Don't wish to spend your days jockeying for academic tenure or begging the government to come up with plans and new funding for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)?
Graphic c/o Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald.
It's not well known, but in Canada over half of all research and development comes from the private sector, not academia or government.
As outlined in the 2015 State of the Canadian Space Sector Report, the most recent report published by the CSA to measure the overall size of the space sector, university and research centre revenues amounted to only $125Mln CDN in 2015, or only 2.4% of the total $5.3Bln CDN revenue measured from all sources.
That's right. Only 2.4% are traditional academics. The real muscle of the space industry derives from business and entrepreneurial activities. It's unfortunate that industry contributions have been dismissed and diminished by academics and their advocates over the last decade or so.
It's also unfortunate that this total has been slowly shrinking as other political jurisdictions, including the US and the Isle of Mann, have become more appealing places to start and grow a space or innovation focused business.
But for now and at least until the last of our current crop of innovators turns out the lights and leaves the country, here are a few of the best places in Canada to find the real space sector, working for a living and solving Canadian problems.
The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) - As earlier discussed in the April 19th, 2018 post, "The 2018 Listing of Canadian Space Lobbyists, Advocates, Activists and Groups," the AIAC is the biggest and the most important player connecting the Canadian space industry.
This not-for-profit business association and lobby group, focused around aerospace policy issues, lists over 120 corporate members in its current members directory.
They include almost all of the current aerospace suppliers in Canada such as Montreal, PQ based ABB Canada, Ottawa, ON based Airbus Defence and Space Canada, Ottawa, ON based Boeing Canada Operations, Ottawa, ON based Bombardier Aerospace, St-Laurent, QC based CAE and Ottawa, ON based Lockheed Martin Canada.
Also included are most of the known players in the domestic space industry, including Cambridge, ON based exactEarth Ltd., Mississauga, ON based Magellan Aerospace, Brampton, ON based MDA, Kanata, ON based Neptec Design Group, Ottawa, ON based Satellite Canada Innovation Network, Ottawa ON based Telesat Canada, Vancouver BC based UrtheCast Corporation and Montreal PQ based Xiphos Systems Corporation.
Surprisingly, the Toronto, ON based Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) is also listed as an AIAC member. Hopefully, considering their performance in the most recent Space Advisory Board (SAB) fiasco, the CSCA will use their membership to learn a little more about the lobbying process, fund raising and how to affect government policy.
The Canadian regional chapter of the Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME) - A part of the larger, international Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME), with chapters across the US, the UK and Australia.
Whether on Earth or in space, things still need to be manufactured and AME is the leading industry-diverse community with more than 4,000 professionals dedicated to enterprise excellence, continuous improvement, lean methodologies and kaizen techniques in manufacturing.
Now, if only someone could bring them up to speed on open design concepts, 3D-printing and what's going on at places like Hacklab.TO.The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA Alliance) – The largest hi-tech association in Canada and another one of the organizations which, as outlined in the April 19th, 2018 post, "The 2018 Listing of Canadian Space Lobbyists, Advocates, Activists and Groups" is active both as a business association and as a lobby group.
Originally focused on software and telecommunications, CATA provides good background materials on government programs related to innovation, such as the Federal government Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit, the CATA Innovation Nation National Campaign (designed to boost Canada’s competitiveness and innovation rankings) and other initiatives.
Not specifically an aerospace or space focused organization, but knowledgeable on many of the same taxation, innovation and business issues faced by the aerospace industry.Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation (CABI) - Once known as the Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI), the re-branded organization remains "dedicated to supporting the growth of new and early-stage businesses" and works with "industry, government and academia to foster collaboration between business incubators, accelerators, innovation hub, co-working spaces and other key stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem."
The member directory includes 60+ Canadian business incubators and accelerators with a broad range of expertise.
Sponsors include the Venture Technology Practice at the Dentons Law Firm, the Victoria, BC/ Toronto, ON based SilkStart CRM software company and the Toronto, ON/ Goa, India based Webware.jo., which claims to provide "everything you need to be successful online."
The Canadian Association of Defense and Security Industries (CADSI) – The “voice” the Canadian defense and security industries, with "more than 800 companies from across Canada that provide innovative, world-class products and services needed for a modern, flexible force capable of defending Canada and Canadian interests."
CADSI membership overlaps with the AIAC and covers much the same territory, since both are focused on selling and promoting high technology to the Federal government. But its still a useful place for space companies to get to know, especially those firms focused on Earth imaging, rocketry, "internet of things," artificial intelligence (AI) or "big data" offerings.
After all, there are very few military communications, command, and control (C3) capabilities in our current age which can't be purchased as a service from civilian space satellite contractors like Airbus, Google, Maxar (which owns MDA) and ViaSat.
CANSEC organizes the annual CANSEC defence trade show, which will be held from May 30th - 31st in Ottawa, ON.
The Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) – With over 250 members with over $105Bln 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).
If you can't find funding through this group, you need to either visit Silicon Valley or update your pitch deck. Maybe both.
The Commercial SpaceFlight Federation (CSF) – A non-Canadian based space advocacy group well worth emulating.
The 40 businesses and organizations who are members of the CSF provide a comprehensive snapshot of the emerging international NewSpace industry.
Members include Los Vegas, NV based Bigelow Aerospace, Kent WA based Blue Origin, Westminster, CO based Maxar Technologies (which owns Brampton, ON based MDA), the Mohave, CA based Mohave Air and Spaceport, Cape Canaveral, FL based Moon Express, Redmond, WA based Planetary Resources, Hawthorne, CA based SpaceX and quite a number of others.
Focused around a variety of legal and economic issues relating to spaceflight including export control issues, funding issues and regulatory requirements.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.
CARIC uses the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Québec (CRIAQ) funding and collaborative model in order to remain in operation.The Delta-V NewSpace Alliance - Australia's first start-up space accelerator.
Since January 2016, Australian space startups Saber Astronautics, Myriota, Fleet Space Technologies, Gilmour Space Technologies, Hypercubes, Cuberider, Neumann Space and Earth-AI have raised nearly A$20Mln ($19.5Mln CDN) in private angel and venture funding from firms such as Blackbird Ventures, Grok Ventures, 500Startups and many others to jump-start the Australian space industry.
In March 2017, the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) released a white paper calling on the Australian government to institute a proper space industry policy, and suggested the creation of an Australian Space Agency to unlock "burgeoning potential."
The vision is to "create a new industry ecosystem drawing together fragmented groups – SMEs, university and industry R&D teams, startups, students, local, state and federal governments, and big companies – around a theme of deliberate entrepreneurship."
Certainly not Canadian, but absolutely full of useful advocacy lessons for Canadians.
Deltion Innovations – Billed as "Sudbury's first aerospace company" and focused on the design and fabrication of terrestrial and space mining systems.
Deltion CEO Dale Boucher helps to organize the annual Planetary and Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium and was originally part of the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT).
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 secrets or intellectual property.
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 another one of those organizations 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.
Well worth learning more about.
A listing of 100+ firms which provide support and capital to Canadian technology entrepreneurs from 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."MoneyTree Report on Venture Capital investment in the United States - A quarterly report compiled by Price-Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) and the US based National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).
The quarterly report 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 connecting individuals, groups, and other partners supporting angel-stage investing.
NACO also 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" and organizes a variety of regional and national level events for the angel investment community.
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.
Has recently moved into Fintech, P2P, acternative finance, blockchain and cryptocurrency opportunities for Investors, companies and online financing platforms
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 and the Observer company database, which tracks the top international NewSpace companies.
Subscribers include Fortune 500s, universities, government agencies, small and large corporations, and space industry investors.
The Ontario Aerospace Council - One of several regional, not for profit associations of aerospace firms across Canada tasked with enhancing industry competitiveness.
Others include Aero Montreal, the Aerospace Industry Association of British Columbia (AIABC), the Manitoba Aerospace Association and the Unmanned Vehicle Systems Canada (UVS).
The Space Angels Network – an American based network of angel investors that also accepts investors and clients from Canada and Europe.
Has an interesting portfolio which includes Toronto, ON based Kepler Communications and Waterloo, ON based Skywatch.
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.
Start-Up Canada – Entrepreneur led, national movement to enhance the nation’s competitiveness and prosperity by supporting and celebrating Canadian entrepreneurship.