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Government: Too hot, too cold, just right

This is the 15th article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

How much should government intervene in the process of innovation and commercialization? In a truly entrepreneurial culture that has healthy risk tolerance, one could argue that the government doesn’t need to play any substantial role at all. Entrepreneurs worthy of that title just get out there and do what they must to succeed.

In his book, The Way Ahead: Meeting Canada’s Productivity Challenge, Tom Brzustowski, RBC professor for the commercialization of innovation at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, wrote, “I believe that it is only the private sector that creates wealth.” The public sector, on the other hand, is a consumer of wealth in order to bankroll the two fundamental roles it plays.

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