Many women entrepreneurs report dissatisfaction with the annual growth rate of their businesses, and the degree of innovativeness.  Although there are a number of programs aimed at growth oriented women entrepreneurs in Alberta, it would appear that more needs to be done.  A quarter or women entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs because they have to be, not because they want to be (i.e. necessity based entrepreneurs).  This suggests that other factors are involved, such as a weak labour market, difficulty accessing training, or problems finding flexible job opportunities. Women entrepreneurs are underrepresented in lucrative, innovation sectors such as knowledge intensive business services and scientific and technological sectors.

As report author Karen Hughes notes, in recent years Canada has become increasingly recognized as a leader in women’s entrepreneurship.  This report provides plenty of evidence to support that conclusion.

The full report is available at  THECIS GEM 2018

 

Peter Josty

p.josty@thecis.ca
403-249-0191
www.thecis.ca

 


Youth Entrepreneurship in Canada Blog #17

19, November 2018 – Blog #17

Youth Entrepreneurship in Canada.

Highly educated entrepreneurs see it as a good career choice.

The recently released Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report on Youth Entrepreneurship shows that youth entrepreneurship is alive and well in Canada. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is the largest study of entrepreneurship in the world.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Canadian Youth see entrepreneurship as good career choice and associate it with high status. Over 60% of Canadian youth saw entrepreneurship as a good career choice, and having high status, and three quarters saw it as having high status. Most also saw it portrayed positively in the media.
  • They feel confident that they have the skills and experience needed to start a business. More than half felt they had the skills and experience need to start  a business, although around 40% expressed a fear of failure. However this is about 10% less than expressed by the 18-64 age group. However, we found in other GEM reports than the experts are quite skeptical of these views.
  • They want greater independence. There has been a pronounced shift in the last 4 years to increase the fraction of youth entrepreneurs who seek greater independence, rather than to increase income. More than twice as many of the youth entrepreneurs we interviewed valued independence more than increased income.
  • They are highly educated. Over 60% of youth entrepreneurs have a post-secondary degree, while among the youngest youth entrepreneurs (ages 18-24) 16% have post graduate experience. This compares with 54% of the 18-64 age group in Canada who have a post-secondary qualification.
  • Consumer services form the largest share of youth entrepreneur’s ventures. It is typical of most reports on entrepreneurship that consumer services are the largest single business category. There are low barriers to entry and frequently a relatively low need for capital to get started. 45% of youth entrepreneurs’ ventures are for consumer services, 32% for business services and 20% for manufacturing.
  • Personal savings is the primary source of funding. 58% of youth entrepreneurs funded their ventures with personal savings, 19% by bank loans and 9% from family. The median value of the investment to start their business was $268,214.
  • There is a gender gap, as female youth exhibit less confidence and a higher fear of failure than their male counterparts.
  • The overall entrepreneurship rate for youth is slightly lower than the Canadian population. In 2016 14.1 % of youth were involved in entrepreneurial activity, compared with 16.7% of the total 18-64 population. This is perhaps not surprising as generally people need to accumulate money and experience before starting a business.
  • An increasing number of Youth are running established businesses. In GEM, an established business is one that has been around for 3.5 years. The number of these headed by Youth has risen quite rapidly in the last four years.
  • Ontario and Alberta are hubs of youth entrepreneurship. The rate of youth entrepreneurship varies quite a bit across Canada. Highest rates are found in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, while lower rates are found in Newfoundland, New Brunswick and PEI.

The full report is available at www.gemcanada.org – look under 2017 (when the data was collected).

Peter Josty

p.josty@thecis.ca
403-249-0191
www.thecis.ca

 


Measuring Entrepreneurship- Lies, damn lies and statistics. Blog #16

7, June 2018 – Blog #16

Measuring Entrepreneurship – Lies, damn lies and statistics.

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is reputed to have said that there were “three kinds of lies – lies, damn lies and statistics” as a sort of tongue in cheek way of advising caution when interpreting numbers.  A case in point is entrepreneurship statistics.

Entrepreneurship is falling
There have been a series of reports in Canada (and around the industrialized world) deploring the decline of entrepreneurship. A recent one from the Fraser Institute compares the rate of entrepreneurship in a number of countries in the periods 2001-2007 and 2008-2014.  For Canada the decline was 8.5%, for the US 18.6%, for Britain 7.5% and or Australia 20.3%. A long article in Forbes Magazine has the title ”Why US Entrepreneurship is dying.” It quotes reports from the National Bureau of Economic Research showing that start up activity has been slowing down in the US for three decades. A recent article in Aspire Canada has the title “ Is Canadian Entrepreneurship Vanishing?”

Various explanations for this decline have been put forward. The Forbes article places the blame on large student loans, making potential entrepreneurs more risk averse.  A recent article in the Globe and Mail believes that demographics is to blame – the aging of the population and decline of the number of potential entrepreneurs in the prime age group of late 20’s to early 40’s. Another explanation is the lack of equity funding compared with the US.

Entrepreneurship is rising

On the other hand, data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor – the world’s largest study of entrepreneurship, tells a different story. In Canada, for example, the rate of entrepreneurship (measured as the TEA Index of total early stage entrepreneurship activity) has increased from an average of 8.6 (for 2002-2006) to 15.1 (for 2013-2017), almost doubling. In the US the numbers have gone from 11.2 (average of 2002-2006) to 12.9 (average of 2013-2017).  That’s not such a big increase as Canada, but it’s definitely not a decline. Australia shows a similar increase  from 11.9 (average for 2003-2006)  to 13.2 (average for 2014-2017).

What’s going on?
The first thing to note is that the two groups are looking at different sources for their data.  The “falling” group looks at company registrations, where a new company has been formed.  The “rising”  group look at actual activities, what percentages of the adult population are actually involved in entrepreneurial activity, whether the activity is part of a registered company or not.

But what could be behind this?  A very likely explanation is the gig economy. A report by Randstat Canada (the largest staffing company in Canada) says that 30% of the Canadian workforce is already in “non-traditional” jobs, including part time work, temporary work, contract work, and freelance work, self-employed or unpaid work. This number has increased significantly in recent years, and is expected to rise to 45% by 2020 according to Intuit Canada. A report from Ryerson University found that over 50% of all new Canadian jobs involve “non-standard” work arrangements. Very similar numbers are predicted for the US.

One of the problems with dealing with this issue is the lack of an accepted terminology. Many almost similar terms are used, including gig economy, sharing economy, digital platform economy, and others. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has resorted by defining non-traditional work arrangements by what it is NOT – “It is not full time, dependable employment with a  contract of indefinite duration.”

There is a theoretical underpinning to this change. Ronald Coase won the Nobel Prize in economics by explaining that firms exist to minimize transaction costs.  It was cheaper for General Motors (for example) to assemble all the materials to make a car than to contract with others to do the same thing. That was then. Now the computer revolution has made it much easier and cheaper for firms to do work by contracting with freelancers, and outsourcing significant parts of their activities.  Also, it is easier for people to find work using apps such as Uber, Airbnb, Handy and TaskRabbit that trying to find full time employment. And perhaps they value the flexibility as well.

Conclusion
It looks very likely that we will see further increase in entrepreneurial activity in Canada. It remains to be seen how much of this is done through registered companies and how much of it is done on a freelance or sole proprietorship basis.

 


Dr. C Langford

Dr. Cooper Langford Blog #15

25, April 2018 – Blog #15

Dr. Cooper Langford

Most of you know that Dr. Cooper Langford passed away on March 11th, 2018.  His Celebration of Life will be at the Best Western Village Park Inn, 1806 Crowchild Trail, Calgary, T2M 3Y7, on April 30th from 2:00-5:00.

We dedicate this blog to him, a review of his huge contribution to THECIS over the years by looking at some of the projects he contributed to.

Cooper was co-founder of THECIS in 2001, and was a Board member and active Fellow right up to the end.  He made many contributions to THECIS. This is just a brief summary of some of his project involvement.

 

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)  2013- February 2018

Since 2013 Cooper authored numerous GEM reports, including the Canada 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 reports. At the time of his passing he was working on the GEM Canada 2017 report. He also wrote the GEM Alberta reports for 2013-2016.  His work on these reports set the standard for the other GEM reports that were written in Canada since 2013. Cooper also attended the GEM Annual meeting in Monterey, Mexico in 2014.

InnoWest 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010

InnoWest is the western Canadian Innovation Conference. THECIS has organised this event since 2004, and it has become an annual event, with steadily increasing attendance from across western Canada and beyond. Cooper was a mainstay at organizing these events.

Science to Society Workshop 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010

This event is organised to provide business information to 50- 70 graduate students in science, engineering ICT, health and agriculture. It takes place at a weekend on October in Banff.  Support has come from iCORE, Alberta Ingenuity, AHFMR, the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute, NSERC Prairies and the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Cooper attended all the workshops and led many of the sessions.

Ingenuity 601 [Graduate Innovation Course], 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010

This project, carried out for Alberta Ingenuity, was to develop and deliver a learning experience to graduate students in Alberta to acquaint them with the basics of business concepts and give them experience working on a business related project in a multidisciplinary environment.  Cooper led many of these sessions.

Health Research Translation Project, 2009
This course is modelled on Ingenuity 601 but targeted at graduate students in medical, health and biosciences and related fields such as medicine, nursing, rehabilitation, life sciences and biomedical engineering. Cooper designed and delivered the courses, and Anne Tyrie facilitated the sessions.

Second Banff Innovation Summit, 2008.

The theme of the second Banff Innovation Summit was “The resource industries as engines of economic diversification”. The Summit took place in September, with about 30 senior individuals from industry, government and university from the four western provinces. The Summit was supported by Western Economic Diversification, the Alberta government, iCORE and NSERC Prairies. Cooper actively participated in the planning and execution of this Summit.

Pathways Project, 2008

Industry Canada asked us to review the various pathways that knowledge travels from university to business in Canada, and provide examples of each type of pathway identified. Cooper led the project team and wrote the final report.

International Comparison Review, 2008.

This project developed an analysis of the policies being pursued in different countries to encourage industry-university collaboration; assessed the various strengths and weaknesses of various national approached; provided a critical assessment of the organizational structures of universities that underpin university-industry collaboration; and identified best practices and principles. This was for Industry Canada. The project team consisted of Cooper and Richard Hawkins.

ICT Sector Performance in Alberta, 2007/8

This project, supported by Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, is a follow on from the Alberta Innovation Scorecard project. It aims to answer two questions: How is the ICT sector performing in Alberta?  How is the government doing supporting the sector? Cooper organized the workshop, along with Jeremy Hall.

Foresight Scoping Workshop, 2007

This was a foresight exercise to identify applications that may emerge from the convergence of nano-technology, biotechnology and ICT. It is initiated by the Office of the National Science Advisor and supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat and CMC Microsystems. Cooper was a mainstay of the project team, along with Richard Hawkins, Peter Josty, Ted Heidrick, and Jeremy Hall.

University Business Collaboration, 2007

This project is a critical review of the literature on how university researchers collaborate with industrial firms, and how those relationships can result in commercial products. Supported by Industry Canada.  Cooper wrote this report.

First Banff Innovation Summit 2006

The goal of turning Western Canada into a dynamic, diversified and internationally competitive knowledge-based economy must be supported with policies and strategies that take account of both leading-edge ideas and local knowledge about how to assess and improve innovation performance.

The Banff Innovation Summit brought together 30-40 carefully selected industry, policy and academic stakeholders in economic diversification and innovation will interact with an elite international group of experts who are producing leading-edge ideas and knowledge concerning innovation policy and strategy. A speaker from the OECD in Paris provides the keynote address. The Summit was funded by a number of organizations, including the Governments of Canada, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC, and the University of Calgary. Cooper actively participated in the planning and execution of this Summit.

University Research Park Vision and Conceptual Masterplan, 2005.

THECIS worked with a consortium of firms of architects to develop a Vision and Conceptual master plan for the rejuvenation of the University Research Park. This was done for Calgary Technologies, the University of Calgary and Alberta Infrastructure. Cooper was a mainstay of this project.

Health Innovation 2005, 2006, 2007

This project was funded by a private Calgary based Foundation. It was a year long study of the health industry in Alberta, to identify the main characteristics of the industry and celebrate its successes. The results of this work were disseminated across Alberta by a series of workshops in major centres organised by THECIS.  Cooper was Principal Investigator on this project.

Innovation System data Initiative 2005/6

Policy makers often need better and more timely information than is currently available from Statistics Canada. This project – supported by Alberta Innovation and Science, Western Economic Diversification and NRC-IRAP – addressed this need by sending a graduate student to Ottawa and supervising him to obtain information of value to the project sponsors. Cooper supervised the student who went to Ottawa for this project.

Return to Community – the Impact of the University of Calgary on its Community. 2004

The University of Calgary asked THECIS to prepare a report showing the impact the University has on the community. This report was subsequently used in discussions at the university Senate and by other bodies.

His presence will be missed for a long time to come at the THECIS office, on our board and future projects.