DEEP Centre Publications

Every year, the DEEP Centre produces in-depth case studies and original white papers with unique insights into how to foster entrepreneurialism and innovation in companies and jurisdictions. We proudly share our publications with the public and encourage our readers to send us comments and feedback. If you are inspired by what you see, get in touch.

Accelerating Canada’s Clean Growth Economy
November 2016

clean-growth-economy-coverAt the COP21 meetings in Paris in November 2015, the Government of Canada announced ambitious new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and called on the Canadian business community to help lead the way toward an economy driven by clean growth. One year later, a new report by the DEEP Centre highlights the magnitude of the cleantech adoption challenge facing Canadian industry and issues recommendations for positioning Canada to emerge as a 21st Century cleantech superpower. Commissioned by Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), Accelerating Canada’s Clean Growth Economy provides insight into cleantech adoption practices across the economy, including plans for future investment and the perceived economic and environment benefits associated with clean technologies. The report also identifies a number of obstacles that are inhibiting investments in clean technologies by Canadian companies and provides recommendations for accelerating clean tech adoption across sectors and promoting partnerships that will stimulate the creation of global cleantech champions in Canada.

Download the full report here.

Boosting E-Commerce in the Digital Single Market
September 2016

Boosting E-Commerce in the Digital Single Market Following the European Commission’s publication of a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe in April 2016, the European Parliament solicited expert contributions on challenges and opportunities related to the implementation of the single market, including concrete proposals for overcoming any remaining barriers to making the DSM a reality in the EU. In June 2016, DEEP Centre president and co-founder Anthony D. Williams was invited to Brussels to brief the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection and present a report on “Boosting E-Commerce in the Digital Single Market.” This report summarizes the DEEP Centre’s analysis of the opportunities a single market for digital services would create for European entrepreneurs and provides a series of recommendations for how to strengthen the enabling conditions for entrepreneurial success in Europe, particularly in the domain of digital services and e-commerce.

Download the full report here

Mobilizing National Innovation Assets
May 2016

SPF2 Sovereign patent funds (SPFs) are increasingly influential – and controversial – players in global IP markets. Collectively, SPFs now hold thousands of technology patents and are engaged in licensing and litigation activities worldwide. But despite their prominence, many questions about these funds remain unanswered. What types of assets have these funds acquired, and from where? What is their litigation track record? Are these funds really state-sponsored patent trolls – as some commentators have alleged – or are the models more complex and diverse?

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Management Talent in Canada’s Manufacturing Sector
Spring 2016

CaptureManagementTalentDespite the vital role of human capital in shaping the future of Canada’s manufacturing sector, little attention has been focused on the role of management talent in the growth and competitiveness of Canadian manufacturing firms.This project is a first step towards addressing this knowledge gap. In doing so, it asks if—and to what extent—a management skills gap exists among Canada’s population of small- and medium-size manufacturing firms. In addition, through a three-part analysis based on survey, interview, and comparative research, the study provides early insights into the specific management challenges faced by Canadian manufacturers and highlights potential implications for firm performance.

Read the full report here


Accelerating Canada’s Startup Ecosystem – Five Part Series

Fall 2015

DEEPCENTREBABI5This five part series of reports on the Canadian startup ecosystem were produced by the DEEP Centre with support from Industry Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.

The full library of reports can be obtained here.



Catalyzing Canadian Growth:
Understanding the Role of Large Firms in Helping Small Business Succeed

October 2015

CaptureCatalyzingIf the purchasing behaviour of the largest 50 companies in Canada is indicative of the broader population of 350 large Canadian firms (those with at least $1 billion in revenues), the results suggest that large companies in Canada buy more than $260 billion in inputs each year from more than one million SMEs. At the same time, 90 per cent of the companies in the study identified SMEs as playing an important or very important role in their operations as contributors of new ideas, products, processes and technologies.This report includes in-depth case studies of innovative mentorship, business development, procurement and innovation-related initiatives spearheaded by some of Canada’s largest companies.

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The Future of Manufacturing in Ontario:
New Technologies, New Challenges, New Opportunities

September 2015

Does the manufacturing industry have a future in Ontario? And if so, in which sub-sectors will this future flourish? This project seeks to help shed lights on these questions through the development of both quantitative and qualitative analyses of key sectoral trends and technological innovations. This research builds on the 2014 DEEP Centre report, Canada’s Billion Dollar Firms: Contributions, Challenges and Opportunities.

All together, the project aims to provide a strong evidence base for the development of targeted policy initiatives focused on Ontario’s manufacturing sector, and the key areas of growth within it.

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Canada’s Innovation Performance: A Scorecard
March 2015

DoesScorecard Canada have an innovation problem? Many commentators seem to think so. Yet despite receiving high-profile attention from policy and business leaders, innovation – and Canada’s innovation performance – remains difficult to precisely measure. In this context, this short paper draws on a series of proxy measures in an effort to gauge Canada’s innovation performance. Using information obtained from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Statistics Canada, the paper examines both inputs (research and development spending, personnel) and outputs (patenting activity, firm creation) associated with innovative activity. Taken on aggregate, these metrics paint a picture of a country that is failing to keep pace with its peers across a wide range of measures, and suggests the need for policymakers to take concrete steps to address this ongoing innovation gap.

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Sowing the Seeds of Prosperity:
Networked Solutions for the Youth Employment Crisis
Presented in partnership with the Global Solutions Network
December 2014

YouthEmploymentWith nearly 300 million unemployed or inactive youth around the world, youth unemployment is a serious threat to global prosperity and well-being. The social and economic repercussions of prolonged youth unemployment range from a loss of aggregate demand in the form of slower growth and less job creation to heightened pressure on fragile social support systems and even increases in crime, violence and social unrest. While single-actor interventions have largely proven ineffective, global solution networks are drawing on the resources and competencies of diverse actors in society to create new pathways for skills development, entrepreneurship and policy creation that will underpin long-term solutions for youth employment.

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Winning in the Global Services Economy:
A 21st Century Export Strategy for Job Creation and Growth
September 2014

ServicesIn a global economy marked by ongoing economic uncertainty and a tepid recovery from recession, there are few hard economic truths to depend on; however, one that remains steadfastly accurate is the adage that demography is destiny. The demographic transitions underway across both developed and developing economies will have profound impacts on the economies of Canada and the United States, as well as their many trading partners. Growing popula- tions of young, middle-class consumers in South Asia and Latin America, and the masses of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that employ them, will increasingly demand cultural, educational and professional services that domestic markets may not yet be able to provide. Conversely, aging demographics across Europe and East Asia will place increasing stress on overburdened health care systems, thereby heightening the need for innovative services and delivery models. Across each of these demographic transitions, the impacts of global economic growth will galvanize demand for environmental and technological services aimed at ameliorating an array of ecological, health and food-related challenges facing humanity.

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Sovereign Patent Funds: Insights and Implications
September 2014

SPFsSince 2010, jurisdictions including South Korea, Japan, France and Taiwan have moved to establish sovereign patent funds (SPFS), a new type of investment vehicle intended to acquire strategically important intellectual property assets and, in so doing, promote national economic objectives. What are these organizations? What are their objectives? And what are the key implications for policymakers? This paper provides early-stage answers to these questions. It begins by providing an overview of the functions and objectives of existing SPFs, and analyzes both potential advantages and criticisms of these new vehicles for public policy. The final section of the paper examines the implications of SPFs for policymakers in other countries, including Canada, which have not yet established similar funds.

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Canada’s Billion Dollar Firms: Contributions, Challenges and Opportunities
July 2014

BDQHow does the Canadian economy perform in the creation of billion-dollar firms? Does firm size make a measurable difference in shaping the performance of the Canadian economy? What are the key drivers of growth among Canada’s largest firms? How significant are their contributions to domestic employment and research and development (R&D) spending? And what can the Canadian government do to help Canada’s largest firms continue to achieve success in the global economy? This presents a demographic analysis of Canada’s largest firms, their contributions to Canadian employment and research and development spending, as well as a jurisdictional analysis of Canada’s performance in producing globally competitive firms relative to a series of comparator economies, including Australia, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Crowdfunding: Catalyzing growth, investment and access to capital
August 2013

DEEP Centre CrowdfundingThrough its role as a conduit for donations, loans and investment,
crowdfunding is poised to play a significant role in financing SMEs.
Equity crowdfunding, in particular, offers significant potential
to open up a new funding source for entrepreneurs, and a new
avenue for investment for investors. In so doing, this nascent
platform will help facilitate job creation and innovation by ensuring
that good ideas don’t die on the kitchen tables of would-be
entrepreneurs. As this report argues, however, jurisdictions seeking
to capitalize on this new avenue must develop balanced regulatory frameworks that protect investors without stifling the elements of long-tail participation and engagement that make this medium a potential game-changer.

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The Small Business Growth Conundrum: Five Challenges
Holding Back SMEs in Canada, May 2013

DEEP Centre SME May 2013Small-and-medium-sized-enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Indeed, it is a well-known and often cited fact that Canada’s economic landscape is predominantly populated by companies with fewer than 100 employees. More often than not, this small size is portrayed as a positive characteristic because these companies are seen as being more agile and more adept at maneuvering the whims of rapidly changing market. Nonetheless, the plethora of small companies also holds certain challenges and masks the fact that many enterprises that would like to grow, face serious hurdles. This report identifies main the obstacles to SME growth and provides recommendations for what policy makers can do now to amplify and accelerate the economic potential of the small business sector.

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Employment, Innovation and Growth:
Analyzing the Health of Canada’s Economic Ecosystem
April 2013

Employment, Innovation and GrowthWhere does economic and employment growth in a modern economy come from? How do firm size, age and industry influence overall economic performance? And how does Canada fare on measures of international competitiveness? In tackling these questions, this DEEP Centre report on Canadian competitiveness provides stakeholders with a nuanced understanding of the key drivers of economic growth and innovation as Canada’s economy is reshaped by complex patterns of technological, demographic and economic change. The report calls for the enactment of better targeted policies to support enterprise growth and provides a unique and ultimately more accurate lever for policy makers seeking to stimulate the next generation of jobs and growth.

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December 1, 2016

Green Shoots and Strong Headwinds: A Cleantech Reality Check

Earlier this year, the DEEP Centre was asked by the Federal-Provincial Working Group on Clean Technologies, Innovation and Jobs to take stock of how Canadian firms are doing with respect to adopting clean technologies that will help Canada achieve a successful … Read More.