Startup Canada is Canada’s leading entrepreneurship organization supporting the success of entrepreneurs across Canada. The organization’s goal is to connect entrepreneurs to the support they need to start and scale companies to build communities and to grow the economy. Startup Canada was launched in 2012. Since then, it has grown tremendously through the vibrant network of Grassroots Startup Communities and through its popular and trending digital events such as the Startup Canada Podcast and #StartupChats.
Grassroots Startup Communities are entrepreneur-led networks where entrepreneurs help one another start and scale ambitious companies. Community events are scheduled regularly to connect local entrepreneurs with mentors, investors, and service providers who can provide expert business tips and assistance. Besides that, Startup Canada also organizes the Startup Canada Awards. The awards are created not only to celebrate the outstanding achievements made in Canadian entrepreneurship, but also to celebrate the diversity of Canada’s entrepreneurs who are women, indigenous people, and the disabled.
Startup Canada gives voice to Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs through its policy and advocacy efforts. Entrepreneurs and government leaders convene together from time to time to discuss business policies at the Startup Canada Day on the Hill event. By joining Startup Canada, entrepreneurs tap into a national network offering them countless global opportunities. They gain access to inspiration Kama training, get exposure, and make their voices heard by decision-makers in Ottawa.
About the Trailblazer
Victoria Lennox, the Co-founder of Startup Canada, is a serial entrepreneur who founded several successful nonprofits in Canada and in the United Kingdom. Witnessing the growth of the global startup movement, Victoria saw Canada’s opportunity to play a leading role in fostering the expansion of local entrepreneurship. Hence, in 2012, Victoria helped launch Startup Canada—Canada’s most prominent initiative for entrepreneurship.
Victoria has always been passionate about the effects of entrepreneurs on the economy. She enjoys developing creative solutions that advance overall sustainability and humanity. As such, she was inspired to create Startup Canada because she saw how entrepreneurship could empower individuals to be their best selves and create something that could foster opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities. She is inspired every day by the cumulative and exponential impact of entrepreneurs in building Canada.
“Canada’s entrepreneurial landscape is on fire. Through building a national narrative of inclusivity and diversity, we are seeing more and more entrepreneurs from different backgrounds take the spotlight,” asserts Victoria. From indigenous entrepreneurs like Heather Abbey—a Canadian Cree entrepreneur who shone in Chicago at the Canadian Technology Accelerator to newcomer entrepreneurs like Tareq Hadhad—a Syrian refugee who set up Charlottetown Company called Peace by Chocolate, Canada is fostering entrepreneurship in its own way.
The country’s entrepreneurship community is also excelling in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Manufacturing, Ocean Technology, Agritech, and Clean Technology. These industries have had historical records of achievement and entrepreneurs are progressively scaling important companies that are now creating significant opportunities for Canada. Victoria opines, “Canada understands the need to invest in the skills and the economy of the future while ensuring that the rising tide does, in fact, lift all ships. This is where Startup Canada plays a crucial role in establishing the narrative and the environment for this growth to take place.”
Solely for Canada
Startup Canada is unique in the sense that it is a national organization that represents Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs. It also produces cutting-edge weekly digital programs catered specifically for Canada’s entrepreneurship community and actively supports local entrepreneurs through Grassroots Startup Communities. Because of its size and participation, Startup Canada convenes powerhouse constituency of nation builders to gain a competitive advantage for small businesses by working alongside the government leaders. As the startup of startups, the company originated as a volunteer-run movement. The evolution of Startup Canada’s first chapter is one of true inspiration.
Through Startup Canada, entrepreneurs have gained immense profile and have been able to build a community around their companies. The organization made a difference on proposed tax changes by the federal government, championing the development of super-clusters and greater investment in marginalized entrepreneurs. In addition to that, Startup Canada expanded its reach to some of the smallest communities in Canada, ensuring that every entrepreneur gets the full support from their community with national ties. It has further built relationships with big industry players such as Amazon Web Service, Rogers, and UPS Canada, which helped increase industry investment into Canada’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Overcoming the Roadblocks
Technology is evolving at a faster rate than ever before. Entrepreneurs and big companies alike are grappling with challenges related to technology adoption to improve their productivity and competitiveness. Yet, entrepreneurs today are much more nimble and flexible at adapting to technology, so much so that they can compete alongside the big players. Entrepreneurial and digital skills are imperative for the future economy across all industries.
Startup Canada Day on the Hill is approaching on October 18, 2018, at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa. Entrepreneurs and business leaders across Canada can register to contribute to policy hack-a-thons and hearings with government leaders to advocate for improvements in government support for entrepreneurs. Attendees can expect inspiring keynotes, informative workshops, action-packed trade show, and pitch competitions. Entrepreneurs can register now at StartupDay.ca.
In the future, Canadians will continue to see Startup Canada rising to be the primary voice of the entrepreneurship community. Check out the company website startupcan.ca to register for events, subscribe to the podcast, and tap into everything that Canada’s vibrant entrepreneurship community has to offer.