CCI’s Ben Bergen says accessing global talent will grow Canadian economy on #TheDisruptors


On the latest episode of The Disruptors, co-host Amber Kanwar sat down with Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI) executive director Ben Bergen to discuss how the council has been lobbying for the Canadian tech industry.

CCI started following former BlackBerry executive Jim Balsillie’s demand that Canada’s big tech companies need to do a better job of working with the government. The council works to bridge this gap by offering business development and lobbying for Canada’s emerging tech companies.

“That speed [of the fast-track visa] will really help make it more attractive for potential talent to come to Canada, and begin helping to grow our economy.”
– Ben Bergen, CCI

CCI’s advocacy falls in three main areas: access to talent, access to customers, and access to capital. Recently the organization has been working with ministers and civil service officials to increase access to talent. Following the implementation of the Government’s Global Skills Strategy and fast-track visa, Canadian companies will soon be able to access talent they need abroad in a two week turnaround period (currently, the process typically takes ten to 12 months). “That speed will really help make it more attractive for potential talent to come to Canada, and begin helping to grow our economy,” said Bergen.

Bergen argues in the video below that it is understood in countries like U.S., Israel, and South Korea that the government’s decisions regarding the economy have a direct impact on businesses. He said if Canada wants a successful innovation economy, Canadian business needs to keep working on its relationship with the government.

“Our big wish would be continued more engagement with the federal government on policies they’re looking to implement across the ecosystem,” said Bergen. “Government and business fit hand in glove. They meet often and they talk regularly about the challenges that are facing the ecosystem.”

Watch the full interview below:

BetaKit is a production partner on The Disruptors. Tune in to BNN every Thursday night at 7 p.m. for full episodes!

Madonna Dennis

Madonna Dennis

Madonna Dennis is a staff writer at BetaKit. She’s a fourth-year journalism student interested in healthtech. She’s passionate about tight-knit teams working together, which is why she’s so fascinated by startup culture. Madonna’s hobbies include dragon boating, singing, and hosting a YouTube show about cat news.