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Should Seeding Winners or Economic Inclusiveness be the Focus of Clusters?

Credit: TCI Network Source:

Credit: TCI Network

By Meegan Scott

Toronto, October 21, 2018 ― The 21st ‘TCI Network Global Conference’, the “leading global clusters event for government, business, and academic leaders” was held in Toronto October 16-18.

Event host, The Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity (ICP), and presenting organization, The Competitiveness Institute Network (TCI), made Toronto and Canada proud by delivering on the promise to explore thoughts, perspectives, best practices, and facilitate new connections in relation to clusters as vehicles for economic development and inclusive prosperity.

“Clusters are geographic concentrations of industries related by knowledge, skills, input, demand, and or other linkages” (The Journal of Economic Geography). Through co-location, shared learning, synergies, partnerships, and access to shared resources, clusters are designed to drive productivity, innovation, the formation of new businesses, and job creation.

However, the meeting of minds between, industry, academia, economics, and the social sector concluded with a challenge to the definition of clusters and their roles.  At the heart of the debate was the question of “what constitute a cluster in terms of― business mix and geographic location”.  And even more controversial was the debate surrounding whether “inclusiveness” should be a priority focus or an outcome for clusters. According to Margaret Campbell of the ICP, that institution has “advocated for the development of strong clusters in the province of Ontario as a medium through which to accelerate closing the prosperity gap between the province and its peer jurisdictions”.

That vision includes linking human capital and small businesses in inner city communities to more lucrative industry clusters.  But the traditional role of clusters was to seed and accelerate the growth of ambitious companies destined to win. Finding the middle ground between supporting born to win and finding the ambitious but weak and helping them to win was a challenge for the major stakeholders and leaders of the cluster sector.

Ifor Ffowcs-Williams led a powerful workshop on “Clusters and internationalization”, a session attended by Indera Sagewan of Trinidad and Tobago, the only Caribbean delegate in attendance at the event. Latin America and Europe, as well as global leaders in clustering were well represented among the 37 countries and 340 delegates in attendance. The Caribbean missed out on an opportunity that delivered 11 Greater Toronto area, cluster immersion experiences, and global matchmaking sessions with more than 70 participants.

For Indera the biggest take-away came from Conference Keynote Roger Martin, (Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and the Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management, and #1 Management thinker according to Thinkers50).  Her take-away― “Corporate Strategy is about choice: making the best choice.”  Mr. Martin shared an example of good and bad strategy “If the opposite of your strategy is stupid on its face it is not a good strategy―examples: a strategy aims at “maximizing customer strategy” the opposite would be “minimizing customer strategy” which is stupid.  He further pointed out that “the only thing important in strategy is what you do, not what you say”.

One of the inclusiveness strategies presented had to do with bringing businesses from one country eco-system to strengthen them for driving growth in addition, to sending businesses to the source eco-system.  Given, expected volatility and limited capacity of businesses (large and small) to bear the risks that is expected with advances in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence and robotics much of the global community is looking to clusters for additional capacity and for absorbing shock. The CARICOM Caribbean would be wise to partner with Latin America, Europe, and Canada for accelerating its current cluster development process.

“Absolutely yes!”, was Indera’s response to the suggestion above, she feels “cluster collaboration” was a missing link when comes to the CARICOM Caribbean and opportunities for accelerating business growth, competitiveness, and internationalization.

She noted that the term cluster is used loosely and incorrectly even among regional institutions with a mandate to promote business competitiveness”.  According to Indera, there is a need to “conduct cluster mapping exercises to identify those that are ready for expansion and growth”.  She believes the mapping should not be a purely top down process, but should include “bottom up involvement for identifying value chains, key players, institutional support and markets― so that gaps can be filled for driving growth”.

Indera, hopes to see policy level actions for cluster development as public and private partnerships, and incentive driven cluster development instead of fragmented development, driven by private sector entities”.

Finally, Ms. Sagewan is of the view that there is a need to develop regional clusters and supporting strategies for maximizing return to the Region. She believes “if economic development clusters are to drive growth and development in the region, there must be country specializations, competition, and collaboration among countries”.

Delegates at the conference were delighted to make the unexpected connections they did, as well as the possibilities for partnerships and collaborations they made, whether they attended the matchmaking events or not. There were plenty of opportunities for interaction and opening the conversation for future collaboration.

Photo Credit: Jenna Muirhead Source:

Photo Credit: Jenna Muirhead

Delegates from Latin America were expecting more opportunities to experience the workings and impacts of Industrial clusters in Canada, an area in which Canada is behind.  Canada past the flag to Belgium who will host next year’s Conference in Flanders.

About the author: Meegan Scott, B.Sc. Hons, MBA, ATM-B, CL, PMP., is Jamaica-born Strategic Management Consultant, at Magate Wildhorse Ltd in Toronto. This is a syndicated article.


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Countdown to GEW 2017: Focused for Growth — What Do We Have in Store for You?

Of Special Interest to the Caribbean Canadian and Canadian Startup

In less than four days Canadians will join more than 160 countries round the world to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). This year GEW will be observed from November 13-19.

Each year millions of individuals benefit from GEW activities, among them are startups, more seasoned entrepreneurs, potential entrepreneurs and individuals who support entrepreneurs.

This year GEW celebrates its 10th anniversary, Canada and the Caribbean are a buzz with activities for promoting, advocating and supporting entrepreneurs, the spirit of innovation and job creators.

Magate Wildhorse, the Caribbean Camera, Windies Restaurant in Scarborough and our event partners from Canada and the Caribbean will provide learning, growth and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in Canada and the Caribbean. The theme of those events is Focused for Growth.

We have been fortunate and honoured to have high-quality and expert presenters agree to partner with us for delivering the planned events free of charge to you. We’ll tell you who they are for each day’s event below.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 — Windies Restaurant, Scarborough

Focus for Growth —the Entrepreneur, a presentation by interview with Calgary based event partner Valerie MacLeod, Global Partner of the Haines Centre for Strategic Management and MaxImpact. And Dr. Marcia Brandon of Global Entrepreneur Network Caribbean.

Valerie MacLeod reducedValerie is a well-known industry expert, Business Coach and Strategic Facilitator. Dr. Marcia Brandon is an expert in youth entrepreneurship and the Acting Managing Director for Global Entrepreneurship Network Caribbean. Valerie and Marcia will share of their wealth of knowledge with the audience through the presentation of an interview and action session.

Participants will be able to submit questions for the presenters following the session. This session will focus on the entrepreneur, mindset and other attributes needed to succeed in business. It will also address the DNA of the Canadian and Caribbean Entrepreneur.

Meegan Scott of Magate Wildhorse will lead the participatory session Focus for Growth—the Organization. Meegan is an experienced strategy planner who have served in business incubation in the Caribbean. One lucky small business will win a Pepper Pot Strategy Execution Session to be delivered on the 16th.Meegan prof

Session three will be a presentation on Small Business Income Risk and Protection. This session will be delivered by a Toronto based financial industry expert.

Thursday, November 16th — Windies Restaurant, Scarborough

Pepper Pot Strategy Execution Session

Watch this space for updates there might be another surprise event for you at this location on the 16th.

Online 5:30 – 6:30 PM

Fintech: Access to Finance & Alternative Financing.  A free webinar to be delivered by Telly Onu of Quintessence Consulting in St. Kitts. It aims to inform non-tech as well as tech entities headed by entrepreneurs who have difficulty securing funding about alternative solutions and how to access them.

TellyadjMs. Onu is an expert in entrepreneur capacity building, business acceleration and financing SMEs. She is currently a Fellow at the Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance. The webinar will be held on November 16th details are available on the GEW web site, Magate Wildhorse Facebook Page and Eventbrite.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The series of events will come to a close on the Saturday the18th with The Grand Finale — Eye to Eye Virtual B2B Networking. The eye to eye event aims to connect entrepreneurs looking for partners, services and service delivery partners who can be their bridges into new markets. Consultants who are entrepreneurs will be interested in this global event.

eye to eye virtual network GEWweb

Thursday, November 9, 2017 —Voices from the Caribbean and Canada

The Camera Caribbean has dedicated space in this week’s issue of the Paper for bringing the voices from the Caribbean together with those from Canada to share how they will celebrate and the impact of GEW for them. Their messages will be shared in the Views on News column.

Special thanks on behalf of The Caribbean Camera and Magate Wildhorse to those who contributed to making the shared voices a reality.

It is important for young Caribbean Canadian entrepreneurs to understand and connect with the roots of their culture of entrepreneurship as well as for Canadian entrepreneurs to understand the DNA of Canadian entrepreneurship so they can come to getter to deliver great solutions.Marcia Brandon

Voices from the Caribbean and the session entitled Focused for Growth—the Entrepreneur will provide opportunities to learn and share. The term young entrepreneurs is used in reference to any entrepreneur who is in the early days of their career journey as an entrepreneur regardless of their age. We therefore welcome those entrepreneurs who are 40 and over who are starting a business as the next step in their career journey.

Register for an Event on Eventbrite, GEW Web site or Magate Wildhorse on Facebook.

The Caribbean culture and heritage of entrepreneurship is still to come into its own in Canada.  It must be exposed, promoted and supported in order to stimulate the growth of entrepreneurial Caribbean Canadian businesses by both youths, newcomers and the more established Caribbean Canadians.

We could call it getting multicultural with the wholesome and rich Canadian and Caribbean traditions of enterprise, entrepreneurship and supporting business.

 We look forward to seeing you in Scarborough as well as online!

Stay connected @magatewildhorse. Find out more at:The Caribbean Camera

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Great organizational leaders do not sit and wait to see what the recruitment process shores up when they need a great team member, advisor, or execution partner. They actually research, scout, and woo prospective team members and execution partners with the skills and expertise that they require.

We know that you are busy and the search can be long and hard so we are parading ourselves right here before your eyes. Believe it or not today is your lucky day! In fact it is our lucky day!

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  • You need help with project initiation; scoping; budgeting; timelines; performance measures (KPIs etc.); articulating project objectives; identifying constraints, risks, and assumptions; root cause analysis and corrective actions.
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Better Than Best Beef Vindaloo Challenge ― Dare Yourself to Try This Delectable Culinary Delight for Only $11.95

Long to taste a toothsome beef stew with beef that tastes like real beef?

Here’s your only true solution, Vindaloo Beef Curry from Glory of India Roti Cuisine at 1407 Queen St. W! The Vindaloo Beef Curry is served with rice as only Ben Nanneti cooks rice― delicious. Take the challenge for making your testimony of having had the best Beef Vindaloo in Toronto to the Better than Best Vindaloo in Toronto!

Expect to be wowed!

Not in the mood for beef today, then try Vindaloo Chicken or Lamb.

It’s almost a sin to go home without your Vindaloo Beef Curry from Glory of India today!

Did you know that Vindaloo originated in Goa, an Indian Colony which was ruled by the Portuguese for 450 years? The Portuguese brought Vindaloo made from a marinate of meat in a blend of wine, garlic, and spices called vinha de alhos. The Indians added ginger, chili pepper, cumin, cloves, pimento, tamarind, cinnamon, mustard seeds, coriander, turmeric, curry, and other spices. From Goa to Toronto, Beef Vindaloo Curry, cooked with local ingredients and Indian spices.

RT if you tried and loved the Vindaloo Beef Curry.

Find out what others say about their Glory of India Experience on Yelp, click here.

Order by phone at: 647-349-5679 | Visit them at: 1407 Queen Street West. |

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Source: Living in Goa

Source: Living in Goa