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, we speak 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. Tune in weekly 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.
Financial Literacy as Empowerment with Gurgeet Matharu & Aman Thind – May 4, 2021
Less than 35% of students leaving post secondary education in Canada feel confident enough to manage their own finances. Gurgeet Matharu and Aman Thind of Nava Ventures are on a mission to change that!
Gurjeet is an experienced Full Stack Engineer with a demonstrated history of working in the Financial Services and Defence industries. He is skilled in Kubernetes, Cloud, Python, Java and supporting the production of ML and scientific workflows and products. Gurjeet has a strong engineering professional with a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) focused in Systems Engineering from Simon Fraser University. Gurjeet also recently taught cybersecurity at BCIT. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his family dog, junior, or doing Ju-Jitsu.
Aman Thind is the Head of Sales and Marketing at Nava Ventures. Nava aims to build a gamified financial literacy and banking app for Canadian Credit Unions to provide to their members. Being a former student-athlete and honours graduate, Aman understands the level of dedication required to make something succeed. Soon after leading Club 16 in both monthly membership and personal training sales, he completed a Junior Analyst internship at Altus Group in the Research, Valuations, and Advisory department. In Aman’s spare time, he coaches children aged 6 to 18, in soccer, to be a positive influence on the community and pave the way for the next generation.
Nava Ventures was also the winner of Startup Canada’s ‘Startup Impact: Sustainable Development Goal Pitch Competition’ in the poverty reduction category.
“In a time like this, you can choose to quit and blame life on COVID or you can be someone who thrives when the rest of the world seems hopeless.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Aman and Gurgeet discuss value alignment, fundraising for startups, and their mission to empower millennials with financial literacy.
Recently Aired Episodes
Optimism: The Essential Resilience Tool with Warren Dietrich – April 27, 2021
Every entrepreneur faces challenges along their journey to success. Warren Dietrich, partner at Earthli Plant-Powered Superfoods Inc., believes approaching these barriers optimistically can make all the difference.
Warren Dietrich is the co-founder of Earthli Plant-Powered Superfoods Inc. and a Civil Engineering student at Memorial University of Newfoundland, graduating in 2021.
In April 2017, Warren was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. After a long 2-year battle with cancer, he successfully entered remission. Since remission, Warren has become a prominent volunteer and spokesperson for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Cancer is also what inspired Warren to co-found Earthli, a socially conscious, value-based Canadian company focused on plant-based superfoods and environmentally friendly practices that promote bodily health and overall wellness.
Warren was also the winner of Startup Canada’s 2020 Startup Impact pitch competition in the category of Climate Action.
“When starting your business, do it optimistically. Deciding how you’ll attack challenges is really going to be what makes or breaks your business.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Warren discusses current trends in the health food sector, sustainability, and the power of optimism – both in life and in business.
Strategic Planning: Playing the Odds with Warren Coughlin – April 20, 2021
In a world of so many uncertainties, one of the main reasons founder’s avoid strategic planning is because it seems like a waste of time. Warren Coughlin, business coach at JumpStart Coaching, believes if you learn to play the probabilities, you’ll have an edge up on competition when navigating adversity.
Warren helps principled entrepreneurs build a Business That Matters. That is one that delivers to you, the owner, attractive profits and a fulfilling lifestyle while also creating positive impacts on customers, team and the larger community. In other words, it is one that helps make the world – or just your corner of it – a better place.
This requires a combination of solid business skills and disciplines guided by deeply held values. He’s been helping entrepreneurs do this since 2002. They have experienced everything from 8 figure exits, to 7 figure salaries, from rapid expansion to minimized operational work because of the development of great leaders and high performance values-driven cultures.
Warren’s also a recovering lawyer, a serial entrepreneur, college professor, actor, theater director and Dad to a wonderful daughter who constantly challenges him to be a better person.
“A rookie poker player can beat a professional in any given hand, but the pro player is always going to win the game. Strategic business planning works like the discipline of the pro player.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Warren discusses finding the root problem, and the need for execution and accountability in strategic planning.
Navigating Clean Technology with Greg Kiessling – April 13, 2021
We often assume that because green energy costs more to produce, it’s less profitable for the seller in the long-run. Greg Kiessling, Board Chair of Canadians for Clean Prosperity & Inmotive Inc., believes we are just starting to see the real potential of cleantech, and that the possibilities will only increase as carbon prices adjust.
Greg Kiessling is founding chair of Canadians for Clean Prosperity, a not-for-profit advocating for carbon pricing. He is also an investor and board chair of Inmotive Inc., a Canadian start-up developing an innovative two-speed transmission for Electric Vehicles.
Greg was co-founder and board chair of Bullfrog Power from 2004 to 2018. Bullfrog Power is Canada’s leading green energy provider. He has also served in a variety of fundraising and board leadership roles for the ground-breaking Pathways to Education program.
Earlier in his career, Greg was co-founder, chairman and CEO of Sitraka, which was Canada’s largest self-financed software company when it was purchased in 2002.
Greg received his Bachelor of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo in 1984.
“Think about how you can be ahead of your competitors on reducing carbon – this will help the earth and you.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Greg discusses the current trends in the clean tech space, the importance of carbon reduction, and his career in the 90’s software scene.
Making It Work with Jess Chow and Sunny Fong – April 6, 2021
Entrepreneurship is infamously difficult – with hard decisions, stressful deals, and many nerve wracking unknowns around each corner. Sunny Fong and Jess Chow, Co-Founders of VIEREN, think the key to making it work is a healthy co-founder relationship, unwavering curiosity, and having a creative edge.
Jess Chow launched VIEREN as a love letter to her family, celebrating more than 40 years of luxury watchmaking. Growing up, she was immersed in watches and travelled often to watch factories around the world with her parents. She never thought she would get into the business back then. Instead, she focused her career on business strategy in Toronto. After a decade as a Management Consultant advising brands, she was ready to follow her passions for entrepreneurship and build a brand of her own. With time in focus, Jess saw an opportunity to create something special when she met Sunny.
Sunny Fong, Project Runway All Star & winner of Project Runway Canada, is driving the creative vision. His womenswear label, VAWK, has received International acclaim and has been seen on the red carpets of the Cannes International Film Festival, the People’s Choice Awards, and the Oscars. After nearly two decades in fashion, Sunny was inspired to venture into watch design after meeting Jess.
Sunny approaches designing for VIEREN like he would a runway collection – by focusing on structure, texture, and details. He had a vision, but translating his signature style from garments to gears was challenging, so he flew to Switzerland to work directly with the watchmaking team on our launch collection.
“I only know what I know, so as an entrepreneur it’s important to have a network that gives you actionable advice and makes you feel good – we are still just human after all.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Sunny and Jess discuss their co-founder relationship, the benefits of curiosity and creativity, and the launch of VIEREN.
The Power of Community with Ravina Anand – March 30, 2021
Community is incredibly powerful when building a company and when attempting to solve a pain point in someone’s life, just ask Ravina Anand, Co-Founder of FLIK!
Ravina Anand is a social-tech entrepreneur and the COO of FLIK, the first female-identifying apprenticeship portal. In a hyper globalized world, Ravina aims to advance women’s economic participation and help women from remote and underserved communities. With experience in municipal politics and community advocacy, she promotes diversity by encouraging people to fight injustices and challenge stereotypes.
On a global level, Ravina advocates for women and creates conversations around the trends and procurement for scaling social innovation situated in inclusivity, diversity, and equity. She has had the honour of speaking across North America to industry leaders, students, and creators about shattering expectations and breaking barriers.
“People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. As entrepreneurs, one of the most important things we can do is connect with our community.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Ravina discusses her journey in social impact entrepreneurship and the power of community.
Creating New Value with Debbie Motilewa – March 23, 2021
Creating new value for our customers and our communities is vital as we scale the impact of our businesses – enter Debbie Motilewa, Sustainable Business Leader at Afro-hub Market!
In the past nine years, Deborah Motilewa has helped several entrepreneurs across three different continents – North America, Africa and Europe create shared value – focusing simultaneously on the community and business profit (triple bottom line).
At 25, she was the youngest PhD graduate from Covenant University, Africa’s most prestigious University. In the startup world, Deborah is the sustainable business leader of two social enterprises: The VolunteerNG and Afro Hub Community – both focus on creating sustainable communities in line with a number of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The VolunteerNG has partnered with over 70 volunteers, mentored over 800 young adults, and is sponsoring 30 kids through elementary and high school.
In the research world, she writes peer-reviewed articles and makes contributions on corporate social responsibility, business sustainability and human capital development. Deborah has over 30 published articles and has contributed to academic books. She is also the author of “SMART Goals: Making habits work for you”, and is currently working on her second book on sustainable business management.
“Think value, always. Creating new value for our communities and people. People always remember businesses that make an impact.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Debbie discusses sustainable business management, the art of creating new value, and her work with Afro-hub Market.
Harnessing Fear with Keturah Osinde – March 16, 2021
Fear of criticism, judgement, and failure – fear is something founders are all too familiar with. Keturah Osinde, CEO of Fittedfast, thinks instead of avoiding fear, we should harness it.
When Keturah was a kid in high school, the last thing she thought she would want to take on was entrepreneurship and the world of creation. In fact, she wanted to be an orthodontist.
Fast forward a few years later and Keturah was applying for her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto — thankfully realizing that her passion was not with mitochondria or chlorophyll cells: but with justice, writing, creativity, and development of the city through technological means.
Keturah is currently a 4th-year student at the University of Toronto double majoring in Ethics, Society + Law, and Urban studies; minor Women’s Gender studies. Fittedfast was created out of her love for technology and the city. In the era of social distancing and COVID19, local business closures were becoming more common within the city of Toronto. When Keturah recognized these trends, she created Fittedfast to bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping with hopes of levelling the playing field for local businesses against giants like Amazon.
“We can choose to see fear as an opportunity – something we look straight in the eye and attack.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Keturah discusses the science of fear, navigating fear as an opportunity, and choosing to become “the person that makes it happen”.
Making the Most of Mentorship with Ashley Werhun – March 9, 2021
In 2021, 87% of millennials expect mentorship opportunities when starting at a new company. Ashley Werhun, CEO of Mentorly, is on a mission to make it more accessible.
Ashley Werhun is the CEO and Co-Founder of Mentorly.co.
Mentorly.co is a cloud-based mentorship solution for businesses, schools, and organizations looking to invest in their people and help them soar. Mentorly was first launched as a marketplace. Now called, Mentorly Marketplace, it is an open market place that connects expert mentors and mentees from around the world in the creative industries.
With a background in professional dance, Ashley has spent the last decade touring the world performing with Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Ballet BC and Trey McIntyre Project. Within her role at Trey McIntyre Project she also discovered a love for entrepreneurship, fundraising and team building, breaking the mold of how something was once done became addictive, in short: she caught the disruption bug. It was her experience being on long tours when she started to feel that mentorship could be done in a more effective way.
Ashley is dedicated to making the next generation’s path more clear and supported and to make sure that each individual knows that their gifts and ideas are valid and deserve a platform. It is important to her to continue to give back through masterclasses, talks and of course mentoring.
“We all need an umbrella – or parachute – of mentors. Having a diverse set of mentors from different industries, backgrounds, and geographies can really help founders make the best decisions for them.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Ashley discusses how she is scaling mentorship, mentorship as a confidence building tool, and Mentorly’s new partnership with Startup Canada!
Entrepreneurship as Healing with Dawn Iehstóseranon:nha Setford – March 2, 2021
Entrepreneurship is often seen as a great way to work flexible hours and forge your own future, but it can also be used to heal communities. Just ask Dawn Setford, founder and president of the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada!
Dawn Setford, she who keeps the feathers, is Mohawk Bear Clan whose familial territory is St. Regis/Akwesasne.
Dawn is the founder and president of the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada – home base for over 250 Indigenous artists. She is the facilitator for the Indigenous Women’s Arts Conference and IndigenARTSY.com – a multivendor Indigenous Arts Marketplace.
Dawn has dedicated herself full time to protecting endangered Indigenous art forms to empower Indigenous women and the next generations of traditional Indigenous artists.
She is the owner of Pass The Feather.ca. She is a Feather Keeper and artist; practicing and sharing traditional bird medicines. Her extensive knowledge and collection of feathers are showcased at passthefeather.ca. When she’s not sharing her feathers, Dawn is a graphic and web designer whose focus is on Indigenous business and organizational branding and marketing.
“When Indigenous women are confident, they teach their children to be confident – and that is intergenerational healing.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Dawn discusses her work helping to create artistic identities for Indigenous women, the importance of women in community healing, and entrepreneurship as a marriage of money and happiness.