In case you have missed it start-ups are the hottest new trend in economic development thinking. Not small business. Not attracting industries. Not fostering more university research. Nowadays we are heavily focused on trying to foster new technology-based start up companies. Anyone with a laptop and an idea is a target.
This is a very important and positive trend. In the long run, prosperous economies attract investment in many ways – start-ups, acquisitions, green field investments, partnership, etc.
But we have to make sure we don’t love the start-ups so much that we distort the very value they bring to the economy. The technology start-up environment is the Serengeti plain of the economy. Bad ideas get killed quickly. Good ideas get a chance and great ideas will thrive.
In their zeal to promote the region for start-ups governments should not be in the business of funding bad ideas or keeping them on taxpayer-funded life-support.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for tech incubators and accelerators. I love network building and mentoring. I love using universities and colleges as incubators of entrepreneurship. If I had my way we would do more to attract tech startups from across Canada and beyond.
But I don’t want bureaucrats out there on the Serengeti plain trying to save the weaker animals with their pellet guns.