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.
Product Development 101 with Jason Sparrow – February 9, 2021
In the tech startup space, it’s easy to overload products with every gadget and feature you can think of. Jason Sparrow, CEO of BarrelWise, thinks we should involve customers in the design process and be aware of not over-complicating our products.
Jason is the CEO of BarrelWise Technologies Ltd., which has developed the world’s first comprehensive system for wine barrel management that delivers process efficiency, quality control, and barrel-by-barrel quality insights to wineries. Jason holds an MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the University of British Columbia as well as a BA in History and Economics from the University of Victoria.
He was also recently recognized as an Entrepreneurial Changemaker as part of the Inniskillin Changemaker Initiative, in partnership with Startup Canada.
“One thing that has helped us a lot is getting constant feedback from potential users. Get your customers involved in the design process right from the get-go.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Jason discusses involving your customers in product design, the do’s and don’ts of product development, and going out of your way to delight early adopters.
Recently Aired Episodes
Utilizing the Right Tech with Michal Pisarek – February 2, 2021
Powerful technology is only as good as its application – faults in execution and implementation can often lead to over digitalized workspaces and overly complicated operations. So how do we utilize tech to empower customers and our ventures? Just ask Michal Pisarek, CEO of Orchestry!
Six-time Microsoft SharePoint MVP, former Co-Founder of Dynamic Owl Consulting and of BONZAI Intranet, Michal Pisarek is a serial entrepreneur, international speaker, Microsoft 365 thought leader and former professional chef bringing his great depth of product, leadership and user experience expertise to Orchestry. His team empowers organizations by creating custom solutions that help organizations effortlessly unlock the power of Microsoft 365.
“Too many entrepreneurs fall in love with the technology they are trying to use but they aren’t in love with the idea of working with customers or with the problem they are trying to solve. Your mission and vision are critically important.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and powered by Microsoft Canada, Michal discusses executing ideas, the importance of relationship building, and utilizing the right tech.
The Future of Work with Jason Brommet – January 26, 2021
Week to week, the business landscape in Canada changes drastically – often making it difficult for entrepreneurs to plan for the future. Jason Brommet, Head of Modern Work for Microsoft Canada, chats about tech as a critical investment for entrepreneurs as they plan for the future of work.
As Head of Modern Work for Microsoft Canada, Jason leads the team responsible for enabling organizations to amplify the ingenuity of their people with secure, collaborative platforms and tools that accelerate growth and success. Within the Microsoft 365 portfolio, he oversees productivity platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, as well as security and compliance tools. The Microsoft 365 team works with and across Microsoft’s sales and delivery teams, and their market-leading ecosystem of partners.
“Find the moments to adopt tech as a platform for innovation and resiliency. Invest in tech to enable your most valuable asset – your people.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and powered by Microsoft Canada, Jason discusses Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, empowerment through technology, and things entrepreneurs should be doing to prepare for the future needs of their workplace.
Building Great Teams with Bruce Croxon – January 19, 2021
It’s no secret that a great team can be the difference between a company’s success and failure. Bruce Croxon, Partner at Round13 Capital, values a few specific traits on his team – curiosity and open mindedness.
Bruce Croxon made his mark as a digital pioneer by co-founding Lavalife and revolutionizing how people connect. Under his direction, he grew this early tech start-up into the marquee brand in online dating with over two million users. Partner, chairman and CEO, Croxon helped lead the company’s growth from four to 600 employees, while achieving revenue of just under $100 million.
Since the sale of Lavalife, Bruce has been active as both an investor and advisor in growth-stage companies in the technology sector. As an ex Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, he added a broad range of businesses and products to his portfolio that tapped into his passion for digital media, health, and marketing. Croxon currently helms Round13, a company dedicated to investment in growth-stage Canadian tech companies. He also co-hosts The Disruptors on BNN and CTV, a weekly show spotlighting Canadian business and believes our entrepreneurs can hold their own with anyone in the world.
“Great teams can make incredible companies out of so-so ideas. On the other hand, bad teams can ruin great ideas.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Bruce discusses investing in your most valuable asset – your team.
Understanding Circular Design with Lindsay Lorusso – January 12, 2021
Sustainability is a buzz word in the entrepreneurship community – but what is true sustainability and how do we achieve circularity within our ventures? Just ask Lindsay Lorusso, Co-Founder and CEO of Nudnik!
Lindsay is a circular economy nerd 🤓 After spending 15+ years innovating in the waste management space she launched her own business, along with her twin sister (also a waste management alum), to tackle a growing global waste problem through their clothing brand, Nudnik.
Nudnik transforms the softest 100% organic cotton off-cut fabrics and end-of-roll threads & trims that would otherwise pollute the planet into unisex, contemporary basics for kids with monthly rotating themes.
Nudnik has successfully completed programs at the Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation, Next Canada’s Next Founders program and EY’s Velocity. Nudnik was selected for Desjardins Good Spark Program, a finalist for the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program and as a leading Changemaker in the Changemaker Initiative with Startup Canada and Inniskillin Estate Winery.
“I believe that sustainability will be the biggest pillar of business going forward. So whatever you do, do it through a sustainable lens.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard, Lindsay discusses the circular economy, the global problem of textile waste, and running a business with her twin sister.
Financing Your Idea with David Kosmayer and Simon Yep – January 5, 2021
Often one of the most daunting tasks an entrepreneur can face – how do you finance your startup? Simon Yep and David Kosmayer chat about the benefits of corporate partnerships vs. traditional venture capital investing when financing your big ideas, and how to navigate entering those partnerships.
Simon Yep, VP of Corporate Development and Partnerships at Moneris, oversees strategy, investments, M&A and partnerships. Simon has over 19 years of experience as a strategic advisor and business leader accountable for developing and executing organic and inorganic initiatives to drive P&L growth in fintech, payments, loyalty, retail and healthcare.
David Kosmayer is CEO and Founder of Bookmark.com, a Website Builder disrupting the future of web design with Artificial Intelligence. David created his first company at 22 just coming out of college. Marketing Extensions Inc., an online affiliate and marketing agency, was born from the basement of his parent’s home. This company grew under his leadership into a 55-person team, topping $60M in revenue in less than a decade.
“Like any relationship, a partnership is work. Have the difficult conversations and find the areas where you can and can’t compromise so you’re on the same page. Honesty and transparency are paramount.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian and powered by Moneris, Simon and David talk about the importance of entering funding partnerships that align with your values and goals, and why corporate partnerships are often a great way to do just that.
Enhancing Success: Adopting New Tech with Dominic Sévigny – December 29, 2020
Technology changes and trends shift every day. However, through hard work, persistence, and a focussed business model, entrepreneurs can equip themselves to adapt to these changes and use them as growth opportunities. Just ask Dominic Sévigny, Founder, President, and COO of SmartUse Solutions Inc.!
Dominic Sévigny has a double degree in electronic and software development. He started out as a programmer in 1998 and worked for the largest software firms in Quebec and France. In 2006, he founded his first business named RunAtServer, which specialized in Silverlight and Windows 8 app development. After selling it, he founded SmartUse in 2012 which became the industry leading construction cloud app for marking up and sharing construction blueprints and documents in real-time. After 8 years, the software is used by thousands of companies across Canada and the United States and it is also deployed on some of the largest Joint-Venture construction projects on the east coast of Canada like KPH-Turcot, Crosslinx Transit Canada, REM and Ottawa Stage 2 LRT.
“Make sure your business model actual works – a lot of people try to copy and paste their business models and it just doesn’t work.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian,, Dominic details first hand the challenges of transitioning to new technologies, but how his team also experienced the ways in which those new tools can enhance success.
For more information on Microsoft Surface, click here.
Knowing When to Say No with Selene Vakharia – December 22, 2020
As entrepreneurs, we’re often taught to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. Selene Vakharia shares why she thinks there’s a key lesson in learning how to say no – and how to focus on projects that energize you!
SMRT WOMEN is an award-winning community for entrepreneurs. As a Business and Marketing Coach for more than 15 years, Selene has worked with organizations, businesses, and award-winning ad agencies across Canada. In 2014, she moved across the country to the beautiful city of Whitehorse, Yukon, where she started a marketing, design, and events agency.
After running the agency for a couple of years with clients all around the world, Selene realized that what she truly loved was using her marketing, and mindset superpowers to help women entrepreneurs rock THEIR businesses. And so SMRT WOMEN was born. It offers one-to-one coaching, business advising, and longer-form courses and accelerators for women looking to start or grow their businesses.
SMRT Women has gone on to produce two conferences, a sold-out female CEO speaker series, countless workshops and networking events, and two group-coaching programs.
“Really at the end of the day you want to be building a business that is aligned with you and that you want to be waking up to every day, that’s really in tune with what your version of success is.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Selene discusses the importance of community in your marketing, and how to be intentional in choosing communities and projects that fulfill you.
This episode was powered by Microsoft Canada – we thank them for their continued support of Startup Canada and Canada’s entrepreneurship community.
Fighting For Change with Jennifer Sloan – December 15, 2020
There isn’t much Jennifer Sloan hasn’t tried – from private to public sector, Jennifer has seen it all. She shares with us why diversity is key for strengthening your business, and encourages women entrepreneurs in particular to demand change and seek out resources to help level the playing field.
Jennifer Sloan has extensive experience across all aspects of government, media and public relations, and internal and external affairs. In addition to working for Target (Canada), and Vale (Inco) Ltd., she also worked with some of Canada’s leading government and political figures and represented Canada as the Head of Political/Economic Relations & Public Affairs at the Canadian Consulate in New York. As the vice president of public policy at Mastercard Canada, Jennifer leads the development and management of the company’s public affairs and government relations programs. She is a member of Mastercard Canada’s business leadership team.
Jennifer is also the vice-chair of the Board of the Canadian American Business Council (CABC) and the current and first independent chair of Music Canada’s Board of Directors. She previously served as the president of the University of Georgia’s Grady College Alumni Board and the Board of Trust, the president of the Canadian Club of Toronto, and was the chair-elect of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) Board of Directors.
“You’re not alone. Access to mentorship programs and connecting with like-minded owners are means of advancing women entrepreneurs…with access to resources we can help women bring a positive impact to their communities.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Jennifer discusses practical ways to tackle inequities and fight for structural change within the business world.
Shoot Your Shot: Navigating the Gig Economy with Nicole Smith – December 8, 2020
Building an engaged, happy global community in the gig economy isn’t easy, but it is possible – just ask Nicole Smith, Founder and CEO of Flytographer!
Nicole’s company Flytographer is a marketplace that connects travelers with hand-picked local photographers for fun vacation photoshoots.
In six years, Nicole has grown Flytographer into a multi-million dollar business that operates in 300 cities globally and has captured over two million memories. It was ranked as one of the fastest-growing startups in Canada by Canadian Business Magazine, called the “The Future of Travel Photography” by Conde Nast Traveler, which appeared on a Netflix show, The New York Times and Oprah.com.
Prior to Flytographer, Nicole spent 13 years in marketing at Microsoft. She is also a board member at The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs.
“We can all dream a lot bigger. I think we artificially ceiling ourselves but there is SO much opportunity out there.”
In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Nicole discusses being the first to market, bootstrapping from product to market fit, and gig economy entrepreneurship.