Checking up on Startup Canada

Courtney Symons
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After months of travelling across the country to spur entrepreneurial spirits, the Startup Canada tour is complete. But organizers say their journey is just beginning.

Startup Canada co-founder Victoria Lennox.

The organization aims to enhance Canada’s prosperity and competitiveness by addressing challenges that entrepreneurs face, and that didn’t stop when the tour ended in Vancouver on Sept. 21, according to co-founder Victoria Lennox.

Startup Canada has solidified its board of directors, including LaBarge Weinstein co-founder and partner Debbie Weinstein; Elizabeth Preston, managing partner at McMillan’s Ottawa office; and local serial entrepreneur Adam Chowaniec as chairman.

“They’re just moving mountains,” said Ms. Lennox. “We needed a board that was ready for some heavy lifting.”

The organization also established two advisory boards of entrepreneurs from across the country. The first is a national advisory board, including Canada Goose president and CEO Dani Reiss. The second is a panel of government, industry and academic advisors, and includes Francis Moran, founder of tech marketing firm Francis Moran & Associates, and Telfer School of Management EMBA director Sophia Leong.

The next steps include consolidating findings from the national tour to present to the public. On Nov. 27, six pop-up press conferences will happen across the country in startup-friendly spaces including Shopify’s headquarters in Ottawa.

Those conferences will mark the release of, a living website listing ideas and observations from the national campaign.

“I hope that Canadians who came out on the tour will see themselves reflected in the paper, and that it inspires them to take action in whatever way they can,” Ms. Lennox said.

Despite initial plans to present the blueprint to the federal government, Ms. Lennox said that the government is no longer the point. Instead, the blueprint will be directed at entrepreneurs.

Following the launch of the website, Ottawa will host the Startup Nations Summit on Nov. 29 and 30, bringing together similar initiatives from across the globe including the United States, Chile, Malaysia and Portugal. The objective will be to connect and share best practices, Ms. Lennox said.From May to September, Startup Canada roamed the country to meet with 20,000 Canadians and 300 organizations at 30 town hall meetings and 150 events.

Organizations: Canada Goose, Francis Moran Associates, Telfer School of Management EMBA

Geographic location: Canada, Ottawa, Vancouver United States Chile Malaysia Portugal

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