Canada’s Aerospace SMBs: Critical Drivers of Innovation and Employment
Today at AIAC’s 2019 Canadian Aerospace Summit, the head of Avascent’s Ottawa office, Michael Petric, moderated a panel on the role of Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in Canada’s aerospace industry with:
- Keith Donaldson, VP of Apex Industries and incoming chair of the board of AIAC;
- Patrick Mann, president of Patlon Aircraft and outgoing chair of the board of AIAC; and
- Barney Bangs, President of Tulmar Safety Systems Inc., and chair of the AIAC committee on SMBs.
The panelists covered a wide range of challenges affecting SMBs in Canada’s aerospace industry, including the emergence of global competitors, consolidation of supply chains, cost pressures, access to working capital, and skilled labour. They also described the critical roles SMBs play in leading agile R&D and innovation and growing Canada’s competitive advantage.
Panelists argued that government and industry must both play complementary roles in scaling successful SMBs into the future leaders of Canada’s aerospace industry. Industry partners can mentor their suppliers and provide critical know-how to increase effectiveness and deepen important relationships.
Conversely, government can play a critical role by providing institutional support and acting as a first customer. Government can also drive outcomes by ensuring SMBs have access to public procurement opportunities and aiding their export efforts.
In AIAC’s Vision2025, SMBs are identified as one of the six key priority areas. As the panelists discussed, Canada’s aerospace SMBs are critical drivers of employment and innovation for the Canadian aerospace industry.