The National Advisory Council is made up of some of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneurship evangelists. The Government, Industry and Academic Advisory Council is made up of policy, academic and industry leaders driving forward the entrepreneurial agenda across Canada. The Councils provide ongoing advice and input into the positioning, programming, and strategic direction of Startup Canada.
Brad is one of the managing directors at Foundry Group, a venture capital firm that invests in early stage software / Internet companies throughout the United States. He is also the co-founder of TechStars, a mentor-driven accelerator, author of several books and blogs, and a marathon runner.
Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures, a company that helped launch and operate software companies. Brad is also a co-founder of TechStars.
Brad currently serves on the board of directors of BigDoor, Cheezburger,Fitbit, FullContact, Gnip, MakerBot, MobileDay, Modular Robotics, Oblong,Orbotix, Rover.com, SafeInstance, SEOMoz, Standing Cloud, andYesware for Foundry Group. Previously, Brad was an executive at AmeriData Technologies after it acquired Feld Technologies, a firm he founded in 1987 that specialized in custom software applications.
In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, co-chair of Startup Colorado, and on the board of Startup Weekend. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts, Startup Revolution, and Ask the VC.
Notable companies that Brad has invested in and/or sat on the boards of include Abuzz (acq. NYT), Anyday.com (acq. PALM), Critical Path (CPTH), Cyanea (acq. IBM), Dante Group (acq. WEBM), DataPower (acq. IBM), FeedBurner (acq. by GOOG), Feld Group (acq. by EDS), Gist (acq. RIM), Harmonix (acq. VIA), NetGenesis (IPO), ServiceMagic (acq. IACI), ServiceMetrics (acq. EXDS), and Zynga (ZNGA).
Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Brad is also an avid art collector and long-distance runner. He has completed 23 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.
Bjoern was born in Germany, and has become a recognized entrepreneur and expert on data products, data driven decision making, education, innovation, entrepreneurship and organizational development.
He founded and led 5 for and non profit ventures in Germany, Bangladesh & the US. He also worked as an executive in Russia for one year for a mid sized marketing firm. In his free time he is an advisor to multiple companies, a mentor for the Thiel Fellowship, Startup Bootcamp and Spark Labs and a speaker at various conferences (e.g Strata & Hadoop World, Pioneers Festival, International Startup Festival) and Universities (e.g. Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, Singularity University). He is also a member of the Sandbox Network and the Silicon Valley Leadership group. He is actively engaged into German, European and US politics on the issues of entrepreneurship and immigration.
Most recently he & his team set out to decrease the massive failure rate of businesses by transforming the business world from gut driven to data driven. The first product "Startup Compass" now serves tens of thousands of software businesses around the world. Its success has been covered in WSJ, PBS, ARD, Techcrunch, Wired and Forbes. The young company has been backed by prominent investors including Steve Blank, Allen Morgan, Roger Krakoff, Daniel Recanati, Gianluca Dettori, Erik Jansen and Stefan Glaenzer.
Since its inception Compass has released a series of well-regarded reports: The Startup Genome Report (1) the startup lifecycle, (2) success & failure of startups and (3) startup ecosystems. They have been adopted into the curriculum of more than 100 Universities worldwide such as Stanford and Science Po and have inspired numerous businesses and political initiatives.
Bjoern's personal passion or "leitmotif" is: unleashing human potential. He enjoys to see people grow. His higher purpose is to strive to maximize the capitalization of every single individual.
Jonathan Ortmans has dedicated his professional career to stimulating informed dialogue and deliberation around the issues that matter most–at local, national and global levels.
Most recently, he has focused on developing a global engagement project called Global Entrepreneurship Week on behalf of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he has worked to align 120 countries to inspire, connect, mentor and engage the next generation of entrepreneurs. In doing so, he has helped assemble an informal coalition of more than 25,000 organizations dedicated to stimulating entrepreneurial activity. The November 2010 campaign engaged over 10 million people in 40,000 concurrent activities.
Ortmans brings a wealth of experience to the field, serving as a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation where he advises the Foundation on its global footprint and its interface with policymakers through thePolicy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, a public policy initiative to focus attention on the importance of entrepreneurship to the economy and society. Based in Washington, DC, Ortmans also serves as an interface between new research and initiatives to advance entrepreneurship at the Foundation and the questions and concerns that arise from policymakers in the nation’s capital.
In addition to his work in the field of entrepreneurship, Ortmans also serves as president of the Public Forum Institute where he has more than 20 years experience in engaging citizens, experts, community leaders, and elected officials in substantive discussions. These discussions counter the growing trend toward sound bite education by helping citizens develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing their communities and their nation. In this role, Ortmans has created a number of national initiatives with government agencies, corporations, foundations and other entities which have engaged millions of citizens at public forums in all fifty states. For example, since 1992 he has chaired and facilitated more than 300 public forums on health care policy issues throughout the United States including Americans Discuss Health—roughly 125 congressionally-chaired forums—and the Citizens Health Care Working Group which convened forums enabling real public input into policy currently being debated in the 111th Congress. With the Genetics & Public Policy Center of Johns Hopkins University, Ortmans has facilitated two national series of interactive town halls on advances in and the use of reproductive genetic testing and in 2007 that explored public perceptions of the feasibility of national a human bio-bank.
Ortmans has a background as an entrepreneur –being part of his first startup team at the age of 19 in his native United Kingdom and starting PFI at 34 after a career on Capitol Hill working for the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee focusing on trade policy. He blogs regularly for the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship as well as Global Entrepreneurship Week. You can also follow him on Twitteror connect with him via LinkedIn or Facebook.
Ken Bautista is Co-Founder/CEO of Startup Edmonton, a campus, co-workspace, and accelerator working to activate startups in Edmonton, Canada. Ken has been a creative entrepreneur in the tech space for over 10 years, founding and growing two award-winning interactive companies, Hotrocket and Rocketfuel Games, and community initiatives like TEDxEdmonton and artsScene Edmonton. Ken has been featured in a number of publications including the New York Times, and was recognized in Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40”, earned a Horizon Alumni Award from the University of Alberta, and was named one of “Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People” by Alberta Venture Magazine in 2011.
Jason Flick is Co-founder and President of YOUi Labs, a successful serial entrepreneur, and the product visionary in the company. Jason brings 18 years of technical and business leadership to the role. His most recent success was Flick Software, a mobile solutions and products venture whose customers included Intel, Rogers Wireless, U.S. military, and Sybase. Prior to founding Flick Software in 2002, he was co-founder and CTO at N-able Technologies, where he architected one of the most scalable IT systems in the world, managed and built the engineering team. Prior to N-able Technologies, Jason was Director, Systems Integration with Eftia, a leading OSS vendor, where he owned a $23M P&L business unit. His other roles and adventures have included COO, Canadian Health Systems and Vice President Engineering, TouchNet.
Sarah Prevette has captured attention as a passionate and pioneering web entrepreneur — an exciting voice from inside the online community revolution. Sarah’s untraditional and multi-faceted approach to branding and promotion provides actionable insight to those looking to build communities, truly engage their audiences and leverage the full power of the web.
Currently, Sarah is the founder of Sprouter, an online collaboration tool facilitating knowledge exchange between startups and business leaders. An entrepreneur long immersed in the startup community, Sarah has robust familiarity with the common pitfalls of early stage startups and the tips and tools that foster success. Prior to starting Sprouter, Sarah built the tween pop culture community Upinion and held various strategic positions in the recently acquired Cyberbahn Group as well as at Info~Tech Research Group.
Sarah has appeared in the media on CTV, CBC, Profit Magazine, the Toronto Star, the Financial Post, the Wall Street Journal and tech publications including Wired, IT Business and Mashable. She is an in-demand speaker who has delivered keynote speeches and sessions at prestigious events including South by Southwest, the Canada 3.0 conference, Net Change Week, and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Sarah is passionate and knowledgeable on the subjects of social media, startups, usability, advocacy on the web and community building.
Michael Tippett is an entrepreneur, columnist and educator. He was the original founder of NowPublic which is one of the pioneers in citizen journalism and quickly becoming one of the largest news agencies in the world. In 2009 the site was nominated for an Emmy in Advanced Technology. In August 2009 NowPublic was acquired by billionaire, Phillip Anschutz for a reported 25 million dollars . In 2009, Tippett was recognized by the British Columbia New Media Association with an award for visionary leadership.
Prior to his involvement in NowPublic, Tippett was the Director of Marketing for Afternic.com. Afternic was acquired by Register.com for $60 million dollars in 2001. At Register Tippett was the Director of Channel Marketing for the company and then General Manager for one of The Company's five divisions.
Tippett is a member of the University of British Columbia’s School of Journalism Advisory Board, The Capilano University, Advisory Committee and is also a board member of CABINET, a Vancouver-based arts organization. In 2004 he collaborated with Kate Armstrong to produce Grafik Dynamo, a net art piece that loads live images from blogs and news sources on the web into a live action comic strip. Grafik Dynamo was a commission of Turbulence, made possible with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Tippett graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Philosophy.
Mike has over 15 years experience working on R&D tax credit and equity funding projects. Previously, he worked in the M&A group at BCE, the strategy group at KPMG Consulting; and various technology firms as an engineer. Mike has a B.A.Sc. in Engineering from the University of Waterloo, an MBA from the University of British Columbia, and the CFA designation. Mike enjoys spending time with his family, whitewater kayaking, hockey, ultimate, and trips to far off places.
As a leading Canadian entrepreneur, Michael has founded and led several information technology, security and defense research organizations over the past eighteen years. As the Chief Strategy Officer of Seccuris Inc., Michael is responsible for establishing strategic goals for Seccuris, facilitating consistency of corporate strategy and incubation of new security technologies and research initiatives. Michael, who recently received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Prairies region in the Technology category, started Seccuris over 11 years ago. Through passion and innovation, Michael developed a reputation as one as one Canada’s brightest minds on the subjects of enterprise security. In addition to building Seccuris into a national concern - servicing the information assurance and security needs of major organizations, Michael’s expertise and advise is sought after by leading defense and police agencies across the globe. In his spare time, Michael focuses his efforts on the development of industry growth strategies including specialized industry incubators, community development programs and education / industry partnerships, in an effort to ensure continued competitive growth for innovation driven industries.
As a principal architect evangelist Christian shares his passion for software development in all its different facets with the Canadian ITC community. He has coded in Modula-2, xBase, VB, VB.NET and now C#. His passion extends to games and various collectibles. Christian is responsible for nurturing the Canadian Local Software Community through Microsoft support programs such as BizSpark and BizSpark Plus.
Diana Mulvey has an MBA in Strategic Planning combined with over 18 years in marketing and communications. She has a track record of creating breakthrough marketing strategies, deepening engagement with target audiences and strengthening community relationships; all with an eye to enhance reputation and market position. She is passionate about discovering and communicating how eco and social impacts can be managed without trade-offs. She draws upon a range of experience to advise entrepreneurs in corporate, consumer and not-for-profit organizations and she partners with a network of like-minded professionals to achieve measurable results for her clients.
Highlights from Diana’s career include helping practice leaders at KPMG Canada to design market-focused strategies to grow its energy and natural resources practice and launch its sustainability advisory services. Following KPMG, Diana directed lululemon athletica’s Community Legacies and Community Relations programs where she developed a sustainability vision and strategy and scaled its grassroots marketing program to support the company’s Canadian expansion. Diana has also worked as a Senior Communications Officer with the Resort Municipality of Whistler during the 2010 Winter Games where she managed the municipality’s media relations strategies, developed community engagement events and launched two websites with a new social media platform.
In 2007, Diana Mulvey started Seeds Consulting, working out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Seeds Consulting provides advisory services to purpose-driven leaders on how to grow their business consciously. Service areas offered through Seeds include: Planning for conscious change, marketing to connect positively and communicating to engage authentically.
Paul Bakker is the founder and lead consultant of Social Impact Squared, a research and evaluation practice which specializes in measuring, communicating and improving social impact.
Paul is a highly creative researcher with extensive experience producing actionable results. Paul pushes for methodological rigor, and his work with many different populations has strengthened his focus on balancing rigor with flexibility, ethics, and innovation.
Paul has over 5 years of experience conducting research and evaluation. He has leveraged his skills to assist national nonprofit organizations that seek to strengthen Canada’s nonprofit sector. Paul has also helped Government and nonprofit organizations of various sizes understand and improve their social impacts. Paul has presented on evaluation and evaluation design, and has helped organizations build their capacity to measure and improve their impact.
Outside of Social Impact Squared, Paul is the Director of Research and Evaluation for Endeavour Volunteer Consulting for Non-Profits, where he leads the organization in measuring their impact, understanding what leads to successful consulting engagements, and sharing lessons learned.
Helen Braiter has been with PWGSC for 12 years and is the Director of the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program in the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises. She is currently responsible for the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP), a new $40 million program that was announced in Budget 2010 which aims to promote innovation and support Canadian business development. An environmental engineer by training, she has worked in many areas within the Acquisitions Branch of PWGSC including policy, risk management and supplier engagement.
Paul Ledwell is Executive Vice-President at the Public Policy Forum, where he leads the Forum’s work in innovation and public governance and contributes to thought leadership in areas such as economic development, health and the environment. He joined the Forum in April 2009, bringing 20 years leadership experience in policy, research, and public advocacy, and extensive work with partners in government, academe, private and voluntary sectors, and the media. At PPF, he is leading a major multi-year and multi-sector project, Innovation Next, which aims to advance a stronger culture and practice of innovation in Canada.
Previously, Paul served as President of the Institute On Governance, as the first Director of Government Relations at the University of Ottawa, as Executive Director of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and as the Chair of the Canadian Consortium for Research. He has provided senior leadership on national initiatives, including the National Dialogue on Higher Education and the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. He has been a commentator in the media, an invited speaker to conferences in Canada and around the world, and has appeared before many parliamentary and other national committees on matters related to economic and social policy.
Internationally, Paul has been engaged on issues related to democratic development in Asia and the Middle East, and on innovation and higher education policy in the US and Europe. He has contributed, in a volunteer capacity, to many national organizations and currently serves as a Board member to Actua and an advisor to several NGOs.
Senia Rapisarda joined BDC in 2010 as Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Investments.
In this role, Ms. Rapisarda leads BDC’s efforts to develop a healthy VC ecosystem in Canada through several key strategic initiatives and investments.
Ms. Rapisarda has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications and technology sectors, including roles as senior advisor at NUR Energie, a London-based investment fund specialized in renewable energy; and Managing Director of the Technology Private Equity Team at Nomura International, managing over $300 million of investments in 42 companies across Europe, Israel and the U.S.
She is the founder of the Coller Institute at the London Business School – the first in Europe to provide a forum for the exchange of views and analysis of trends and policy issues in venture capital and private equity.
Ms. Rapisarda has a law degree from LUISS University in Rome, a Master's in Law and Economics from Columbia University in New York, and is a Fulbright Scholar.
Media, PR & Communications
With more than 30 years experience in marketing, public relations and journalism, Francis Moran is an insightful strategist, an expert writer and a seasoned veteran of the specific challenges of helping B2B technology companies engage with their marketplace and those who influence it.
Francis specializes in working with new and established technology ventures that want to accelerate revenues, improve their market presence, establish leadership and succeed in a fast-moving and competitive environment in a global context.
Rick Spence is a writer, speaker and consultant on business growth, entrepreneurship and opportunity. Rick's column appears weekly in the National Post and his speaking topics include innovation, best practices, social media, and the future of business success.
Sean Stanleigh is the editor of The Globe and Mail's Report on Small Business, a destination for readers who want information and compelling stories on Canada's growing entrepreneurial community. He is a Canadian Youth Business Foundation mentor, a member of the JOLT Network at MaRS, and sits on the advisory boards of One Million Acts of Innovation, America Means Business and Social Media Week Toronto.
Former CTV Ottawa technology specialist and Tech Now Reporter/Producer Paul Brent has joined market2world communications inc. as a Senior Communications Strategist. market2world bills itself as a public relations and product marketing resource for global innovators. The company has experienced 50% growth over the past year as its reputation for promoting knowledge-based products and services has attracted new clients in Ontario, across Canada, and internationally.
Award-winning CTV tech specialist Paul Brent joins market2world communications inc. as Senior Communications Strategist“I intend to add a strong dose of video storytelling and production expertise to market2world,” stated Brent. More than 85 percent of browsers support screen resolutions higher than 1024x768, and those browsers are now found on hand-held smartphones and tablets, not just laptops and PCs. When you add Internet-connected smart TVs into the mix, it’s easy to see that the YouTube online video revolution now extends to every device owned by today’s consumer.”
Brent enjoyed an award-winning career in the news business prior to joining to market2world. Since 2001 he was CTV’s technology specialist, covering the technology industry in his popular Tech Now weekly program that looks at consumer innovations that permeate daily life. He reported from aboard the space shuttle, inside a Japanese car plant, the country's top tech labs and the streets of Silicon Valley, California. In 2001 he was named Technology and Science Reporter of the year by Canada's largest tech organization, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance. In 2005, he won the award for "Best News Story" of the year from the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation. In 2008 Ottawa Life magazine named Paul one of Ottawa’s 50 Most Influential People.”
“With our roots in social media and Web 2.0 communications outreach and the overriding trend to B2B and B2C streaming video sites, we needed an experienced, video communications pro on our team,” said market2world President & CEO Nathan Rudyk, who founded the firm in 2005 after a 20-year career marketing innovation on a global basis. “I started working with Paul as a guest commentator on his show between 2002 and 2004. When he contacted me to discuss the “2.0” extension of his distinguished career, it didn’t take us long to agree that he should join market2world.
Advisors in Entrepreneurship
As a Venture Catalyst, Davender guides passion-driven entrepreneurs to develop the clarity, the confidence and the discipline to successfully execute on their ideas. He has an extensive technology background, initially as a military aerospace research and development engineer in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1980 to 1995, followed by a consulting business and participating as part of a fast-growth startup team in the late 1990s. He obtained his professional coaching credentials in 2000 and has been working with entrepreneurs of all types across Canada and overseas ever since.
Barry G. Bisson was appointed President of Shad Valley International in January, 2005. Shad Valley International is a non-profit organization that currently operates the flagship Shad Valley Program at ten Canadian universities. Shad Valley's mission is to provide a transformational experience that unleashes the entrepreneurial and innovative potential of exceptional youth. Since its inception the program has challenged Canada's highest-achieving youth to realize and deliver on their full potential by developing their leadership abilities, creativity, entrepreneurial passion and other skills that are essential for success in our global knowledge-based economy.
Barry has had a long history with Shad Valley. He was the first Director of the Shad Valley program at the University of New Brunswick in 1985 and 1986 and served again as Director from 1998-2004. He joined the Board of Directors of Shad Valley International in 2000.
Before joining Shad, Barry was a Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of New Brunswick from 1983-2004. He held the Dr. J. Herbert Smith/ACOA Chair in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship. This program was established in 1988 to address the need for business and entrepreneurship education for engineers and others with an interest and/or background in technology.
Barry joined the Faculty of Engineering at UNB in 1983 as a Professor of Civil Engineering and Coordinator of the UNB Transportation Group. He served in this capacity until July 1994 when he was appointed Chair of the Technology Management and Entrepreneurship (TME) Program. Barry was awarded the Dr. Alan P. Stuart Award for Excellence in Teaching at UNB in 2001 and a Distinguished Service Award from UNB in 2005.
Prior to joining UNB he worked for nine years in the federal public service for Transport Canada in various positions related to air transportation in Canada. He also has had considerable experience in the private sector since 1983 as a management consultant to numerous corporations and government agencies.
Barry was also an adjunct professor teaching a course in entrepreneurial finance in the Masters in Business Entrepreneurship and Technology Program (MBET) in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo from 2005-2009.
Barry holds BSc (1971) and MSc (1974) degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of New Brunswick and an MBA (1981) from Harvard University.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of Shad Valley International as well as the advisory board of IMPACT, a student entrepreneurship organization. In 2009 he was named a Fellow of Engineers Canada.
Sophia Leong is the Director of the Telfer Executive MBA Program, responsible for the Ottawa’s only face-to-face Executive MBA program, one that is global, practical and relevant in its curriculum design. Ms. Leong is a strategic and operational planning specialist on the areas of innovation, commercialization and capital investment. She assists companies in crafting and implementing their strategic direction by connecting focused goals and actions towards business successes. Most recently she served at the executive level with Industry Canada. She has extensive experience working at Nortel Networks in an executive role where she was instrumental in co-founding, managing and commercializing seed and start-up companies. Sophia has led a venture financing course for the past decade with a strong funding success rate. She is a recipient of numerous awards for outstanding contribution and had also contributed towards patented business processes on Mergers and Acquisition during her time at Nortel Networks and Nortel Technology. She is currently Chair/Board Member of several start-ups and is an Associate with Bisson Varona and Associates Incubator Company Inc. Sophia has a passion for development of human talent, tranformation of human talent and growth of innovative and profitable Canadian companies.
Carol Stewart is the Executive Director of the David Johnston Research & Technology Park and the President of the Association of University Research Parks in Canada.
Tonya Surman is a social entrepreneur, community animator and network choreographer with a passion for bringing life to world-changing projects. Tonya is the founding executive director of the Centre for Social Innovation, which catalyzes and inspires social innovation in Toronto and around the world. CSI creates community workspaces, incubates emerging enterprises, and develops new models and methods with world-changing potential.
Tonya is a Global Ashoka Fellow—the highest recognition in social entrepreneurship—for her innovative work building models of collaboration. The Canadian New Media Awards recognized her as a “Leader in Social Change” in 2010. In 2009, CSI was awarded the “City Innovation” award by the Canadian Urban Institute.
Tonya’s work fundamentally embodies collaboration, entrepreneurship and systems change. The Centre for Social Innovation is the first of its kind in the world—a pioneer in the co-working movement, a driver behind the move toward social enterprise and, most recently, an innovator in the creation of a citizen-based Community Bond. Created to purchase a 2nd location for CSI to serve Toronto’s vibrant social innovation community, the Community Bond is a practical social finance tool for nonprofits and charities.
Tonya co-chairs the Ontario Nonprofit Network, is a founding trustee in the Awesome Foundation Toronto, and has been active within the Ontario Social Economy Roundtable and the Social Enterprise Council of Canada. Tonya was instrumental in the replication of the Enterprising Nonprofits Program in Toronto and the roll out of TechSoup Canada, among other initiatives.
Previous to CSI, Tonya was the founding Partnership Director of the Canadian Partnership for Children's Health and Environment, whose work, in part, led to a new legislative framework to manage chemicals and the banning of BPA in baby bottles.
Tonya has been creating and leading social ventures since 1987, and has built her body of knowledge around multi-sectoral collaboration and entrepreneurship for social change.
In her spare time she is building an urban farm on her roof, and hosts outdoor movie nights and street parties with her husband and two boys in High Park.
Shahab Khan has completed a tremendous amount of work in the innovation and entrepreneurship arenas through CANARIE, Newbridge Networks, Bell Canada and at Innovapost as well as been a key driver of Bell Canada's Innovation Centre program which involved many partners (including Terry Matthew’s and his Wesley Clover group of companies). He has also consulted academic, public and private venture capital firms for proposal analysis and prospective investment opportunities. In the past year, he co-authored with members of his LinkedIN group "Addressing Canada's Innovation Gap" a response to Federal Review Panel on how to support business-oriented R&D and hosted a webinar to review CATA's 2011 Study of Effective Commercialization of Innovations.
He has fully leveraged social media to further his goal of helping to support and drive innovation efforts nationally through collaboration. This includes the launch of his LinkedIN group with well over 600 members in every province across Canada, his Canadian Innovation Twitter listing, the publishing of CDN Innovation & Entrepreneurship on-line daily news through Paper.li and supporting peer communities like The C100 and the Startup Canada Campaign.
Yona Shtern is the co-founder and CEO of Beyond the Rack – named the fastest growing E-tailer in North America for 2011 by Internet Retailer Magazine. Launched in 2009, BTR has grown exponentially with 8 million consumer members, 5,000 brand partners, 400 employees and annual sales in excess of $150 Million.
Prior to co-founding Beyond the Rack, Yona was Chief Marketing Officer of Ice.com (online jeweler), and CMO of Microcell Telecommunications where he launched the Fido wireless brand in Canada. He was also Vice President of Direct and Database Marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Director of Direct Marketing at Avon Products. He began his career with a BA in English Literature from McGill University.
Yona has been an entrepreneur for over 10 years and is a frequent speaker and panelist at international marketing and technology conferences. He has received numerous awards for his advertising, product launch, and marketing strategies.
Forward-thinking, Nicole is a pioneering spirit in the environmental sustainability movement. She epitomizes imagination, energy and passion. Nicole took a risk and created a recycling business when the industry was in its infancy and built it into a cutting-edge company that sets standards for others in its field. Nicole is excited to help our customers become more sustainable. Nicole clearly has the instinct of an entrepreneur. She’s very focused and has an understanding of her key customers. She’s created a family-run business on the simple core values of treating our customers as her number one priority. Nicole also enjoys living recycling, teaching it and promoting it.
Rivers Corbett is an award winning entrepreneur, ceo and speaker. Rivers completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Mount Allison University in 1985 and an MBA from the University of New Brunswick in 1989.
He is the founder/CEO of Corbett Ventures, which has interests in The Chef Group, Relish Gourmet Burgers and Portero Mobile. Throughout his career, he has received several business honors, including the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneur of the Year” award and the Saint John Board of Trade Entrepreneurial Achievement Award. He has also been recognized on Profit magazine’s Canada’s Hottest Start-ups list as well as Canada’s Top 100 Growth Companies.
Recently, he has received the Certificate of Achievement from the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Business as well as UNB's Alumni Award of Distinction. Rivers is also committed to helping other entrepreneurs; he has published a book entitled “13 Fears of Entrepreneurs”, established the Entrepreneurs Summit, coaches aspiring young entrepreneurs and most recently is a featured entrepreneur in the #1 best seller "That"ll Never Work" He has taught business courses at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton as well as St Mary’s University in Halifax.
He has served as a member of the UNB Faculty of Business Administration Advisory Board, as well as Director of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, President of the Oromocto Chamber of Commerce and is presently a member of Startup Canada's National Advisory Council. Rivers lives in Fredericton, NB with his wife Monique and his three children Ashley, and twins Jamie and Hailey.
A seasoned executive with more than 15 years experience in leading change, generating results and marketing products and services, Laura O'Blenis specializes in the transition and growth of knowledge-based businesses, and associations. An MBA candidate with the University of New Brunswick, Laura is the Chair of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) CanWIT Atlantic Chapter, is a Past President of the Fredricton Chamber of Commerce, Past President of the Fredricton Executive Association, Founding Director of the Association of University Research Parks Canada, and most recently the General Manager of Knowledge Park in Fredricton, NB.
With experience in industries from media to real estate to science and technology and not-for-profit, Laura has the knowledge and skills required to adapt to changing environments and to deliver on business projects that range in scale from regional to provincial to national.
Driven by a passion for an economy that supports emerging enterprises, Laura established Stiletto Consulting to help new and existing businesses. A project management consulting services firm, Stiletto Consulting works with local, regional and national clients to develop business solutions and strategies that result in viable and sustainable business models.
Laura works with the Association of University Research Parks Canada to advance the national science and technology movement.
David Watters worked for 30 years in the federal government as a senior executive and was the Assistant Deputy Minister in Finance Canada for Economic Development and Corporate Finance, where he helped to shape the economic and innovation investments in five federal Budgets.
David then established the Global Advantage Consulting Group Inc. (Ottawa) and is the President of this strategic management consulting firm that provides advice to corporate, association, university and government clients in Canada, creating new business models for strategy development, stakeholder network management, and enhanced decision making, particularly in the areas of new technology investments, innovation/commercialization, trade, and energy/climate change projects, programs and policy.
David holds an Economics degree from Queen’s University as well as a Law degree in corporate, commercial and tax law from Queen’s Law School. He is an adjunct Professor at the University of Ottawa Management School teaching International Negotiation.
David Levi is the president, chief executive officer and director of Matrix Asset Management Inc. He is also president, CEO and director of GrowthWorks Capital Ltd., including the Matrix Funds Management operating division and GrowthWorks WV Management Ltd., and is a director of GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund Ltd and SEAMARK Asset Management Ltd.
In his 25 years of investment management and securities experience, Mr. Levi has demonstrated leadership in both innovation and growth. While serving as Chair of Vancity Credit Union, he created the original Ethical Growth Fund. In 1992, he launched BC's first retail venture capital fund (RVC), the Working Opportunity Fund, now western Canada's largest RVC. In 1998, Mr. Levi founded GrowthWorks Ltd. and began a series of expansions, including acquisition of GrowthWorks Canadian Fund in 2002, introduction of GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund Ltd. in 2005, and acquisition of ENSIS Management Inc. in 2007 and SEAMARK Asset Management Ltd.
Under Mr. Levi's leadership, GrowthWorks quickly grew into one of Canada's leading venture capital fund managers. In 2010, Matrix Asset Management Inc. was formed as a result of a business combination between GrowthWorks Ltd. and SEAMARK Asset Management Ltd. Matrix manages approximately $2.7 billion in assets and provides a diverse array of investment choices to Canadian investors and institutions.
Mr. Levi continues to provide strategic direction to many portfolio companies and currently serves on the board of Avcorp Industries. He is the chair of Verité, an independent, non-profit social auditing and research organization, and a past director of the Canadian Venture Capital Association. Mr. Levi also shares his time and expertise with a number of community organizations.
Luke Clare has been actively working with Ottawa entrepreneurs for the past 15 years. Presently the Business Development Manager for the Gowlings Ottawa office, Luke is responsible for the maintenance and expansion of the Firm’s client relationships, as well as furthering business development in the Ottawa area.
Prior to joining Gowlings in 2008, Luke spent over 10 years in the Financial Services Industry where he worked with a leading Canadian Bank structuring and advising on some of the largest high tech finance deals in Ottawa. Luke works closely with many Ottawa companies, including start-ups in a variety of industries.
Luke is the founder of a leading financial services Company in Ottawa and in 2011, was named one of the top 40 under 40 in the Ottawa Business Community by the Ottawa Business Journal.