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.
Startups often struggle to tell their story. Who are they? What is their purpose? How are they changing the way people interact with the world? Entrepreneurs Paul Whitney and Liz Connell don’t have this problem. They share their story of how they turned honey into empowerment every chance they get. “We’re not just helping people or the planet,” says Paul. “It’s a completely fulfilled circle of sustainability and it’s remarkable how simple it is. It’s still a purchase transaction and a sale but what it results in is so many things for so many people. It’s a great story that continues to evolve and we love telling it!” Paul Whitney is the Managing Director at African Bronze Honey, a for-profit social enterprise dedicated to marketing organic African honey and honey products from 6000 artisanal beekeepers in the remote areas around the headwaters of the Zambezi River. Paul has traveled extensively and created successful businesses in Canada, Africa and the Caribbean. Elizabeth Connell is the Director at African Bronze Honey. Elizabeth’s professional background is in Communications and Design. Liz has worked in Canada, Africa and the Caribbean on projects for government and the public sector, the arts, education and heritage sectors, interpretive centres and museums, and the voluntary sector. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks with Liz and Paul about starting up, social innovation, and empowering African beekeepers with honey.
Rob Villeneuve’s DNA reveals a tech-geek, a branding guru, and a startup culture maven. When joining Rebel.com six years ago, Rob was given the challenging task of revamping a company’s brand and culture. Through agility, and perseverance, Rob built Rebel.com into the notable domain brand of the future. “Culture and brand are really the reflection of each other. The culture is internal; that’s what you talk about to your employees and how they feel, act, and how they respond to problems. Your brand is external, which is how you project your culture to the world.” Rob’s expertise developed over 20 years of experience in software development, domains, and web solutions. Having worked for companies such as Gilmour Group, 76Design, and RaceDV, Rob is now the CEO of Rebel.com and Board Member of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA). His latest endeavor features him as the Startup Culture Ambassador with Startup Canada. Rob will spend a year working with Startup Canada as its key culture spokesperson, speaking at entrepreneurship events across Canada, and will work with Startup Canada in Ottawa to influence an entrepreneurial culture within government. In this week’s interview, #StartupPodcast host Rivers Corbett joins Rob to talk about the in’s and out’s of choosing and using domain names for startups and how to create an authentic corporate culture.
“Geotab wants to be the Apple of the telematics game”. When the U.S. Government un-blocked GPS from being used exclusively for defense in 1996, Neil Cawse saw an opportunity for the emergence of the Internet of Things. Having launched Geotab in 2000, today Neil Cawse has built one of the largest telematics companies in the world – a company that leads in big data and which serves some of the world’s largest companies, including a leading freight and logistics company, and Enterprise Rent-a-Car. As CEO, Neil leads the company’s growth and development, but his passion for engineering keeps him involved in the day-to-day engineering and design of Geotab systems. Prior to Geotab, Neil has been founding and running his own businesses since 1992. In 1998, he sold his software development company, which employed more than 100 engineers, to Datatec, an international ICT solutions and services group. Neil was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Ontario in 2015. In this episode of the #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett dives into what it really takes to scale from startup to a global company – from empowering entrepreneurial teams and focusing, to harnessing big data and building your company as an open platform for others to build upon.
“The biggest tension in growth is really these three questions: can we move faster, are we moving fast enough, are we moving too fast? You must ensure you have the right priorities; but, must also ensure your aspirational goals create a stretch but don’t break the team – it is your job to find the optimal speed for growth.” In this week’s #StartupPodcast, Jeff Cates, President of Intuit Canada offers prudent advice on building a culture of innovation, improving productivity, scaling to new markets, and effective leadership to growth effective teams. With over 18 years of experience in business development, marketing and sales, Jeff is an innovation champion leading Intuit’s strategic growth in Canada. Previously, Jeff led consumer and enterprise divisions for tech giants like Apple Canada and Hewlett Packard. Under Jeff’s leadership, Intuit has risen to become one of the best employers in Canada, topping the charts as a leading employer championing women, and has grown to encompass over 400 employees working to simplify financial and business life.
“Innovation is a full contact sport and research parks are the playing grounds. University Research Parks are places where like-minded organizations and people come together to create magical collisions that move innovation forward.” In this week’s Startup Canada Podcast, host Rivers Corbett speaks with Larry Shaw, the President of the Association of Research Parks (AURP) Canada and CEO of Ignite Fredericton and Research Park. Larry shares his insights on the Atlantic Startup Community, the booming Fredericton startup scene and shares practical insights on what it takes to build an effective entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.
Aman Mann, the founder and CEO of Procurify, a cloud-based procurement platform used by tech heavyweights like Hootsuite, shares his story of hitting the pavement in the Valley to raise financing, building a remarkable team, leading from behind and his take on the state of Vancouver’s startup community. “Do not go where the path may lead. Instead, look inward, where this is no path and leave a trail.” This talented CEO has been noticed by Forbes, Techcrunch, Fast Company and Venturebeat. His startup graduated from GrowLabs, in 2013 and moved from public beta to commercialization. In this week’s Startup Canada Podcast, host Rivers Corbett chats with Aman about the success behind Procurify, and about the strategic steps he has taken to get where he is now. We hear what it’s like to startup a cloud-based B2B in Canada’s West coast and about some of the biggest lessons Aman learned on entrepreneurship while training at GrowLabs.
“At the grassroots level, there is a need to tie entrepreneurs into local networks and then to tie further into national network to learn best practices from other startup communities. Learning the lessons from across Canada accelerated our own learnings in York Region and provides a bigger, national context to the local activities within startup communities.” Lucas Chang, serial entrepreneur and Leader of Startup York Region, is working to foster the York Region startup community and advancing opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Lucas introduces listeners to the York Region startup community and offers tangible tips for building startup communities from the ground up to help local entrepreneurs reach their full potential. On this week’s podcast, we will talk about building a startup community a stone’s throw away from a major urban centre – AKA the GTA – and fostering youth entrepreneurship.
Serial entrepreneur Linzi Boyd wants to make a difference in the world. “My personal passion was to shift the world into a new era through the eyes of brands.” Linzi Boyd wears many hats – she is a Brand Guru, International Speaker, Author, and Global Partner at Shirlaws Group. Linzi has also founded three startups, including a fashion footwear brand and a marketing & communications agency. Prior to her current roles, Linzi was a TV presenter and show host for the BBC. Linzi is also the creator of Bob School, an educational course that teaches early-stage businesses how to build a famous brand and get them ready for funding. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks with Linzi about building personal brands and a brand for your business. Linzi shares her top tips for marketing your small business, and talks about the evolution of her entrepreneurship. Lastly, she’ll share her advice for entrepreneurs who want to become Brand Famous.
“We need to recognize that it is still early days for entrepreneurship in universities and allow the diversity of entrepreneurship on campus to blossom.” Dr. Rob Annan is the Chief Research Officer for Mitacs, a university-based organization that supports research initiatives in Canada, particularly through graduate student internships. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett speaks with Rob about his experience recruiting more than 1,000 international students to Canada, the role of universities in helping entrepreneurs, transformations in the higher education sector to better meet market demands and the rise of entrepreneurial campuses.
Yukon Brewing craft beer has cemented its place as a local favourite up North. But expanding the brand into other Canadian provinces hasn’t been easy without that hometown advantage, says Bob Baxter, Co-founder and President of Yukon Brewing. “We can’t outspend the big guys. We can’t even outspend the little guys who are right down the road. But we can outwork them.” The company has set out to do just that by introducing a batch of Two Brewers Yukon Single Malt Whisky this year and bringing their beer to global markets as far as Japan and Germany – all while working to support the local startup community in Whitehorse. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, Bob tells us about the pros and cons of operating a company in the Yukon, how local liquor laws have impacted the business and his ultimate vision for entrepreneurship in Canada’s Great North.