A group of globally recognized Canadian founders, business leaders, chip manufacturers, and investors announce Canada’s Semiconductor Council.
With a mandate to build and lead Canada’s national semiconductor strategy and action plan, the coalition will work towards advancing Canadian competitiveness, strengthening trade partnerships, bolstering supply chain resilience, and propelling Canada to the forefront of the US$7 trillion global semiconductor industry.
Importance of semiconductors
Semiconductors underpin all emerging technologies, including electric vehicles, vaccine production, medical devices, consumer electronics, and the robotics used in precision agriculture.
As the global chip shortage continues to threaten major industries in Canada and around the world, there’s an urgent need for Canada to establish itself as a developer and manufacturer of semiconductor products — both for domestic use and global export.
“While we work towards a strong economic recovery, we also want to ensure Canada’s long-term competitiveness and growth. To do this, we recognize the importance of investing in our domestic semiconductor industry, which is key to so many technologies at the heart of our future economy — from artificial intelligence to quantum computing to green energy and everything in between,” explains the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, and Member of Parliament for Markham-Thornhill.
Founding Members of Canada’s Semiconductor Council
- Salim Teja, Partner, Radical Ventures
- Pamela Pelletier, Country Manager, Dell
- Kevin O’Neil, Managing Director, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
- Sarah Prevette, Angel Investor, CEO Future Design School, Founder of BetaKit
- Melissa Chee, President & CEO, ventureLAB
For more information about the council, click here.
Canada’s Semiconductor Council goals
Canada’s Semiconductor Council will focus on short-term and long-term actions across key pillars. It aims to transform Canada into a global hub for semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing.
The Council will focus on the following core areas:
- Activating a critical mass of IP-rich anchor companies designing and manufacturing semiconductor and related products who choose to start, scale and invest in Canada to meet the demand for the domestic and global market;
- Attract, retain and galvanize Canadian skills and talent;
- Scale Canadian pools of investment capital;
- Expand strategic investment opportunities to Canada.
Semiconductor founders face a gap in access to domestic sources of capital, especially in pre-seed, seed, and early-stage rounds as well as later stages. This leads to a high percentage of foreign ownership in Canadian companies.
At the same time, the lack of funding creates an unfavourable environment for Canadian companies to exit too early at low valuations, or move talent and companies to other markets in order to grow.
“The launch of Canada’s Semiconductor Council is a significant step towards closing the gap to capital for Canadian technology companies, and a necessary measure to attract the billions of dollars in global investment that come with a thriving semiconductor sector,” said Salim Teja, Partner, Radical Ventures.
Addressing the global chip shortage
This past year COVID-19 fueled a surge in sales of consumer electronics, which contributed to the global chip shortage driven by continued strong demand for personal computers and other mobile devices needed for remote work and online learning.
As technologies become more advanced, the opportunities for Canadian-based founders to build and scale domestic semiconductor companies grow exponentially.
At the same time, building an integrated national ecosystem at scale enables Canadian founders to scale faster and accelerate time to market through access to expertise, design tools and manufacturing capabilities, eliminating many capital-intensive hurdles and creating new jobs for Canadian-based talent.
Ecosystem assets like the Hardware Catalyst Initiative have attracted close to $50 million in private sector contributions from over 25 global partners to maximize the Government of Canada’s $9.73 million investment.
“Canada has a choice to make: we either seize the incredible opportunity before us or stick with a status quo that’s no longer working. When it comes to building an innovative, nationally integrated tech ecosystem with the potential to bring in significant investments and create transformational careers for a new generation of Canadians, you need to think big,” said Melissa Chee, President and CEO, ventureLAB and Hardware Catalyst Initiative.
“In the ultra-competitive and critical semiconductor sector, nobody is going to invite us to the table — we need to be bold and own the podium.”