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.
“How can we build a billion dollar company and have it be safe and de-risked?” This is a key question for Stephen Partridge when building a new business. Partridge is a serial entrepreneur, board member of Startup Canada, and Head of Strategic Assets at Events.com. To Partridge, the Silicon Valley approach isn’t perfect. While innovation and disruption are needed to build a scalable ‘unicorn’, there is value in de-risking a venture. This is where Partridge turns to Ottawa’s revenue-generating model. A venture that brings in revenue is de-risked and provides room to maneuver when funding is scarce. He believes Canada has everything entrepreneurs need to find the balance between de-risk and disruption in order to build a billion dollar global company. In this episode of Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett interviews Partridge about building a global venture, the support needed to be successful, and why Canada is the perfect place to start up.
“We believe Vancouver is a place that offers an exciting environment for growth-oriented companies.” – Sean Elbe, Vancouver Economic Commission. According to Elbe, the Vancouver Olympics inspired the city’s entrepreneurship community to think on a more global scale. Now Vancouver is a leader in areas like fintech, quantum computing and green technology. In this episode of Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett talks to Elbe about support for growth-oriented startups in Vancouver and the city’s amazing success stories.
Fun Fact: Although 70 per cent of purchases are researched online first, 90-95 per cent of transactions are completed in a brick and mortar store. It’s this relationship between online-offline commerce that created an opportunity for Gary Ziegler, CEO of eThor. eThor is a mobile app that bridges the gap between merchants and mobile. In this episode of Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett talks with Ziegler about opportunities in fintech, building a high growth company, the importance of focus and why Canada is a great place to hire tech talent.
“Work hard and learn how to deal with your failures, because you’re going to have a lot of them.” – Gerry Pond, Co-Founder of East Valley Ventures and winner of Startup Canada’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement award. According to Pond, a successful entrepreneur is determined to stick with their business until the revenue stream starts flowing. And when is it time to accept failure? “It’s like baseball,” he says. “Three pivots and you’re out.” In this episode of Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett interviews Gerry Pond on micro entrepreneurship, starting up in Atlantic Canada and bouncing back from failure.
“When we look at great entrepreneurs, they have that natural, burning curiosity and they have that sense of excitement around learning.” – Sarah Prevette, Founder of Future Design School. Sarah Prevette has been promoting and encouraging Canadian entrepreneurship throughout her entire career. Among her many ventures, she is best known for founding Sprouter, an online community for entrepreneurs, and BetaKit, a Canadian media site specializing in emerging technology and global innovation. She’s now shifting focus to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs through design education and real world experiments at Future Design School. Prevette has learned a lot from her first two exits. Namely, the key to success is simplicity, flexibility and a focus on the customer. She believes building a great product comes from “the customer discovery piece around building products for your user and putting empathy at the centre of your design process.” In this episode of Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett talks with Prevette about building a successful company, knowing when to exit, and creating a program to develop critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills in students.
“I’m constantly blown away by how much innovation and talent there is here with such a small population.” – Ron Taylor, CEO, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI). Ron Taylor is a Toronto native who decided to move to St. John’s, Newfoundland in 2002. Today, as CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI), he has seen technology act as an equalizer, creating new opportunities for more of Atlantic Canada’s young population to work and live in their home community. Over the years, NATI has established itself as a leading player in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship in St. John’s and across the province. What is casino the key to growing a tech company in Newfoundland? Exporting, says Taylor. “If you’re not exporting it, you’re not going to get that exponential growth,” he says. In this Startup Podcast, host Rivers Corbett talks to Taylor about the role of tech industries in fueling growth in Atlantic Canada, why startup communities are particularly important in rural locations, and why entrepreneurs should consider exporting early in their ventures.
“If you’re passionate about what you do and you work hard, something is going to come out of it.” – Linda Manziaris, Founder of Body Bijou; Winner of Startup Canada’s 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Linda Manziaris started Body Bijou when she was 13 because she saw it as a way to help others. Not only is Body Bijou successfully selling uniquely designed jewelry, it is also creating impact. Manziaris donates 50% of her company’s profits to help young girls in developing countries receive an education. According to 15-year-old Manziaris, the three most important secrets for success are: have grit, always say yes, and never take ‘no’ for an answer. Today on Startup Canada Podcast with Rivers Corbett, Manziaris discusses the appeal of entrepreneurship for young people, creating a social enterprise and what it takes to grow a company while in school.
“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.