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.
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.
The Canadian government is a living, breathing, resource-filled machine. In it, you find leaders like Shereen Benzvy Miller, a small business advocate working to directly impact the success of Canada’s diverse entrepreneur community. “I would encourage all kinds of entrepreneurs to ask if their supply chain is as diverse as it could be. Are they looking to women-owned companies? Are they looking to companies that are owned, run by, or employ people with disabilities? Are you looking to new Canadians who are eager to get started in their country? Are you leveraging and harnessing that talent? Are you doing it in a way that is truly Canadian?” Shereen is the Assistant Deputy Minister of Small Business, Tourism and Marketplace Services at Industry Canada. Previously, she worked as the Director General (DG) for the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises and Strategic Engagement a Public Works and Government Services Canada, as well as the DG of Rights Redress and Resolution for the Correctional Service of Canada. Notably, Shereen was recognized as one of the top 100 most powerful women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network and was recently named Champion of the Year 2016 by WeConnect International, a women’s supplier diversity accreditation organization. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks with Shereen about the federal government’s role in supporting entrepreneurs, the different roles of the public service and political offices, how entrepreneurs can work with both her vision for the future of entrepreneurship in Canada, and what she is doing today to make it happen.
After around 10 years of studying in Victoria, B.C. and working as a journalist in Toronto, Véronique Herry returned to her hometown of Whitehorse to “recharge a little bit” and “hang out”. Little did she know, her life was about to take a surprising turn into the world of innovation and entrepreneurship. “I went from wearing high heels on Bay Street to learning how to drywall in the space of weeks.” Brimming with creative ideas, Herry caught the entrepreneurial bug big time when she got involved in the local startup scene and later took on the role of community builder for Startup Whitehorse. Today, she is also the founder of (co)space, the newest co-working space north of 60. In this episode of Startup Canada Podcast, host Rivers Corbett chats with her about the challenges and opportunities that come with the small market size in the North, the role that government plays in supporting small businesses there and the importance of creating a community of entrepreneurs in Canada’s vast territories.
Whether it’s mountain biking in the rain, travelling to the far corners of the Earth, or revolutionizing the customer service industry, Anastasia Valentine is driven by adrenaline and a lust for life. Instead of backing down from fear, Anastasia stares it right in the eyes. “If it scares you, that might be the trigger that says ‘hey, give it a try, fail fast, and try something else.’” Anastasia is a technology and startup marketing guru and the Vice-President of Marketing at Versature. She also sits on the Board of Directors for HER VOLUTION, a Toronto-based non-profit that works to improve access to education and employment in STEM fields for girls and young women. Anastasia is also an author of two children’s books, the founder of a successful digital marketing agency, the founder of an indie record label, and has more than 20 years of experience working with entrepreneurs, startups, and Fortune companies with marketing and strategy. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, Anastasia and Rivers talk about the future of Canada’s telecoms industry, public speaking, and empowering girls in STEM to make the jump from entrepreneurship into intrapreneurship.
Margaret McEachern emphasizes the importance of keeping art programs in schools, youth entrepreneurship, and building Canada into a creative nation. “It’s really important to learn those [art and design] skills. In addition to that, add into a school curriculum, classes on establishing and running a business. We can’t, as a country, rely on big business to provide us our jobs. It doesn’t happen anymore.” Margaret McEachern is a crafty ‘artrepreneur’ who has been knitting and weaving luxurious merino wool sweaters and accessories from her retail store, Knit Pickers on Canada’s far East Coast. This passionate entrepreneur has also been commissioned by the Canadian Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Centre to design and knit a line of maple leaf sweaters and accessories and has served on numerous boards and committees, including the PEI Cultural Sector Council as Vice-Chair and on the Marketing Committee of the Central Coastal Tourism Partnership. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, Rivers and Margaret dive deep into the world of retail, as Margaret talks about starting up a brick-and-mortar location, the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship on Canada’s east coast, and finding and securing working partnerships that provide the necessary building blocks to expand an already successful business.
When it comes to celebrating our achievements and success, Canadians are known to be humble and modest. When winning the Top 40 Under 40 award after years of challenges and hard work, Jonathon Moody wanted to soak it in. “It’s really nice to be recognized.” Jonathon Moody is the President and COO of Versature, a cloud-based telecommunication company that offers Hosted PBX business communication solutions while disrupting Canada’s telecom industry. He got his start in the Canadian tech sector in the 1990’s, and he has since worked to help companies of all sizes implement tech-based business services in order to grow and increase productivity. Jonathon previously worked with companies such as Primus Telecommunications, TechSupport.ca, and the Ottawa Product Management Association. In this week’s #StartupPodcast, host Rivers Corbett talks with Jonathon Moody about Canada’s telecommunications industry: where it is, where it’s going, and what needs to be done to increase innovation within it.