By Sharon Hurley Hall, ‘Startup Canada Promotes Canadian Entrepreneurship Community’, May 16, 2012 – Podium Ventures Blog
“What are the challenges facing Canadian entrepreneurs and how can they be best addressed? Startup Canada hopes to have the answers to these questions by September 2012.
The new Canadian entrepreneurship promotion association is in the middle of a six-month tour of Canada and hopes to foster a unified Canadian community of entrepreneurs. Before Global Entrepreneurship Week in November, they aim create an authoritative policy document on entrepreneurship and business development in Canada.
The tour kicked off in Nova Scotia in March. Here are the list of future destinations:
May: Prince Edward Island, Ontario and New Brunswick.
June: Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
July: and Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador.
September: Ontario and British Columbia.
Startup Canada hopes to reach 25,000 Canadian entrepreneurs and 250 partner organizations via 30 town hall meetings and 100 fringe events.
Entrepreneurs on board
What’s exciting about the tour is the way it has galvanized some of the country’s most notable entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Startup Canada’s governing board is awfully impressive, featuring:
-Founding chairman Dr. Adam Chowaniec, who boasts an impressive resume in the innovation promotion space.
-Co-founder Victoria Lennox, an entrepreneur and entrepreneurship evangelist.
-Andrea Mandel-Campbell, a journalist and author passionate about Canadian entrepreneurship.
-Lanis Anthony, a business investment communications entrepreneur.
-Paul Cataford, an active startup investor and incubator.
-Didier Leconte, who leads a pre-seed investment company and Rivers Corbett, an award-winning entrepreneur who founded the Entrepreneur’s Summit.
There are equally well-credentialed names on Startup Canada’s advisory council and list of patrons, including former “Dragon’s Den” panelist Brett Wilson, Indigo Books & Music Founder Heather Reisman, and Canada Goose Founder Dani Reiss. And there are even more entrepreneurs among the team members and volunteers running the tour.
Enterprise support organizations from each province are promoting the tour and will help with launching any programs that result from it. These include NATI Industries in Newfoundland & Labrador, Black Business Initiative in Nova Scotia, MARS Discovery District in Ontario, Community Futures Saskatchewan, BC Innovation Council, PEI BioAlliance, RJCCQ in Quebec, Manitoba Innovation Council, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and New Brunswick Business Council.
Issues for Canadian entrepreneurs
Some key issues have already emerged from the early tour meetings. While entrepreneurs feel that there are plenty of development programs, the issue is the ability to find the right ones, something Startup Canada plans to address with an accessible online solution. Mentoring from other entrepreneurs is on the wishlist, and the organization aims to create entrepreneurial groups within communities for this purpose. And many entrepreneurs would like to see success stories shared in schools so that children see being an entrepreneur as a viable career path.
A feedback loop
As the tour progresses Startup Canada will continuously seek input from the community via additional private meetings, presentations, conferences, ongoing research, talking to bloggers and canvassing social media to collect and share ideas for creating a culture of entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurs. The best ideas (as decided by the community and the national advisors) will form part of a living manifesto for the country’s entrepreneurial future. This will give the Canadian entrepreneurship community a clear vision and action plan to make it a powerful force for creation, innovation and economic growth.
The future of Canadian entrepreneurship
This event promises to revolutionize the startup scene in Canada and boost its growth. Whenever entrepreneurs get together, there are opportunities for creativity and new ideas, so the mass collaboration through this tour is likely to boost Canadian innovation. And with a single organization coordinating and promoting entrepreneurship in Canada, a new entrepreneurial culture may emerge that will allow Canada to compete internationally and foster continued prosperity.”