As we shift from a resource-based economy to a market rooted in innovation, companies are increasingly looking to the startup ecosystem to remain competitive. It's no longer simply about trading on their cool factor; corporations want to gain a deep understanding of the culture of collaboration and partnership that drives startups' success.
Many people in corporate roles fantasize about breaking free and launching an entrepreneurial venture. Three years ago I took the plunge and did just that, leaving behind a senior role in management consulting to start a talent marketplace for freelance consultants. Unfortunately, my business model didn't gain traction, but the experience was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally speaking.
Approximately 140,000 new businesses are started every year in Canada, yet half of them don't make it to their fifth year. Small businesses are key drivers of economic growth in our country and we must equip entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need for long-term success in order to help transform Canada into the innovation hotbed we know it can be.
Being friendly doesn't mean sharing every secret or disregarding competition. After all -- you're both after customers in a crowded marketplace. Just realize that strategically aligning with the competition can make your business better. McDonald's needs Burger King; FedEx keeps UPS on its toes. Healthy business rivalries help stave off complacency and will make your company stronger in the long run.
Pre-seed, a relatively new stage in the funding process, is becoming more recognized in the Canadian startup ecosystem and in other startup hubs around the world. The trend is growing for a number of reasons, and Canada would benefit from more capital dedicated to pre-seed from truly value-added investors.
In the post-recession economy, markets are changing faster than the mighty corporations of old can keep up with. To combat the epidemic of nimble startups, corporations are advocating fresh thinking such as prototyping, failing fast and quick iterations based on customer feedback. But few, if any, corporations have been able to point to any concrete successes, no matter the size. Why is that?
Developing skills in engineering, software development, analytics, security, behavioural economics, psychology, sales or digital marketing was a great first step towards that fulfilling in-demand career. Understanding how to apply those skills to help transform industries increases your employability and makes you an attractive candidate for the best employers of today and tomorrow.
As a startup gains traction from initial prototype to credible sales, the founding team recognizes the critical need to bring onboard senior advisors and mentors to provide guidance as the startup enters the next phase of growth. While all startups require this guidance and mentorship, enterprise startups are the most in need.
Over the years, at Just For Laughs and Airborne Mobile, I've never been a major fan of focus groups for multiple reasons; most notably because the people gather to tell you exactly what they figure you want to hear. But in this group the men said things to try to appear smart. The women said smart things.
When I started my new job with Freelancer.com, I was researching where and who to reach out to in Canada and I quickly realized the force that is the Ottawa start up scene. Sure it's the capital and that should be an obvious choice however I found something truly unique. The startup community is very creative and keen plus they are very adept at getting the government to pay attention.
Coworking spaces are emerging as the new work environment of choice. Today, shared spaces around the world are bringing increased levels of happiness, productivity and collaboration to their members, and at a price far more affordable than the alternative. So here they are, five reasons to close the door on private offices.
While building a start-up based purely on an exit strategy is incompetent, not at least considering it is equally incompetent. As any start-up founder will confess, building a start-up because you are passionate about the topic or industry is best way to succeed. However, just letting go is the best option for both the start-up and its founders.
There are many acquisitions that have raised eyebrows or resulted in a general state of confusion among observers, both within and outside of the tech industry. Sometimes, acquisitions are made that don't seem to make any sense, at least not on the surface. Below are three such acquisitions made by tech companies this year and some educated speculation as to why they might have occurred.
I got involved with Startup Weekend four years ago because I firmly believe that entrepreneurship is the most powerful way to build a strong, sustainable, innovation-based economy. Having seen Startup Weekend grow and flourish in Toronto over the last four years, I have no doubt that we will see a game changing education project come out of this local entrepreneurial community.
I first saw Robbie Whiting in 2012 at South by Southwest, where he gave a daring presentation on the death of the advertising agency model. At the time, he was Director of Creative Technology at Duncan/Channon, an agency which has applied a unique approach to attracting new business: Making things. He's since launched his own agency: Argonaut.
Accelerators are like a "Boot Camp" for Start-Ups. You must apply to an accelerator, and you must meet certain requirements to be considered. Once chosen, you are given resources and guidance to get your company to the next level. Recently, I spoke with Roger Chabra of RHO Ventures about his perspective on the state of funding, accelerators, and start-ups in Canada.
For almost as long as email has existed, people have complained about getting too many emails. We celebrate inbox zero as if we just gave birth to a new child. While some lauded the arrival of the first BlackBerry, many saw it as a digital manifestation of the ball and chain that would shackle them to their office.
As CEO of a product testing company, I have encountered hundreds of entrepreneurs with unique ideas who are quite brilliant and determined and who have the guts to take a concept and turn it into a business. Most of them stumble with their pricing model. If you scare off a customer with your pricing from the outset, you will likely brand yourself as "that expensive company."