You can think of the hierarchy for a sport like a pyramid. There are very few exceptionally great teams of the highest calibre at the top of the pyramid; these teams are the equivalent of large multinational companies. For Hockey this elite level is the NHL and there are 32 teams in the NHL. The next level of excellence is somewhat broader and the equivalent of the OHL (Ontario Hockey League), Western Hockey League, Quebec Junior Hockey league and the like, these teams are like the Cognos and Corel of the world. These leagues are a feeder for the NHL made up of very talented highly competitive teams of the highest calibre and there are likely a couple of hundred of these types of teams. The OHL level feeds the NHL and the OHL is feed by competitive level. The competitive level is much broader than the OHL and only the best players from competitive advance to the OHL level, competitive teams are roughly the equivalent of you $10M to $50M company. At the base of the pyramid is house league. In house league those who can afford equipment and fees get to play. Only those that do well in house league move onto competitive, some don’t make it some do, that is the law of the jungle. With the proper coaching, equipment and practice many can make it. These are companies with <$10M in revenue. It is the nimbleness and the agility of the start-up companies that create innovative products and approaches to doing business.
In my opinion Ottawa stopped supporting house league a few years ago and the result is there are very few companies working their way up the pyramid.
This is why I believe that for a long-term solution private support and government policy need to be directed at the foundation cohort (or base of the pyramid). Help the companies get started and let Darwin deal with which ones evolve better, stronger and faster. Supporting the foundation cohort is planting seeds for future prosperity.
Radiant Ventures has a solution to build the foundation cohort and foster growth at the grass roots level.