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.
“It is hard to build a business, but 10 years later you’ll be walking down the street and somebody will ask ‘How did you became an overnight success?’” – Frank O’Dea, Co-Founder of Second Cup and serial entrepreneur. Second Cup wasn’t an overnight success. It took innovative ideas and years of testing to land on the gourmet coffee model that continues to grow to this day. By exploring a new idea, Frank O’Dea learned that people are willing to pay more for a good cup of coffee in the right environment. “It changed the relationship between the coffee and the customer. It was no longer about having a beverage. It was now about a treat.” O’Dea believes the Blue Ocean Strategy, which involves creating a new industry, is useful for any entrepreneur. He also believes that creating the right environment is integral for any company, including tech startups. In this episode of Startup Canada Podcast with Rivers Corbett, O’Dea talks about the Blue Ocean Strategy, the three things entrepreneurs need to succeed, and how the Canadian government can empower entrepreneurs.
“There’s a huge wealth of innovation and a wealth of startups and their stories need to get out.” – Karen Greve Young, VP of Partnerships at MaRS Discovery District. MaRS Discovery District is not only a place for Canadian startups to grow, but is also where innovative multi-nationals such as Airbnb and Etsy have built their Canadian home. Like all good startups, Toronto’s main innovation hub has grown significantly and made significant pivots along the way. According to Karen Greve Young, VP of Partnerships at MaRS, Canada is at a pivotal moment where it needs to optimize success stories and make innovation a priority. “I don’t know if it was Canadian modesty, but we have not done a good job of commercializing or capturing the value for Canada. We’ve kinda given it away,” she says. In this episode of Startup Podcasts with Rivers Corbett, Karen Greve Young talks about why Toronto is a great place for innovation and how MaRS is putting Canadian innovation on the map.
“In order to finance these failures, you need money.” – Honourable Rafael Barak, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada. Did you know that in Israel, almost 4 per cent of GDP goes towards innovative developments? Israel is a leading hub for startups and innovation. Tel Aviv was ranked the fifth best startup ecosystem according to Compass. It was the only city outside the United States to break the top five. According to the Honourable Rafael Barak, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, failure is part of the innovation process. In this episode of the Startup Canada Podcast with host Rivers Corbett, Barak explains the secret sauce behind Israel’s innovative culture and how the Israeli government is actively exploring new ways to collaborate with startup ecosystems in countries like Canada.
“Entrepreneurship is about perseverance and not giving up. It’s important to continue to push that boulder up that hill and not be phased by distractions.” – Ronen Benin, Founder & CEO of RightBlue Labs Inc. RightBlue Labs Inc. is a Toronto-based tech startup that is already working some of the leading national sports brands, including Hockey Canada. Recently, Benin and RightBlue Labs Inc. won the Start Tel Aviv competition and a trip to Israel to network with investors and professionals from one of the top startup ecosystems in the world. Benin’s advice for entrepreneurs that plan to enter major startup competitions? Be ready to on-board new clients. Winning comes with lots of opportunities, but entrepreneurs need to make sure that they are able to deliver. In this episode of the Startup Canada Podcast with host Rivers Corbett, Benin talks about his goals for visiting Tel Aviv, Toronto’s startup ecosystem and working with family.
“Out of the way entrepreneurs, seniorpreneurs are taking over.” – Wendy Mayhew Mayhew is an advocate for promoting seniorpreneurship in Canada. She is the producer of Real World Entrepreneur Training, author and the founder of Business Launch Solutions, an organization that helps startups tackle business fundamentals. Did you know: オンライン カジノ Gordon Bowker founded Starbucks at age 51. Ferdinand Porsche founded the Porsche car company at age 55. Estée Lauder started her namesake cosmetics company at age 54. Mayhew believes that in order for more seniors to have the confidence to pursue entrepreneurship, they need a community of entrepreneurs their own age. In this edition of the Startup Canada Podcast with Rivers Corbett, Mayhew discusses the state of Seniorpreneurship in Canada and how the startup community can make people over 50 feel welcome.
“We all have a lot to offer and we all have a lot to learn.” Noah Redler is in the trenches, growing the startup ecosystem in Montreal. He’s a Community Leader for Startup Montreal, Campus Director at the tech startup hub Notman House, and Co-founder of Publikit. To Redler, startups have a lot to gain by connecting with their local startup ecosystem. The growing ecosystem in Montreal has a creative energy that is breeding successful startups such as Busbud, Breather and Mixology. In this edition of the Startup Canada Podcast, host Rivers Corbett interviews Noah Redler about building an engaged startup community that serves and supports the interests of the people in that community. “It’s not trying to copy Silicon Valley or New York…It’s taking the best practices they’ve created and doing it in our own special way.”
“Six years in we’re still pivoting.” – Yona Shtern, Founder and CEO of of Beyond the Rack. Although Beyond the Rack is now one of Canada’s most successful startups, it wasn’t clear from the beginning that the business would survive. After the lead in their first investment round backed out, Shtern thought the whole thing might crumble. He spent $3,000 of his dwindling budget to fly to Zurich to meet with an interested investor. It was a gamble that paid off big time. This is reflected in the wisdom he wants to impart on the next generation: “Persevere and don’t give up. If you see an opportunity…don’t leave anything on the bench.” In this episode of the Startup Canada Podcast with host Rivers Corbett, Shtern talks about proving concept, growing a business and maintaining a strong co-founder relationship.
“If everyone told you what they wanted, then everyone would have horses.” – Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company. Chris Johnson thinks Ford’s thoughts on innovating transportation applies just as easily to developing new technology today. To Johnson, it’s not about coming up with new ideas that the customer doesn’t know they want yet. It’s about reading between the lines of what customers say and delighting them in a way they didn’t expect. In this edition of the Startup Canada Podcast, host Rivers Corbett talks with Chris Johnson, CEO and co-founder at Permission Click and one of the founders of Startup Winnipeg. Johnson gets real about the challenges of being an entrepreneur and why it’s important to be connected to the startup ecosystem. What is his advice for entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem? Invest ahead of the curve. Investing time and energy to build the community will pay off in the long run.
“Dream big, think the impossible, love passionately, and give generously.” This is the mantra Marissa McTasney created for herself. When McTasney started Moxie Trades, she didn’t have the skills, knowledge, experience or even a mentor. All she had was an opportunity. She dove in head-first, quickly landing a big contract with Home Depot and made a deal with Brett Wilson from Dragons’ Den. Now Moxie Trades is a successful handy-women apparel line that can be found in large retail stores across North America. How was McTasney able to transform an opportunity into a business? She created her own definition of success. In this edition of the Startup Canada Podcast with host Rivers Corbett, Marissa McTasney explains how she found her moxie, grew a company and became a champion for women in entrepreneurship and trades.
“View the entrepreneur as the planter of the seed…The role of venture capital is the water and it is creating the fuel for growth.” John Ruffolo is very selective in picking which seeds to water. One of the most important questions he asks entrepreneurs is “How did you get to this idea?” He believes the best performing companies in his portfolio all started with an entrepreneur that had a passionate story. On this edition of the Startup Canada Podcast, Rivers Corbett interviews the man Bloomberg Business dubbed the “saviour to Canada’s startups” for offering direct investment when it was sparse following the last recession. John Ruffolo is the Chief Executive Officer of OMERS Ventures and the Executive Managing director of OMERS Strategic Investments. Hear why David Goldberg’s two and a half hour pitch for SurveyMonkey was among Ruffolo’s most memorable; how FOMO (or fear of missing out) is contributing to a tech bubble; and why Ruffolo thinks the government shouldn’t put taxpayer dollars towards private business.