Welcome to Alberta. I am writing this note today from Calgary, or Mohkinstsis, a place where peoples have gathered for centuries to share and to learn, and I am honored to continue this tradition.
Since 1986, Innovate Calgary has been the commercialization arm of the University of Calgary. In 2024, we operate five themed accelerators and six themed investment funds. Our programs bridge the business, government, and academic communities, we have offices in the University of Calgary, the University Innovation Quarter, and throughout the city.
Innovate Calgary also commercializes the IP for the University of Calgary and is one of the five national ElevateIP partners, supporting Alberta SMEs with IP knowledge, strategy, and implementation. Intellectual property is fundamental to the growth of our nation. IP-backed solutions drive viable businesses that contribute to thriving communities and economic resiliency.
Advanced industrial economies increasingly rely on intangible assets for their development: In 1975 intangible assets contributed 17 per cent to value of the S&P 500. In 2020 this has risen to 90 per cent (Ocean Tomo).
As a country we haven’t kept pace, but we are confident that we can change this. Internationally, Canadian universities punch above their weight in research impact and many have sophisticated IP teams, supporting the translation of university research. In Canada, our research universities present a twofold opportunity.
First, we have a significant opportunity to generate valuable IP from research and move this into new and existing companies. Canada’s relatively high HERD and low BERD means no other country needs its universities more. We have invested well in our universities, and now we should build on this talent and research base to develop critical technologies and build scalable companies.
Second, universities already have the tools to support SMEs with their IP strategy and implementation. Universities are a vehicle through which IP best practice can be learned, developed, and shared across the country. Universities have always provided bridges for talent and research. Going forward as a country, our universities need to build bridges for IP.
It’s this combination of expertise, opportunity and ambition that will allow us to build on our existing capabilities and provide a solid foundation for the future growth of the Canadian economy.