The Startup Canada Podcast Show is a production of Startup Canada, a grassroots, entrepreneur-led movement to bring together, celebrate, and give a voice to Canada’s entrepreneurship community. On the podcast, award-winning entrepreneur host Rivers Corbett speaks with the movers and shakers of Canada’s entrepreneurship community to give a glimpse into the future of business, and share insights on everything from social innovation to the future of work, investing, and why we need to think bigger to take our businesses global. Join Rivers Corbett for new episodes every Tuesday airing at 10 AM ET for lessons, trends, and opportunities in entrepreneurship from Vancouver to Fredericton; and Israel to Peru.
Kylie Toh is an incendiary social entrepreneur igniting the Calgary tech, social entrepreneurship, and women-in-business community. Coming from a background of communications, Kylie was exposed to the energy of entrepreneurship. Since then, she’s transformed her career into one of giving back. “I’ve always come to it from a place of just absolute curiosity. I kind of stumbled upon this tech and startup scene in Calgary and fell in love with it.” Kylie is the Founder of Chic Geek, a Calgary-based non-profit building community for women at the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship. She was named Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine and has been profiled in Metro News as one of “Calgary’s Heroes.” She has also been recognized as a “Need to Know” in Alberta Venture. In 2016, Kylie represented Alberta in the prestigious International Visitors Leadership Program hosted by the US Department of State and was a voice for women in STEM on an international stage. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks to Kylie about being a voice for women in STEM and the challenges and opportunities that come with running a non-profit organization.
Entrepreneurs are always looking to improve to become the best they can be. This ideology often translates into their work, and into their business. Edwin Frondozo, Co-Founder and CMO of Slingshot VoIP, knows what it takes to be the best and incorporates this skill into his business, his hobbies, and his life. “Communication is the key to everything.” Edwin is a passionate supporter of entrepreneurship and SMEs and helps them grow and scale in the Cloud by enabling them with simple tools to communicate. An avid runner, Edwin has participated and finished in both the Toronto and New York City Marathons. He has his sights on the Chicago Marathon in 2017. When he is not running, he is working on mastering the handstand, hosting #StartupChats, or bonding with his new family addition, baby Jade. Today, we’re talking to Edwin about how to bootstrap a Cloud-based business and adapting to the changing environment of business communications. We’ll also learn how to balance daily parenting life by running.
Shyra Barberstock is the Founder, CEO, and President of Okwaho International Inc., a global Indigenous communications and consulting firm. She is also the co-founder of the Okwaho Network, a social network for Indigenous business. Stuck at a crossroads, Shyra and Co-Founder Rye Barberstock decided to fill the gap. “Let’s stop talking about it and actually do something… Why don’t we build an Indigenous social network for business?” Shyra is the Startup Community Lead for the newest Startup Community, Startup Kingston. Over three years ago, Shyra Founded Okwaho International Inc., one of the most influential advocates of Indigenous business in Canada and around the world. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks to Shyra about her successes and failures as a social entrepreneur, the connection between innovation and reconciliation, and she’ll share some top Indigenous business success stories we should all know about.
It isn’t every day you encounter a young entrepreneur with insight quite like Swarochish ‘Swish’ Goswami, a 19-year old serial entrepreneur and the 2016 winner of the Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Whether he’s fearlessly speaking to hundreds of people about his passions and experiences, writing for big-name publications, or managing his day-to-day, Swish is an inspiration for the leaders of today and tomorrow. “We’re the leaders of tomorrow, but you don’t need it to be tomorrow to lead.” Swish juggles his life as a sophomore at the University of Toronto studying Peace, Conflict, Justice Studies and Ethics, Society, and Law, with being a TEDx and United Nations speaker, Canada’s UN Youth Ambassador, a Youth editor at Linkedin, and an award winning entrepreneur who has started seven high-impact ventures. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks to Swish about what it takes to be a young social entrepreneur primed to become a Canadian legend.
Kelsey Ramsden is a born serial entrepreneur. With the success of her two multi-million dollar businesses in the construction industry, Kelsey knows what really makes someone rise to the top. “Relationships are the thing that have allowed me to grow and carry forward, spin off to other businesses, and get investors.” Kelsey is the founder of Belvedere Place Development and Tallus Ridge Development, as well as SparkPlay and kelseyramsden.com where she runs her signature program The Manifesto Sessions. She is an internationally recognized keynote speaker and Richard Branson Centre mentor. Kelsey contributes to the Huffington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine and has twice been named Canada’s #1 Female entrepreneur by PROFIT and Chatelaine. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, Rivers Corbett talks to Kelsey about her strategies for success in today’s business landscape.
Leading Canadian serial entrepreneur and VC Mark Skapinker has tough love for entrepreneurs looking to expand on their big idea. “If you’re going to succeed in this business, you need to dedicate 24 hours/day for the next 5 or 10 years of your life. You need to throw absolutely every piece of energy into it so you may as well take on a big idea, because it’s as hard to do a small idea as a big idea.” Mark Skapinker is a Managing Partner at Brightspark Ventures, a Canadian venture capital firm focusing on early-stage tech companies. He has been an entrepreneur and seed investor in the Canadian software industry since the inception of the personal computer in the 1980’s. Mark is on a mission to help grow the best early stage companies in Canada, and pivot the traditional VC model to open new opportunities for individual accredited investors. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks to Mark about new sources of capital and how to give back to the community.
When building a startup, most entrepreneurs can’t predict market trends eight years into the future. For Marc Kuo, mastering world-class delivery algorithms for almost a decade couldn’t have paid off at a better time. “The timing for this whole on-demand delivery ‘fad’ is lucky. I did not see that the industry would be here today.” Marc is the Founder and CEO of Routific, a route optimization solution for delivery businesses. Graduating cum laude with a masters degree in operations research from Erasmus University in the Netherlands, Marc is an expert on advanced route optimization algorithms. Marc’s experience in the field of logistics led him to realize the inefficiencies in delivery algorithms, spawning his idea to create a world-class software that was accepted into Techstars in 2015. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks to Marc about the story behind his leading company. You’ll learn why after growing up in the Netherlands and working internationally, Marc decided to start-up and make a home in Vancouver, Canada.
After building a career in the Canadian fashion industry, Bobbi Paidel traveled to India where she was confronted with overwhelming differences in east vs. west consumerism and culture. That’s why Bobbi started Tribe of Lambs, an ethical non-profit jewelry company aimed at providing a better life to children affected by HIV in India. “I felt such a sense of social responsibility to offer my blessings to these kids.” Bobbi has an extensive resume in the fashion industry. She’s worked as a stylist and co-founded FRISCHE, a global fashion, photography and art magazine. Bobbi combined her passion for fashion and social entrepreneurship to develop Tribe of Lambs, which gives all proceeds back to the organization. Not only has Bobbi and her Tribe impacted the lives of almost 600 HIV positive children, but they continue to work on ‘compassion projects’ in India. Together they fundraise to pay tuition for children to attend school and to improve infrastructure at local libraries to improve financial literacy. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks to Bobbi Paidel about how she’s starting a global movement around giving back together.
Serial entrepreneur Richard (Rick) Finnie started his first business at age 12, selling business cards. Only a few years later did Rick find his new passion, fixing computers. Waiting for no one, Rick carved his own path into entrepreneurship by doing. “I’ve always had the mantra of start now.” Rick is the Co-Founder of The Launch, an online community that supports the ongoing creation of digital platforms. In this interview, host Rivers Corbett and Rick Finnie talk about the lifelong pursuit of entrepreneurship, Rick’s advocacy work for entrepreneurship, and his ‘anti-American Dream.’
Alec Levin wants to create a world in which startups can test and research their products in a way that’s not only accessible and comprehensible, but builds community while doing so. Alec says “We’re trying to make talking to users and learning about what they want easier” Alec Levin is Co-Founder of Steadfast, a user research startup helping tech companies get feedback from their target market during product development. Before the Steadfast lightbulb turned on, Alec worked at Sciencescape (now Meta), an AI platform aimed at making scientific knowledge computable, inside the field of user research and testing. Over the past few years, he also acted as a Peer Mentor at the University of Toronto and gives back to the startup community as a Startup Canada partner, helping the organization to learn more about entrepreneurs within its community so that it can serve them better. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, Rivers talks to Alec about how he got to where he is today, user research, and beta-testing for startups.