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Solving for Talent in the Innovation Economy

February 17, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

How can Canada overcome the talent crunch and bolster its innovation pipeline?

Canada’s early-stage companies have the potential to be the world’s next tech titans — but they need support.

While seed financing has hit record heights during the pandemic, it hasn’t kept pace with the amounts going to later-stage companies. Through the first three quarters of 2021, 63 percent of V.C. dollars were invested in later- and growth-stage companies. Angel financing, meanwhile, has barely risen since 2009.

This presents a serious issue for new companies, because tech talent is in extremely short supply and can cost an arm and a leg for founders to hire and retain. Underfunded early-stage companies are hiring from the same ultra-competitive talent pools as well-funded startups.

To compete for talent and scale their ideas, our burgeoning tech leaders need to get creative.

One potential solution is the federal Start-up Visa Program, which injects foreign entrepreneurs into the Canadian innovation ecosystem. Does this type of program feed into the talent pool while also building viable ventures that remain here in Canada?

All of it is up for debate.

This February 17, join the Innovation Economy Council (IEC) for two expert panel discussions on the tech community’s problem with talent. The first discussion focuses on ways to overcome the talent crunch. The second explores the imperative to speed up the relocation of talented founders to Canada.


  • Shane Flynn, Director of Talent Development, DMZ
  • Sherry Colbourne, CEO & President, Spark Centre
  • Saima Chaudhry, Outreach Officer, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Leno Zhou, COO, Longan Vision
  • Moderated by Manjula Selvarajah, journalist and syndicated technology columnist to the CBC


  • IEC members
  • Policymakers
  • Startups
  • Innovation hub leaders
  • Investors
  • Corporate partners


The Innovation Economy Council (IEC) is a coalition of tech-sector leaders dedicated to shaping Canada’s industrial innovation policy. The IEC works with active members of Canada’s innovation ecosystem to identify areas for in-depth analysis and offer timely insights to increase Canadian productivity and sustainable growth.


February 17, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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