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.

Latest Episode

Social Media on a Budget with Nichole Howson – September 22, 2020

It’s not about being all over social media- it’s about using your social media consistently, intelligently and effectively. Nichole Howson, Owner of AIM Social Media Marketing, knows this best. 

As an experienced, award-winning social media strategist and consultant, Nicole’s work is focused on reducing her clients’ advertising spend while growing their brand awareness and increasing their sales leads. In only six years of business, Nichole has worked with clients globally, decreasing the cost of ad spend by 91% and increasing website traffic by 26% in as little as 30 days.

Nichole is the oldest of four, born and raised on a Canadian dairy and cash crop farm. She has since found the two great loves of her life: coffee and entrepreneurship (having started her first company at 16!) In her spare time, Nichole dedicates herself to mental health advocacy work.

“It’s really exciting to say, ‘Hey, I’m on platform,’ but the reality of it is that you might not have the time to commit to doing every social media platform. So picking one or two that you can be really good at is the best.”

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Nichole explains how business owners can capitalize on social media using engagement, entertainment, and education.

Recently Aired Episodes

Industry Disruption and Resilience with Danish Yusuf – September 15, 2020

In order to disrupt your industry, you will need more than luck. According to Danish Yusuf, CEO and co-founder of Zensurance, resilience and grit are the true keys to success in today’s entrepreneurial world. 

Danish Yusuf is the CEO and co-founder of, a Toronto-based technology startup focused on commercial insurance product and distribution. Danish is a former leader in McKinsey & Company’s Digital Insurance practice, supporting insurance clients globally in defining their digital strategy. Prior to McKinsey, Danish was a software architect and developer at IBM Canada. Danish earned a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from the University of Toronto and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

“I am a true believer in the roles grit and resilience play in the success of an entrepreneur. Luck matters, but grit allows you to be around long enough for you to find luck.” 

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Danish discusses the challenges and opportunities of industry disruption and how to foster resilience within your start-up. 

Building a Team Culture with Rob Catalano – September 8, 2020

Fostering a team culture based on motivation and positive feedback is the best way to increase engagement. Employee engagement is vital to improving overall company performance, just ask Rob Catalano!  

Rob Catalano is the Chief Engagement Officer at WorkTango. Rob started off studying Marketing at Ryerson University, and worked at a Marketing agency with a few employees until it got to over 100. He soon realized all the concepts studied in school about Marketing, such as theories of motivation and why people buy products, plus all the analytics and data that are available about customers – none of that marketing magic was as interesting as when you apply it to the workplace!

Rob spent 11 years at Achievers, a Canadian startup dedicated to finding new ways to help companies engage and and energize their employees. After Achievers was sold to California-based Blackhawk Networks, Rob still had passion for improving the workplace. So he moved back to Canada and co-founded WorkTango, a platform that helps make it easier for companies to hear the voice of their employees and build better employee experiences.

“Business is an infinite game – you will always face new challenges and competition. If you focus solely on dollars and cents, you lose. You win when you find a purpose and share it with your team.”   

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Rob discusses the impact transparency can have on employee engagement and the importance of finding an empowering team culture.

Financial Fitness for Entrepreneurs with Tracey Bissett – September 1, 2020

Like physical fitness, financial fitness is key to a healthy well-balanced business– just ask Tracey Bissett, Host of the Young Money Podcast and Founder of Bissett Financial Fitness. 

Tracey is on a mission to redefine the economic future of the world by addressing financial literacy of young adults and entrepreneurs. She does this through her weekly podcast, Young Money – the advice show for millionaires in the making, teaching and delivery of financial courses, coaching and consulting. A native of Nova Scotia, she holds a BCOMM, MBA and is a CFA Charterholder. She LOVES her golden retriever Rosie, roller coasters and music, especially live concerts!

“Whether you’re an individual or entrepreneur, think about what steps you can take today to learn a little bit more. We don’t need to learn everything, but we can certainly increase our knowledge”

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Tracey gives advice to entrepreneurs on where to find support for your financial fitness and how to make sure you’re always learning.

The Art of Pitching with Kevin Smith – August 25th 2020

There’s  nothing as powerful as a pitch that tells a story, and Chief Story Architect, Kevin Smith will be the first to tell you!

Kevin is a Story Architect.  In his career in sales, marketing, entrepreneurship, and politics, Kevin has done over 10,000 pitches. As the Chief Story Architect for, Kevin helps start-ups, small businesses, and social enterprises unleash their story to secure customers and investors, by helping them understand what their core customer story is and then helping them get their story to market.

Kevin is also an educational workshop facilitator at MaRS, a volunteer advisor at the RIC Center, HumberLaunch, and UTM i-CUBE, as well as a frequent speaker at Small Business Enterprise Centers.  He previously worked at Dell for 14+ years in enterprise sales and marketing. Author of the upcoming book “The Pitch Lab”.

“Anybody can pitch- but the idea is, how do we make that pitch persuasive and effective?”

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Kevin explains how entrepreneurs can capture the attention of the right people, and leave a lasting impression. 

Empowering Canadian Entrepreneurs with Portia Asli – August 18th 2020

It’s never been more important to tell your story, just ask Portia Asli, Founder and CEO of Px Venture Services Inc.

Portia is a global thought leader, serial entrepreneur and engineer who’s built international businesses in wearable tech, online education and influencer marketing. Having been deeply immersed in the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Europe, Asia and North America, Portia is passionate about increasing the success rates of startups.

She is currently the Founder and CEO of Px Venture Services, which helps startups of all kinds scale new lines of revenue. Px has advised and consulted over 200 companies on capital, customer acquisition and the founders’ mindset. Institutions, incubators and accelerators seek Px Venture Services for a results-oriented entrepreneurial curriculum to help their portfolio companies grow.

“My goal is to empower entrepreneurs and community members of startup Canada to prioritize building a customer-centric business.”

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Portia discusses the importance of social entrepreneurship in shaping tomorrow’s world.

Making Money While Doing Good with Jim Estill – August 11th 2020

A successful entrepreneur knows two things, says Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Appliance and ShipperBee,-  how to make money while doing good, and how to profit from failure.

Jim is a Canadian technology entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist. He started his first computer distribution business from the trunk of his car while in university and grew that business to $2 Billion in sales.

Jim has invested in, mentored and advised many technology companies including Blackberry, and he is the 2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Ontario winner.

“If you’re not failing, you’re not skating close enough to the edge.”

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Jim discusses the best way to fail, and why creating social and environmental impact will make you money. 

A Manager’s Co-Pilot with Aydin Mirzaee – August 4th 2020

Combine one hour-long meeting with a helping of unpreparedness, and just a dash of disorganization and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Enter Aydin Mirzaee, CEO of

Fellow helps managers and their teams have better meetings, exchange feedback, and more.

Prior to Fellow, Aydin co-founded ottawa-based Fluidware in 2008, which led to the creation of two successful SaaS businesses: & Fluidware was bootstrapped and grew to a $10M+ run-rate and over 90 people in staff. In 2014, Fluidware was acquired by SurveyMonkey (the world’s leading online survey company).

Aydin is also the co-founder of, a non-profit organization with the vision to foster a community of top entrepreneurs in the nation’s capital.

“For anyone who’s starting up it’s important to be focused and have a target. To understand your audience and what they’re looking for.”

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Aydin discusses the importance of making meetings work for you and your staff, and how to find the perfect manager’s co-pilot.

Hiring Top Talent with Jamie Hoobanoff – July 28th 2020

It takes quite a bit of time and effort to help aspiring startup entrepreneurs with their businesses. Just ask Jamie Hoobanoff, Founder of The Leadership Agency, who is one of the best at what she does!

Jamie is an industry disruptor with over 15 years of experience working with the fastest-growing startups, including Vena Solutions, StackAdapt, Reonomy, SkipTheDishes, Justworks, TouchBistro, and TripActions – just to name a few. She has interviewed over 10,000 top-tier candidates and has placed an estimated 3,000 people in the North American market. She is a trailblazer within the HR and recruitment space and continues to contribute her expertise to notable publications such as, CBC, The Globe and Mail, Inc. Magazine, and 

Jamie’s mission is to help build the most impressive companies of our generation, and The Leadership Agency helps startups find and hire best-in-class talent. As HRD Canada’s Best Service Provider of 2019, The Leadership Agency has truly become the one-stop-shop for startup recruitment. Working exclusively with startups, The Leadership Agency reaches all lines of business, including C-level, sales, leadership, tech, finance, marketing, and more. 

“The number one piece of advice I give to anyone is not to think that it’s easy for anyone else. We’re all in this together.”

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Jamie discusses the importance of finding and keeping great talent for your startup.

The Art of Fusion with Charles Khabouth – July 21st 2020

It’s important to know what your audience wants, but it’s more important to know what they don’t want, and more important still to give them what they didn’t even know they wanted. Enter Charles Khabouth, CEO of INK Entertainment.

Charles has been an entrepreneur, visionary and fashion icon in the country’s entertainment and hospitality  scene since the early 1980’s with Toronto’s groundbreaking Club Z and legendary nightclub Stilife. His risky out of the box ideas and determined point of view have set the foundation and fueled a thriving hospitality industry in North America.

Named by EY as Ontario’s 2018 Entrepreneur Of The Year in the entertainment and hospitality category,  Charles  has made a career of elegantly fusing art and commerce. This has led him to expand his professional activities to include restaurateur and hotelier. Pushing the envelope whenever he can, Charles has the keen intuition of giving the public what it wants even before they know it themselves. 

“For anyone who’s starting up it’s important to be focused and have a target. To understand your audience and what they’re looking for.”

In this week’s episode of the #StartupCanadaPodcast, sponsored by Mastercard and Ceridian, Charles discusses the importance of the art of fusing art and entertainment across industries, and how to stay one step ahead of your audience.

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