The space industry in Canada is a strange and often confusing combination of business and entrepreneur focused organizations, educational facilities, government departments, and the advocates, activists and groups who provide the political support for the others.
With that in mind, he's a partial listing of the Canadian business and entrepreneurial focused organizations you'll need to know about, if you're planning to build a space company.
Most are very practical and more than happy to make a little money off the high frontier, or anywhere else there's a profit to be made.
Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) - An industry lobby group representing 500 solar energy groups throughout Canada formed in 1992 from the amalgamation of the Canadian Solar Industries Association (CSIA) and the Canadian Photovoltaic Industries Association (CPIA).
The Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) – With over 2000 members with over $105 billion in capital under management, the CVCA represents the majority of private equity companies in Canada. Focused on venture capital (investment in early stage, mostly technology based companies), mezzanine financing (subordinated debt or preferred stock with an equity kicker) and buyout funding (risk investment in established private or publicly listed firms that are undergoing a fundamental change in operations or strategy).
- A non-profit organization of professionals involving public/private partnership, serving primarily the needs of aeronautics, space and defense communities by fostering the coordinated, international development of micro-nano technologies (MNT) for aerospace and defense applications.
The Center for Space Entrepreneurship
(eSpace) – Although not a Canadian example, this Boulder, CO based 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization supports the creation and development of entrepreneurial space companies, the commercialization of the technologies they create, and the workforce to fuel their growth. Well worth using as a model for further Canadian development.
The Commercial SpaceFlight Federation
(CSF) – Another non-Canadian example worth emulating. The 40 businesses and organizations who are members of the CSF provide a comprehensive snapshot of the emerging international NewSpace industry. Canadian members include MacDonald Dettwiler
(MDA) and others.
The Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada
(CARIC) – CARIC is a joint initiative of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada
(AIAC) and the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Québec
(CRIAQ) to create "a national research and technology network that unites stakeholders from industry, universities, colleges and research institutions
" across Canada. Uses the CRIAQ, funding and collaborative model.
The Delta-V Space Accelerator
- Australia's first space start-up, industry led accelerator is a partnership between Saber Astronautics Pty Ltd
, Launchbox Pty Ltd
, the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research
(ACSER) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the SpaceNet group
at Sydney University. Focused on developing start-ups building lightweight, 3-D-printed nanosats, low-cost, re-usable launch systems, smart sensors, machine learning, big data and/ or autonomous robot development.
The various European Space Agency
(ESA) Business Incubation Centres
(ESI) and the European Space Incubators Network
(ESINET) – The ESA spends a lot of time and effort supporting small and innovative space focused firms. The work done through these two organizations is well worth investigating for lessons which are also applicable for Canada.
The Intellectual Property Institute of Canada
(IPEC) – A national association comprised of over 1,700 members from Canada and abroad. Members include patent agents, trade-mark agents and lawyers specializing in intellectual property. This is the first stop on the line if you're a rocket scientist looking to protect your trade, and any other of the secrets you might need, to run a business.
The Information Technology Association of Canada
(ITAC) - Not especially space related (unless you're familiar with the partnerships developed in Great Britain between the IT and space advocacy communities, which led to the creation of the UK Space Agency
in 2010), but heavily involved in much the same issues of government procurement, innovation and commercialization. Even better, many of the entrepreneurial leaders in the current NewSpace community (Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, for example) started in IT. The panel chair of the 2012 Review of Federal Support to Research and Development
(the "Jenkins panel,
" which directly effected Industry Canada
(IC) and Canadian Space Agency
(CSA) activities) was Tom Jenkins, then the executive chairman and chief strategy officer of Waterloo based Open Text Corporation, a member in good standing of ITAC.
Maple Leaf Start-ups - An interactive assessment tool from start-up marketer Marc Evans, on where to go to get funding and support for Canadian start-ups. The list is divided up into business incubators and accelerators, angel investors, plus seed, series A and series B funding sources. Derived from the Canadian Start-up Financing Landscape info-graphic.
The MaRS Discovery District
– A Toronto business incubator focused on the medical and IT industries but open to new ideas. Maintains the MaRS Funding Sources Directory
, a listing of provincial, national and international funding sources suitable for Ontario companies in both the public and private sectors.
Mitacs – A national, not-for-profit research organization focused on building "partnerships between academia, industry, and the world – to create a more innovative Canada." Offers a suite of research and training programs "which enable companies to connect with top Canadian and international researchers."
The MoneyTree Report on Venture Capital investment in the United States -
A quarterly report compiled by PriceWaterhouseCoopers
(PWC) and the US based National Venture Capital Association
(NVCA) which tracks venture capital activity in the United States by region, industry, funding stage, financing sequence, investing fund and receiving firm.
The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) – An organization of Canadian angel capital investors. NACO connects individuals, groups, and other partners that support angel-stage investing; provides intelligence, tools and resources for its members; facilitates key connections across networks, borders and industries and helps to inform policy affecting the "angel asset-class."
National Crowd Funding Association of Canada (NCFA) - An organization billing itself as "Canada’s crowd funding hub," the NCFA works closely with industry groups, government, academia, other business associations and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowd funding industry and voice across Canada.
NewSpace Global (NSG) –
Provides accurate and critical information on international NewSpace focused organizations and opportunities. NSG publishes a variety of items for subscribers, including the always up to date NewSpace Watch
online news service, the Observer
company database, which tracks the top international NewSpace companies and Thruster Magazine
, the monthly market tracking report for NSG. Subscribers include Fortune 500s, universities, government agencies, small and large corporations, and space industry investors.
The Space Frontier Foundation
- US based advocacy group which believes that the barriers to space exploration are "primarily found in the bureaucratic status-quo of the government space program
," and that change must come externally, through entrepreneurship. Organizers of the annual NewSpace business plan competition
Space Works Commercial
– A US based aerospace engineering and design incubator focused on next-generation space transportation systems, future technologies, human and robotic exploration of space, emerging space markets and their applications.
– Entrepreneur led, national movement to enhance the nation’s competitiveness and prosperity by supporting and celebrating Canadian entrepreneurship.
The TechConnex Hub
- Typical of efforts across Canada (although perhaps more successful), this association acts as an industry-directed hub for small and mid-size tech businesses throughout the greater Toronto area.
– An online community of over 20,000 CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs who get together to discuss fundraising, rate and review angel investors and venture capitalists, and exchange ideas for strategies to grow start-up businesses. A part of the Founder Institute