The Globe and Mail
Report on Small Business -

August 25, 2016

Fairfax bets on fintech with investment in new fund
Plus: With new growing techniques, small, urban facilities can replace acres of farmland

A new venture capital fund focused solely on financial technology companies has raised $20-million from a handful of big-name Canadian investors including FairVentures Ltd., the innovation arm of insurance and investment giant Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.

The Impression Ventures Fund II is among the first VC funds in Canada to focus on financial technology, or fintech, a fast-growing sector that is changing how consumers save, spend and invest online and through mobile applications.


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The goal of the fund is to support early stage fintech companies coming out of the Canadian technology ecosystem. Full story (subscribers only).

With new growing techniques, small, urban facilities can replace acres of farmland

Growing vertically indoors, rather than horizontally in fields, makes sense in a world marked by food insecurity, population overcrowding and an environment destabilized by climate change. The model also allows food to be brought closer to the people who consume it. “Vertical farming is a platform to deliver healthy, clean, nutrient-rich food,” says Gregg Curwin, the founder and chief executive officer of TruLeaf, the company behind the GoodLeaf Farms brand. Full story.

Tested by wildfire, Alberta startup ponders its next act

For Mr. Kappes, the wildfire’s timing was serendipitous. He had launched the Alberta Strong line in February to contribute to a province suffering from plunging oil prices, mass layoffs and low morale. That meant giving $10 of each item sold to Alberta charities, $1,000 at a time. But when the wildfire hit, Alberta Strong became a provincial catchphrase. Mr. Kappes raised $30,000 for the Red Cross from sales of his apparel, which includes T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops and hats. Full story.

Insider tips from OMERS on getting venture capital

For many budding entrepreneurs, raising VC money can seem like a mysterious process that requires special skills or knowing something that most people don’t. Fortunately, it’s incredibly similar to an activity that most of us have undertaken or closely observed at some point in our lives: selling a home. Selling a property consists of four key actions and behaviours that can also serve as the main components of a successful VC fundraising strategy. Here are the parallels, alongside relevant tips for entrepreneurs. Full story.

Five reasons your company shouldn't have a blog

Even professional writers get writer’s block – the feeling of staring at a blank page, not knowing where to start. It’s not unusual to be at a loss for ideas, and then to procrastinate accordingly. Conversely, you might have ideas on what to write about, only to end up with rambling stories that don’t offer value to your customers, or a series of posts that have little to do with each other – or your business. Full story.

More small business news from around the web

Some big banks giving up market share in small business arena: CFIB

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says some of the country’s biggest banks are ceding market share in the small and medium-sized business market. Royal Bank of Canada remains dominant — but the share held by the country’s biggest lender is slipping. Full story.

Hillary Clinton's small business plan doesn't do enough for startups

Taxes are definitely one of the biggest headaches of owning a small business, especially if you’re new at it and aren’t sure how to keep the best records yet. That’s why Clinton’s idea of a “standard deduction” for small business owners (in lieu of keeping track of things like legal and professional expenses, travel, meals and entertainment, supplies, etc.) is such a good idea. Full story.

TMX Group launches roundtable to examine scalability issues facing Canadian Business

TMX Group, which owns the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, and Montreal Exchange, announced that it is funding an independent working group examining ways to increase access to growth capital for Canadian companies. The Advancing Innovation Roundtable, which will launch in September, will focus on the scalability issues facing Canada’s tech companies caused by a lack of growth funding beyond the early stage. Full story.

How much of a startup’s operations should be outsourced?

Sales, for example, can be outsourced. When you think about it, salespeople are the mercenaries of the business world. They’re interested in products that can make them a lot of money. As much as they may be passionate about a product, the ability to sell it matters more. Using a third-party salesperson or team lets a startup tap into expertise within a specific vertical. The downside is the costs can be high and a third-party is establishing relationships with your customers. Full story.

What’s next for Canada Goose

This year marks two big changes for the 59-year-old company: Canada Goose launched two retail storefronts, and is set to significantly expand its spring apparel line for 2017. CEO Dani Reiss outlined his plans for entering bricks-and-mortar and diversifying the firm’s product offerings, and explained what it takes to make “authentic” more than a branding buzzword. Full story.

Compiled by Sarah Efron

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