They say that nice guys finish last — and Canada, with its reputation for polite citizenry and its charming prime minister, is used to being overlooked. Sure, Canada may tower over the United States in physical size, but many countries of similar stature — G7 nations, for example — dismiss the Great White North as nothing more than America’s top hat. This is a mistake. Canada, with nine percent of the world’s forests, is a land of plenty. As well as an enviable array of natural resources, Canada also boasts incredible support for entrepreneurs, both homegrown and international. Many household names, such as Slack, Hootsuite and Shopify — which may be mistakenly considered as U.S. products — hail from north of the border. This proves Canada is capable of delivering on startup success.
At the latest HealthTO meetup, Optimity CEO Jane Wang shared tips and tricks for closing the toughest sales deals, even when your customer says “no.” Wang started her talk by sharing background on Optimity, which provides a digital platform for employee health and wellness. It uses customizable mobile apps and wearables to aggregate data, and retargets high-risk segments to reduce employee risks for heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
The burgeoning startup ecosystem in Canada is recently gaining a flurry of mainstream attention and more and more eyes seem to be on the country’s hospitable environment for entrepreneurs. In 2016, over $3 billion in Canadian venture capital deals were made, according to the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association. This momentum doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon, according to some industry players. Here are their takes on what’s fueling Canada’s startup industry.
As part of OBJ’s recent coverage of Small Business Week, reporter Adam Feibel asked local entrepreneurs what advice they had for others looking to take the leap and launch their own companies. Here is what The Better Software Company’s founder and CEO, Steve Cody, had to say.
Birket Foster’s data solutions firm in Chesterville, Ont., provides expertise to companies from around the globe, but he’d really like to do business with his own government, right here at home. On average, the federal government makes $23 billion a year in purchases, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada. That’s a lot of buying power, and it’s why so many small and medium-sized Canadian companies like Foster’s would like to add the government to their client lists — if only the process was simpler.
Fresh off the 2017 Bootstrap Awards, winners for best mobile application Chris Desjardins of Punchtime and Steve Borza of Bluink joined us for Techopia Live. We covered the difficult decisions entrepreneurs have to make when they’re self-financing, and imagined the future of UX and security on mobile.
When you are solving a “big” problem, or have developed a product which is trending — VR, AR or machine learning, to name a few — then creating a buzz around your company is easy. However, if you are part of the other 90 percent who are selling an “unsexy” product which solves “small but essential problems” for specific consumers, you will need to think outside the box about how to get people hot under the collar about what you have to offer.
As part of our print feature on Ottawa’s healthcare innovators, Techopia Live gathered a few of the researchers and entrepreneurs in the Capital for an in-depth discussion to cover the (clinical) trials, tribulations and opportunities of working in the field. Spartan Bioscience CEO Paul Lem, Cliniconex CEO Anthony Mar and Dr. John Bell, researcher with the Ottawa Hospital and co-founder of cancer-fighters Turnstone Biologics, joined hosted Carlo Lombard at the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards.
Suit pressed, teeth whitened, business cards printed, promotional mugs and pens packed. All set for the conference? Hmm, only if you are planning on traveling back in time to the 80s. For decades, industry conferences were regarded as a bit of a jaunt. A chance to hand out business cards, mingle with peers and indulge in complimentary wine and nibbles. But in the fast-paced tech industry, every second and dollar counts. And for startups with skeleton teams and limited resources, the only way to justify paying hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars for an event which keeps them out of the office for days, is straight-up ROI.