East Coast initiatives launched as entrepreneurs add regional voice to national forum on startup and small business priorities

HALIFAX, October 19,  2015 | Entrepreneurs, small business owners, economic development leaders and members of government from across the East Coast kick-started four entrepreneur-led initiatives and voiced five policy-based priorities for the federal government at Startup Canada’s East Coast #EveryEntrepreneur Tour stop Oct. 13-14.

The national, non-profit organization is travelling the country to provide new opportunities to thousands of Canadian entrepreneurs as they start and grow their companies and to provide a platform for entrepreneurs to voice priorities and calls-to-action to better the environment for entrepreneur-run businesses.

“The entrepreneurship movement in Canada, particularly on the East Coast, is thriving,” said Victoria Lennox, CEO and co-founder of Startup Canada. “To maintain this growth momentum, every entrepreneur has a role to play as local champions of entrepreneurship, and as storytellers and change-makers amidst those that represent their interests, including policy makers, members of government and support organizations.”

During roundtable discussions, delegates identified local gaps in talent growth and retention, funding, and education. To address these issues, the delegates developed, pitched, and signed on to collaborate on the following initiatives:

  • An East Coast startup film festival will showcase entrepreneurs to fuel a culture of entrepreneurship, spotlight local role models and celebrate entrepreneurship across the region.
  • An East Coast community loan fund will provide funding to entrepreneurs based on business validation and not credit checks or past company performance. It will leverage existing local and regional support partners to surround entrepreneurs with a supportive community to grow.
  • An East Coast entrepreneur champion network, a collective of individuals committed to championing and opening doors for entrepreneurs.
  • Ongoing efforts to encourage entrepreneurial education and grow entrepreneurial competencies across Atlantic Canada.

“We’re small. We’re agile. We are startup-sized provinces,” said David Alston, Chief Innovation Officer of the Fredericton-based company Introhive on the importance of entrepreneurial leadership in the East Coast. “That means there is one degree of separation between us and every person we want to meet to get stuff done.”

Startup Canada is committed to supporting entrepreneurs in advancing these initiatives and is establishing a crowdfunding campaign to get the initiatives up and running. The campaign will be live at startupcan.ca/makeithappen later this week.

Delegates, panelists and keynote speakers also highlighted the following calls-to-action to the federal government elected on Oct. 19:

  • Update the Minister of State for Small Business portfolio to reflect the importance of all entrepreneurs on the economy by renaming the position the Minister of State for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses.
  • Support startups and small businesses in Canada by augmenting federal procurement efforts to buy more from Canadian small businesses and ensuring that requests for proposals include a 10 per cent small business provision.
  • Explore opportunities to leverage the federal Employment Insurance Program to grow the small business sector and encourage participation in the entrepreneur economy.
  • Grant Permanent Resident status to international students who complete their studies in Canada to enable them to work for startups and small businesses, or to start their own company in Canada.
  • Ensure low cost, high-speed, high quality wireless Internet access to all Canadians.

Members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly including the Honourable Lena Diab, Minister of Immigration, the Honourable Randy Delorey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, and Iain Rankin, Chair of the Liberal Caucus joined the discussion at a provincial level.

“Government needs to be involved in creating culture,” said Rankin, echoing an ongoing dialogue that policy makers at all levels need to be part of entrepreneur-driven, community-based solutions to removing business barriers.

Startup Canada will progress the policy conversation as it travels across the country and will share the findings with its national network of entrepreneurs, support organizations, private industry and government in the coming months. The findings will be used to establish next steps in support programming and advocacy initiatives.

Startup Canada’s #EveryEntrepreneur Tour programming is proudly presented by Intuit Canada, UPS Canada and PayPal Canada. Programming is also supported by TruShield Insurance, CIRA, Porter Airlines, Rebel.com, Versature, Via Rail, the Government of Canada and Concierge Service. For more information, visit StartupTour.ca.

Press Contact:

Kathryn Forrest

Communications and Marketing Manager, Startup Canada

1-844-782-7801 x106


About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is a grassroots network of entrepreneurs working together to build an environment for entrepreneurship in Canada. Through online platforms, grassroots Startup Communities and cross-sector initiatives, Startup Canada is advancing entrepreneurial momentum and a culture of entrepreneurship, as the voice of Canadian entrepreneurs. Learn more at startupcan.ca.

Kathryn Forrest
Kathryn Forrest

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