Startup Canada Announces New Board Members

Brenda Beckedorf, Carleen Dephaney & Ali Taiyeb elected to Startup Canada’s Board of Directors

OTTAWA, ON – July 3, 2024. The Board of Directors and Executive team of Startup Canada welcome Brenda Beckedorf, Carleen Dephaney, and Ali Taiyeb as newly elected members of Startup Canada’s Board of Directors. Each serving a two-year term, Brenda, Carleen, and Ali have a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship and bring their expertise and passion for Canadian small businesses to the Startup Canada Board. 

“I am thrilled to welcome Brenda, Carleen, and Ali to Startup Canada’s board of directors. Their individual perspectives and experiences in Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem will help Startup Canada in achieving its goals for the next two years,” shares Jamie Savage, Startup Canada Board Chair and Interim-CEO. “Working together, we’re steering Startup Canada and lifting each other to achieve our mission of connecting Canada’s entrepreneurs with the tools, community, and support they need to start and build their businesses!” 

Meet our new board members


Brenda Beckedorf is an accomplished ecosystem builder, visionary leader, and strategic thinker with a wealth of experience in fostering and advancing a diverse spectrum of technology enterprises. As the CEO and co-founder of Society Five.0, Brenda envisions celebrating innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment in technology while proactively addressing the challenges faced by tech and innovation companies. Also serving as a Director of The Calgary Innovation Coalition (CIC), Brenda plays an instrumental role within this consortium of organizations in the Calgary region dedicated to championing innovation-driven entrepreneurs, startups, and enterprises. Brenda Beckedorf’s dedication and expertise have left an indelible mark on the technology and innovation landscape, making her a true catalyst for progress in her field! 

“Throughout my career, I have observed the silos that exist in cities and provinces. I recognize the importance of breaking down these barriers to help build new customer bases and uncover opportunities. By fostering a collaborative environment, we can ensure our companies receive the support they need to grow and thrive within Canada.” 


Carleen Dehaney, CPA, CMA, CGMA, ACMA(UK), is the Founder & Principal of FXO Consulting, a firm specializing in profit and sustainability strategies for service businesses and nonprofits. With over 20 years of experience in business finance and operations, Carleen has held C-suite roles in both for-profit and non-profit sectors, working in Canada and the UK. She is an Entrepreneur in Residence at York University’s YSpace and a Career Mentor for JA Central Ontario. A sought-after speaker for finance professionals and entrepreneurs, Carleen serves on the VP advisory committee of the Black Female Accountants Network and has previously served on the boards of CIMA Canada and the Toronto Kiwanis Boys & Girls Clubs. Carleen is also a children’s book author, with her book “Animal Toothbrush Hunt” published in 2024.

“I am excited to join the Startup Canada board because it offers a unique opportunity to directly impact the Canadian entrepreneurial landscape, leveraging my extensive experience to support and empower fellow entrepreneurs. Having benefited from the power of community, I look forward to fostering collaboration and growth for entrepreneurs across Canada.”


Ali Taiyeb is the Director of Partnerships & Ecosystem at the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI), a globally renowned research institute dedicated to leveraging AI’s transformative potential for societal benefit. In this role, Ali spearheads partnerships with leading enterprise institutions, guiding their AI adoption and commercialization strategies to drive innovation and economic growth. Previously, Ali was the Head of Strategic Partnerships at The DMZ at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), one of the world’s top startup technology incubators. His expertise in partnership development and passion for innovation make him a sought-after speaker at conferences and forums advocating for Canadian innovation!

“I am excited to join the Startup Canada Board of Directors, eager to leverage my expertise in AI and strategic partnerships to drive innovation and support the growth of Canadian startups. With a strong commitment to fostering diverse and inclusive entrepreneurship, I look forward to contributing to Startup Canada’s mission and vision of empowering entrepreneurs nationwide.”

To learn more about the Startup Canada Board of Directors and how to get involved, visit Startup Canada: Meet the Team