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StartCanada Blog

The StartCanada Blog provides insights about some of the work that we’re doing; including web design / development, design thinking, social media marketing, small business information, trends, tips, ideas and inspiration for start-ups, professionals, non-profits and small businesses.

Design Thinking Meets Start-ups / Entrepreneurship

"Design thinking is an approach to problem solving that encourages these qualities as teams combine right-brain creative thinking with left-brain analytical thinking."
- - - Jeanne Liedtka, University of Virginia, Darden School of Business

Google for Entrepreneurs, moderated by Kaili Emmrich, features three business and product design leaders to expound on how design thinking can be a vital tool for start-ups and entrepreneurs. They are:

  • Eric Ries (The Lean Startup)
  • Tim Brown (CEO of IDEO)
  • Jake Knapp (Google Venture Design Partner)

Why Founding a Startup After 40 is Better

Excerpts from interviews with: John Berthels of Cocoon, Grant Robinson of Atomic, Dean Elwood of Voxygen, Elizabeth Shassere of Textocracy, Scott Nelson of BigControls and Steven Rahseparian of Secured Universe.

Has your age affected your life as a startup founder?

  • I’m still in the same general industry but now I’m productizing my knowledge from over the past 20 years.
  • It’s a much bigger risk now than if I was in my 20s. I’m not couch-surfing and I can’t go back to live with my parents if I fail. You have no choice – you have to make it.
  • At 21, I didn’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my body. That’s something that developed over time as I gained experience of my craft... I hate to think what 21-year-old me would have done in these situations, it would have been a trainwreck.
  • I’m better able to get on with people, and more life experience means I can better see the ‘bigger picture.’
  • One of the oddest things i’ve found is that because I’m older and have had a leadership role and worked for many years, people assume I don’t need any help, so they don’t tend to take my pleas for assistance very seriously. It’s not that they don’t want to help, they just aren’t sure how to help.
  • The hard part is walking away from a steady job. I’ve got three kids. It’s only been possible to become an entrepreneur with deep support from my partner.

What would you say to someone thinking of moving from a steady job into entrepreneurship?

  • You have to be comfortable with risk.
  • ... It’s the fastest way to learn and grow as a professional. I wish I had done it sooner, and after you make the jump you almost certainly will too.
  • Just get out there and do it. People want to help. I’ve not met anyone who didn’t in some way want to help and support me.
  • You have to be all in, with your family along with you.
  • Longterm happiness is important. With a strong relationship you can put your collective happiness on the line because you’re in it together. You have permission to fail – you can take that step into the unknown because someone is there to pick you up if you fail, with the understanding that you’ll do the same for them.
  • Do it. Whether you succeed or fail it’ll be the best thing you ever did.

Source/s: The Next Web
Photo: Angelo Narciso, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton.

Some Words from Successful Entrepreneurs


Canada's Best Places for Business 2015

The Top 10 Overall

  1. Milton, Ontario
  2. Calgary, Alberta
  3. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  4. Burlington, Ontario
  5. Whitby, Ontario
  6. Strathcona County, Alberta
  7. Oakville, Ontario
  8. Ajax, Ontario
  9. Brampton, Ontario
  10. Grand Prairie, Alberta

Most Lucrative Markets

  1. Milton, Ontario
  2. Strathcona County, Alberta
  3. Calgary, Alberta

Most Affordable Cities

  1. Montreal, Quebec
  2. Moncton, Alberta
  3. London, Ontario

Most Business Friendly Cities

  1. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  2. Delta, British Columbia
  3. Victoria, British Columbia

Source/s: Canadian Business Magazine, November 2015
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Royal Canadian Mint, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Risk Is Everything

As with the Nike campaign above and the following words of Petra Moser, assistant professor of economics at Stanford and its Europe Center, is risk, or that fearless culture, the key ingredient that drives US tech giants?

Mosler compares Europe and the US:

  • They’re trying to recreate Silicon Valley in places like Munich, so far with little success. The institutional and cultural differences are still too great.
  • In Europe, failure is regarded as a personal tragedy. Here it’s something of a badge of honor. An environment like that doesn’t encourage as much risk-taking and entrepreneurship.
  • If you don’t do well at age 18, you’re out. That cuts out a lot of people who could do better but never get the chance. The person who does best at a test of rote memorization at age 17 may not be innovative at 23. The American education system is much more forgiving. Students can catch up and go on to excel. European children may be better behaved, but American children may end up being more free to explore new things.
  • American companies allow their employees to leave and try something else. Then, if it works, great, the mother company acquires the start-up. If it doesn’t, they hire them back. It’s a great system. It allows people to experiment and try things. In Germany, you can’t do that. People would hold it against you. They’d see it as disloyal. It’s a very different ethic.
  • In Europe, stability is prized. Inequality is much less tolerated. There’s a culture of sharing. People aren’t so cutthroat. Money isn’t the only thing that matters. These may be good things.

Source: A Fearless Culture Fuels U.S. Tech Giants, New York Times

In One Generation, There Will Be No Employees

MBO Partners forecasts that half of the workforce in the United States will consist of freelancers by 2020. That number is far too low, according to John Ruffolo, CEO of OMERS Ventures. At a Toronto Region Board of Trade event in November, Ruffolo predicted the rising popularity of entrepreneurship and the increasing desire of young workers for control over their careers will result in a revolution in the way companies operate. “In one generation, there will be no employees,” he said. “Everyone is going to be a subcontractor.”

Source: Canadian Business
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Office Tower, Vancouver, BC

The Future: An Outsourced Economy

  • A growing skilled freelancer economy is taking shape to meet the temporary needs of employers
  • Repeat transactions between businesses and their favourite freelancers will play an increasingly important role in the new outsourced economy
  • Companies have the comfort of working with a familiar team minus the expense of hiring full-time employees, while temporary workers get the certainty of steady work without sacrificing the chance to accept other projects
  • MBO Partners forecasts that half of the workforce in the United States will consist of freelancers by 2020
  • In one generation, there will be no employees. Everyone is going to be a subcontractor. - John Ruffolo, CEO, OMERS Ventures

Source: Canadian Business, March 2015

Small Businesses in Canada Export Through Websites

Pierre Cleroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist of the Business Development Bank of Canada spoke to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce about What to Expect in 2015: An Economic Outlook for Small and Medium Businesses.

"So if you are an owner of a small business, you might think exporting is a good idea but mostly for large and mid-size firms. I want to give you a different perspective about this because more and more small businesses are able to export with new technology. Digital technology is changing the game for small business. You can access billions of consumers online with very low costs... something not possible 10 years ago."

Mr. Cleroux continues to explain the how websites enable small businesses to export their products to the world. His three examples were outfits in:

  • Calgary selling pipeline sealers,
  • Nova Scotia selling dog food, and
  • British Columbia selling spa uniforms.

HIs presentation starts at 21:30 of the Calgary Chamber video.

Source: Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Delta Hotel, Calgary, AB

Canadians Increasingly Becoming Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

  • Following the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, an increasing number of Canadians have taken control of their earning potential and become their own bosses. But unlike past recoveries, more Canadians are choosing self-employment, rather than as a means of escaping unemployment.
  • Western Canada is home to the country’s hottest startup activity. British Columbia leads the country with 3.7% of its working population owning a startup, defined as a business under two years of age. Alberta and Saskatchewan follow in second and third positions, respectively.
  • Canadians over the age of 50 are the fastest growing segment of the startup population, owning nearly 30% of new businesses.
  • Canadians in their twenties have increased their startup ownership by nearly 10%.
  • StatsCan reports that nearly 20% of immigrants were self-employed by the end of the 2000s, compared with 15% for their Canadian-born counterparts.
  • StatsCan reports that self-employment among women grew by 23 per cent between 2001 and 2011, compared with only 14 per cent for men.

Source: Matt Lundy, Canadian Business
Photo: © Angelo Narciso, Wieners, Waterton, AB

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StartCanada Business Development Corporation

Big dreams. Start here.

StartCanada is a Canadian company that designs, develops and manages elegant and effective websites for start-ups, professionals, non-profits and small businesses. StartCanada also provides social media marketing services for its clients.

Angelo Narciso leads StartCanada and is involved with business development, the design thinking process of web design / development, website management and social media marketing.