Startup Canada has assembled an all-star team of entrepreneurs, community leaders and entrepreneurship evangelists from across the country who, over the course of 2012, will fuel the conversation on the Startup Canada Blog by sharing their ideas and recommendations on how Canada can better support its entrepreneurs.

Michael Tippett picture
Founder and CEO,

A two time Emmy nominee and successful entrepreneur for almost two decades, Michael Tippett is recognized as an international expert on early stage business innovation and emerging media models. As a speaker, he has presented through out Europe, Asia and North America. In 2011 he served as the first Executive Director at GrowLab, an technology start up accelerator in Vancouver. He is currently the CEO at Ayoudo. He also donates his time to run Vancouver’s Startup Weekend.


In 1995, Michael founded The WebPool Syndicate, one of Canada’s first Internet companies. The company was sold and became part of of Telus. After the success of the WebPool venture, Michael worked in New York when he was recruited by to advise on acquisitions and marketing strategy prior to The Company going public. Theglobe became one of the most trafficked websites in the world (#20 according to Comscore). Michael then joined as one of the first employees, to run The Company’s marketing. Within 18 months The Company had been sold to where Michael became the General Manager.

In 2005, he co-founded NowPublic. The company has been named one of the top five most useful new sites on the web by The Guardian and Time magazine named it one of the Top 50 Websites for 2007. The Company was sold in 2009 to The Anschutz Corporation in Colorado.


Michael is a member of the University of British Columbia’s Continuing Studies Advisory Board as well as the School of Journalism Advisory Board and the UBC Digital Strategy Advisory Committee. He is also on the Professional Communication Program’s Advisory Committee at Capilano University and is a board member of CABINET, a Vancouver-based arts organization.

Michael is also involved in the visual arts. In 2004 he collaborated with Kate Armstrong to produce Grafik Dynamo, a net art piece that loads live images from blogs and news sources on the web into a live action comic strip. Grafik Dynamo was a commission ofTurbulence, made possible with funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The piece is now included in the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art — curated by Timothy Murray — in the Division of Rare and Special Collections at Cornell University.


Michael has appeared on television and in the press many times over the past two decades. He has been interviewed and written about by local, national and international media outlets including The New York Times, MSNBC, TIME Magazine, The Guardian, Business Week, ABC News, USA Today, PBS, Al Jazeera, The Associated Press, The Globe and Mail, CTV Television, Global Television, CBC Radio, The Vancouver Sun, The Financial Post, Paid Content, Gigaom, ReadWriteWeb and many others.


He graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Philosophy. He and Kate Armstrong were married in the middle of the Nevada desert next to Double Negative.

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President , Jupia Consultants Inc.

David is one of Atlantic Canada's leading economic development consultants. He has worked with over 50 local, provincial and national economic development agencies, industry associations and government departments in six Canadian provinces and two U.S. states. He has particular expertise in several disciplines including: demographic analysis, economic assets mapping, economic analysis, business investment attraction strategies, business retention & expansion and immigration attraction. He also works with private sector clients in industries such as: energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, health care and forestry.


David authors a daily online blog entia twice weekly economic development column in the New Brunswick Telegraph-­‐Journal . He is also a published author. David is a frequent commentator on radio and TV and guest lectures at several Atlantic Canadian universities. He is also a member of the NB2026 Roundtable. 

Jeff Roach
Founder, Sociallogical

Culture change excites me, within communities and businesses. From my time as the founder of six startups - successful and unsuccessful - in 4 Canadian cities and in a role for several years that made me privy to the business models and operations of countless technology companies, I have an inventory of options and possibilities to consider that I have learned is uncommon. 


I marry change leadership with social communication strategies to help people understand social business and apply it to growing their businesses and careers. Sociallogical was started in early 2011 to help client companies bake a social posture, as well as methods and tools, into their business operations. I also help them to change their models to take advantage of the significant shifts in our business and consumer cultures and our methods of reaching an audience.


I am the husband to an über-creative entrepreneur who also makes a living helping people online and off. And I'm the dad to two very bright and social kids.


I’m a proud New Brunswicker who loves my home city of Saint John, which I consider to be a startup; incredible potential, constant iteration, collaboration, and growth.


I love to start and grow things. And I love to connect people.

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Partner, The Working Group

Chris is a Partner at The Working Group, a leading Toronto-based web and mobile development agency and founding partner in PostageApp, Rocketr and 1Thing - all start-ups in their own right. Chris has more than 13 years of product management experience working for startups as well as large organizations, including Longview Solutions and Actuate Corporation. He spent more than five years in Silicon Valley and London, England, helping to build small growing companies. 


Chris completed his MBA at Kellogg and landed back in his hometown of Toronto, ON. In Toronto, Chris has become deeply involved in the tech and start-up community of the city. Helping to bring Startup Weekend to Canada, Chris acts as the organizer for Startup Weekend Toronto and is a co-organizer of Lean Coffee Toronto and #nerndlearn.

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CEO, Polar Mobile

Kunal understands the transformative potential that smartphones present in enabling the mobile lifestyle for consumers. He has been a market-leader in launching innovative mobile applications with major media publishers for millions of their consumers in the rapidly changing communications landscape. As CEO of Polar Mobile, a leading mobile content solutions enabler for large media companies, Kunal leads a fast-growing team in building a next generation mobile software platform so businesses can quickly and efficiently bring to market intuitive and engaging mobile products & services that grow audiences, open new revenue streams and extend brands to the mobile marketplace.

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Owner, Magic at FreshBooks

Saul Colt is the Head of Magic at SAUL! The Idea Integration Company. He was recently named as one of the iMEDIA 25: Internet Marketing Leaders & Innovators and has been called one of Canada’s best community builders/experiential marketers, even Chris Brogan once referred to Saul as “exactly who you want representing your company”. In a previous life Saul was the person who launched Zipcar into the Canadian marketplace, was a key person in the growth of and even knows what it is like to work for a large corporation from his time in a leadership role at Rogers Communications. Saul loves all people, especially women and is tired of people asking him to remove his shirt. On top of all that Saul is also a Professional Speaker and Consultant specializing in Social Media, Customer Service, Community Building and Word of Mouth Marketing, collects Air Force One sneakers, watch lots of Movies and likes to think he understand people…and just happens to be the Smartest Man in the World.

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CEO, Beyond the Rack

Yona Shtern is the co-founder and CEO of Beyond the Rack – named the fastest growing E-tailer in North America for 2011 by Internet Retailer Magazine. Launched in 2009, BTR has grown exponentially with 8 million consumer members, 5,000 brand partners, 400 employees and annual sales in excess of $150 Million.

Prior to co-founding Beyond the Rack, Yona was Chief Marketing Officer of (online jeweler), and CMO of Microcell Telecommunications where he launched the Fido wireless brand in Canada. He was also Vice President of Direct and Database Marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Director of Direct Marketing at Avon Products. He began his career with a BA in English Literature from McGill University.

Yona has been an entrepreneur for over 10 years and is a frequent speaker and panelist at international marketing and technology conferences. He has received numerous awards for his advertising, product launch, and marketing strategies.

Make Male picture
Founder, Paramagnus Developments Inc.

Mack is a software developer, entrepreneur, and social media guy. He is the Software Engineering Manager for Questionmark Computing, a leading provider of testing and assessment technologies, and is the Founder of Paramagnus Developments Inc., an Edmonton-based social software company currently focused on


Mack is particularly passionate about his hometown, Edmonton, AB, and does his best to expose everything it has to offer through his widely-read blog and other online activities. He co-founded the popular What the Truck?! series of events and has helped to organize dozens of other community events in Edmonton, including ChangeCamp, Eat Alberta, and MediaCamp. In 2009, Mack was named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Edmonton for his role in helping to build Edmonton’s online communities.


In 2010, Mack was named one of Alberta’s Next 10 Most Influential People by Alberta Venture. Mack is currently a member of Startup Edmonton’s Board of Directors, EEDC’s Downtown Vibrancy Task Force, EPCOR’s Community Essentials Council, the Edmonton Journal’s Community Advisory Board, the 104 Street Steering Committee, and numerous other boards and committees throughout Edmonton.

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High-Growth Entrepreneurship Expert

Shannon Wells is a 2010-2011 Action Canada Fellow and Chairperson of the Action Canada Task Force on High-Growth Entrepreneurship, a multi-sector team that spent 12 months conducting research and consultations with over 100 leading entrepreneurs, investors, academics, industry experts and policy makers to better understand the conditions necessary for the creation, growth, and survival of innovation-based companies. The Task Force’s final report, Fuelling Canada’s Economic Success: A National Strategy for High-Growth Entrepreneurship, released in 2011, has been rated a “Must Read” by the Globe and Mail, featured in MacLean’s, published in Canada’s leading public policy magazine, Policy Options, and presented to senior levels of government across Canada. Shannon has provided strategic policy and planning advice to the Parliament of Canada, the Privy Council Office, Finance Canada, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Institute for Research on Public Policy. Shannon holds a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Toronto and a BA (First Class Honours) from Dalhousie University.

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President , Challenge Factory

Lisa started her career as a technology and strategy consultant working with Fortune 500 companies.  She worked with financial service and manufacturing companies as part of Deloitte’s JD Edwards practice, was a Lead Strategist at Caught In The Web working with companies adopting online business models in 1999 and was the country lead for employee online solutions at Hewlett Packard in 2001. Lisa rose through the ranks of HP over a 9 year career ultimately managing the Technical Consulting practice. Working with this team of 120 consultants Lisa found common frustration and malaise related to career planning.  She saw enormous untapped potential for non traditional approaches to career change and intrapreneurship and decided to focus on her passion for employee engagement and career satisfaction.  Stepping away from corporate life in 2009, she created Challenge Factory Inc.


Today, Lisa is Canada’s “Legacy Career” thought leader offering practical programs and approached for Boomers to find their next career either inside their existing organizations or as entrepreneurs.


Challenge Factory offers experiential career transition programs for all demographics – from new graduates to its Legacy Careers clients in their 50s, 60s and beyond. It combines the latest demographic-based research with innovative career management practice and works with individuals and organizations. Sixty percent of Challenge Factory clients opt to start new businesses as opposed to pursuing posted positions. Challenge Factory and its clients have been profiled in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Brandon Sun, Toronto Sun, HR Reporter, Ottawa Sun, Herald Chronicle, 24Hrs and Canadian Press.


Lisa holds an MBA in Strategic Management from the Schulich School of Business, York University.  She currently sits on several not-for-profit boards and is an active community volunteer and public speaker. Lisa lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

Scott Annan picture
Founder, StartupPlays

Scott is a startup entrepreneur, mentor, blogger, and speaker. His passion lies in the social and technological implications of global collaboration. Scott's startups have appeared on TechCrunch, Venture Beat, This Week in Startups, The Globe and Mail magazine, TechVibes, the Washington Post, and several other popular blogs and publications. Scott blogs and frequently speaks about innovation at work, entrepreneurship and web startups, social engagement, collaboration, and community development.

Over the last six years, as founder of Mercury Grove, Scott has provided strategic consulting to senior executives at Tempur-Pedic, Proctor & Gamble, Western Southern, Applebee's, The Coleman Company and several smaller, innovative companies. In 2010, Scott was recognized as "Top 40 Under 40" and won a regional "Bootstrap Award" in Ottawa, ON, where he works and lives. In "past lives" Scott has won a global innovation award at Lexmark International, was President of the Student Union at the University of Ottawa, and was chosen to represent Canada in an international youth summit.


His current projects include,,,,, &

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Co-Founder, Startup Edmonton

As a co-founder of Startup Edmonton, Ken Bautista has been a creative entrepreneur in the tech space for over 10 years, founding and growing two award-winning interactive companies, Hotrocket Studios and Rocketfuel Games. Ken has been featured in a number of publications including the New York Times, and was recognized in Avenue Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40”, earned a Horizon Alumni Award from the University of Alberta, and was named one of “Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People” by Alberta Venture Magazine in 2011.


Under his leadership, Ken's companies have been recognized with several awards including: Grand Prize Winner at TECVenturePrize (Alberta), Best in Show at the Fusion Digital Media Venture Forum (Vancouver), Pitch It! Winner at KidScreen Summit (New York) and Most Promising Company at the Canadian New Media Awards (Toronto). He has personally earned awards including "Top 40 Under 40" (Avenue Magazine), a Horizon Alumni Award (University of Alberta), and "50 Most Influential People in Alberta" (Alberta Venture).


Ken has been invited to jury and speak at international events including the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum in Hong Kong, Banff World Television Festival and Canadian Arts Summit. He has been involved in committees including artsScene Edmonton, TEDxEdmonton, Alberta Film Advisory Council, Digital Alberta, and currently sits on the board of The Citadel Theatre and the President's Think Tank at the University of Alberta.

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Entrepreneur, SmartPEI

Rob Paterson is an entrepreneur based on Prince Edward Island. In his early career he worked as an investment banker with Wood Gundy and then CIBC. He was responsible latterly for the challenging integration of Wood Gundy and CIBC where he learnt a lot about the importance of culture. His last position at CIBC was as SVP HR where he was responsible for Compensation and Benefits.


For the last 18 years Rob has advised organizations and entrepreneurs. Most of his work involves helping find the best context. This often takes into account the challenges created by shift from the Industrial Model to the Network Model. Contextual Projects include: providing Industry Canada with the contextual framework for its early work to support the web – The Connecting Canadians Project; or Veterans Affairs with a Context for Seniors and their care.


Much of his work involves helping the new network organization. He advised PEI on the creation of the PEI Bio Alliance – a network of entrepreneurs, scientists and Government. He advised UPEI on the creation of the Discovery Garden, a networked organization that offers packages of custom Open Source software to enable institutions to manage large collections of digital data. He was responsible for the engagement process that NPR used to make its shift into the networked social media age. He advised the leadership of KETC in St Louis, the local public TV station, as it transformed itself into the model for the new social aggregation role that is emerging for public TV.


His also is an active social entrepreneur where he uses network ideas to strengthen the new and vulnerable. He has been a long standing advisor for CHANCES Family Resource Centre on PEI which has become the national flagship for the application of the new science on the Early Years Development of Children. He is the co founder and is the Chair of the Queen Street Commons, a co working community on PEI, that is a local hub of the local entrepreneurial community.


He has three grand children and principally is motivated by their future and the future of all our kids.

Vinod Rajasekaran picture
Founder & ED, Hub Ottawa

A Global Shapers 2011 selected by the World Economic Forum, Vinod is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of Hub Ottawa.


Part of the global Hub network, Hub Ottawa is a place-based member community and co-working space that offers a unique mix of infrastructure, programming and connections to help people kick-start, co-create and grow enterprising ideas for a better world.


Members use the Hub to work, brainstorm, host meetings, kick-start community betterment projects, access peer and mentor support, participate in workshops and seminars that help them reach goals faster, and gain access to resources that amplify their social venture's impact. The Hub member community includes individuals and organizations creating change in: arts and culture, environmental sustainability, education, financial literacy, crowd funding, international development, ethical fashion and more.


Vinod has a long history of developing and co-curating programming for youth innovators and entrepreneurs, through programs such as 'Change Inc' youth social entrepreneurship workshops, Ottawa Community Challenge, Pan-Canadian Forums on how Cities Retain Young Talent, and Atlantic Canada's 2010 Ideas Festival. He is regularly consulted on social innovation, and has worked with the Public Policy Forum, OCRI, CYBF, McConnell Foundation, CISED, TakingITGlobal, Action Canada, among many other organizations.


Vinod’s background includes a B.Eng. in Aerospace Engineering from Carleton University and a M.Sc. in Public Policy from the University of Bristol in the UK.


Vinod works at the intersection of humanities and engineering, with a vision to help foster a culture of piloting, make philanthropy enterprising, mobilize entrepreneurial talent to solve pressing societal/environmental issues, and squeeze social impact out of innovative ideas.


His passion: social entrepreneurship + youth talent + connecting unlikely allies. But really, disrupting + problem-solving.

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Partner, Jet Cooper
Satish is the Co-Founder of Jet Cooper, a user experience agency that designs smart, capable and beautiful applications for web, mobile and tablet. With a leading team of thinkers, artists and coders, he's worked on over 30 products for startups, brands and non-profits in North America.
Satish is an active member of the technology, design and startup community. He is the Co-Organizer of Lean Coffee Toronto and previous Co-Chair of TEDxToronto. He tweets on lean startups, interesting reads, and good coffee. 
He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and previously worked with Microsoft Canada.
Dev Aujla picture
Founder, DreamNow & MakingGood

Dev is the founder of DreamNow, a charitable organization that works with young people to develop, fund and implement their social change projects. Dev works as a Director of Partnerships for and has worked for other leading companies that do good and pay well like GOOD Corps. His work and writing have been featured in numerous media outlets including the Globe and Mail, CBC Newsworld and the Huffington Post. Aujla divides his time between Toronto, ON and New York, NY. Most recently, Dev released his new book 'Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World'.