Contingent Workforce Solutions (CWS) is challenging those who believe Canadian innovation is in danger by drawing attention to innovation that exists in small businesses across Canada. In lieu of the Sept 16th Globe and Mail article focusing on the danger Canadian businesses face with the decline of an innovation-giant such as RIM, CWS feels it is important to recognize that innovation is actually driven by small business[1].

In many cases, small companies have the same or greater innovative capability than larger companies; however they lack the resources to successfully market and sell their novel products. There are many highly educated and talented entrepreneurs in Canada that have innovative business solutions; however they have not found success because they cannot gain access to the resources that large companies have. In order to maintain or heighten the current level of Canadian innovation, more resources need to be allocated to innovative small businesses.

Jeff Nugent, founder and Managing Director of Contingent Workforce Solutions (CWS), is well versed in the challenges that new businesses face. After an extensive history in the staffing industry, Nugent saw that many companies were not equipped to deal with the administrative and legal burdens of hiring temporary and contract workers, which put these organizations at risk. He started his innovative company, CWS, which provides business process management solutions, consultation, and a unique VMS software package that allows businesses to better cope with the changing labour demands. While his solution was an innovative approach to an industry problem, he faced, and continues to deal with, many challenges. Bankers were unwilling to finance a start-up with no assets, and so he was forced to use his own savings to start the business. Also, despite Nugent’s extensive industry experience, many large businesses were unwilling to work with a new, small company for fear that it would not have the necessary resources to handle the demands of a large business.

CWS has been able to overcome many of these challenges and find success. In fact, it was recently ranked the number 1 top new growth company by the 12th Annual Profit Hot 50. Lter in its evolution, CWS was lucky to receive Industrial Research Assistance Plan (IRAP) funding, which helped to offset the cost of developing its specialized software. The software has helped to fuel CWS’ success, which shows that such resources are imperative to innovation. However, many innovative entrepreneurs do not have the personal resources to overcome the initial challenges, meaning that their innovations never reach full potential.

There’s no doubt that large, innovative companies, such as RIM, help to drive the Canadian economy. However, smaller companies contributing to the economy and innovative landscape with unique products and services. In order for these small, innovative, Canadian companies to exist and thrive, more resources need to be available to them.

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[1]King, Steve, and Ockels, Karen. Intuit future of small business report. Research brief: Defining small business innovation. The Intuit Future of Small Business Series. March 2009.