Dezsö Horváth, dean and Tanna H. Schulich Chair in Strategic Management at York University's Schulich School of Business, published an op-ed in the Globe & Mail urging Canadian firms to go for the gold on the world stage.
Here's an excerpt:
As Canadians cheer on our athletes in their quest for gold at the Winter Olympics, little focus is being given to an arena where Canadian competitors are falling behind: the global competition for markets, investment opportunities, knowledge industries and job-creating business expansion.
Whatever the argument, it boils down to saying: We are too small to go global. This thinking is not going to win us any gold medals in the economic Olympics. In fact, it's a disqualifier to start with. To stop us sliding on a downward trajectory, we need to put our thought-process into reverse: We are too small not to go global.
In Canada, we have traditionally focused our policy objectives on aiding large multinationals or entrepreneurial start-ups. But it is Canada's small- to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that hold the key to our future economic prosperity. We need to breed our own world-beaters — dynamic companies with unique value propositions or cutting-edge technology that grow by selling in foreign markets and by acquiring foreign assets. Our national strategy should be to identify and nurture such companies.
The multicultural background and global diversity of much of our SME sector provides Canada with a built-in competitive advantage, if only we make strategic use of it. We now have a rapidly growing segment of entrepreneurs with a truly global perspective, mindset and motivation. This group should be the target for new public policy initiatives from governments, financial support from banks and innovative training from our world-class business schools. Our national growth strategy needs to place emphasis not only on promoting new start-ups and aiding large companies. Instead, it should increasingly shift its focus to the thousands of small- to-medium-sized firms in cities from Kanata to Kelowna. They will be the drivers of Canada's competitiveness in the years ahead, the companies going for gold in the economic Olympics.