Evidence of meeting #14 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was program.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Tom Hayes  President and Chief Executive Officer, GrowthWorks Atlantic, Canada's Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
  • Herman Yeh  President, Canadian Information Technology Providers Association
  • Jason Gillham  Director of Operations, 2G Robotics Inc.

November 1st, 2011 / 4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Thank you so much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, everyone.

Thank you to the witnesses. Thank you for your time, your effort, your testimony.

I'd like to begin with Mr. Gillham.

Your words “persistent patience” really stuck with me. Could you tell us what you saw as the advantages or the successes of the program? Could you outline the things that truly helped you? What were the weaknesses, and what would you have liked to see?

4:15 p.m.

Director of Operations, 2G Robotics Inc.

Jason Gillham

I'll probably have to get you to repeat them as we go.

One of the real benefits we've seen is getting that first reference customer. It's critical for small start-up companies to have that initial purchase. I know we talked about persistent patience being something that was not necessarily desirable but it's possibly also something that's a benefit from an education standpoint--to learn that process and understand it. So if that process is in place, it's challenging for us to go through it, but it's also an educational component. So I wouldn't necessarily say that's just a disadvantage. It also helps you learn how to deal with governments, how to work through that process. It's the same for large corporations that have the same high levels of bureaucracy relative to small companies, which we would be.

What were some of the other questions?

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

You've given me one benefit.

4:15 p.m.

Director of Operations, 2G Robotics Inc.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Did you see other benefits to the program, and were there negatives?

4:15 p.m.

Director of Operations, 2G Robotics Inc.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

And what was missing?

4:15 p.m.

Director of Operations, 2G Robotics Inc.

Jason Gillham

Other benefits will, I suspect, come up as the program continues on, because we delivered the system relatively recently to them. So the next step for the overall project is a testing component in which Defence Research and Development Canada is going to take the system and compare it to other technologies so they will then be able to say “Look how this new technology can benefit us from an operational standpoint”. And then ideally we can get scanners on every ship, all over the place and around the world, hopefully, for specific security-related applications.

Ultimately, the benefit to any company comes down to money. It will end up being money in the door one way or another. So from a short-term standpoint, we were able to get an initial sale and see some cashflow. Down the road, we'll be able to have that reference customer we can point to and continue to reap the benefits of that reference customer.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

Okay. And what were your challenges? What was missing? What would have helped you that didn't exist?

4:15 p.m.

Director of Operations, 2G Robotics Inc.

Jason Gillham

If there had been more mentorship. I suppose one of the main things missing, as far as I was concerned, was a single point of contact. We were passed from person to person throughout this process. I never understood exactly who I was supposed to be talking to and listening to. We ended up speaking to about five people throughout that process and never really understanding where they sat in the decision-making process.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

So you're saying a single point of contact.

What were the other challenges?

4:15 p.m.

Director of Operations, 2G Robotics Inc.

Jason Gillham

Certainly one challenge was going through the application process. I wouldn't say it was a negative to the project, but it was a challenge we had to go through.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

If you had a wish list, what would be on it?

4:20 p.m.

Director of Operations, 2G Robotics Inc.

Jason Gillham

You mean a wish list for...?..

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Etobicoke North, ON

If there were something....