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Vivian Prokop, former CEO of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.

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Board searches for new CEO

The board of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) has announced that after a decade as the organization's CEO, Vivian Prokop is passing the leadership torch.

"Through her unwavering passion, dynamic leadership and tireless dedication to Canada's young entrepreneurs, CYBF has grown from a small organization to become a world-renowned force in youth entrepreneurship," chairman John Risley says.

He cites a number of Ms. Prokop's accomplishments, including:

  • Helping thousands of Canada’s aspiring young entrepreneurs start their own businesses.
  • Founding chair of the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit, founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, and a mentor to programs under the Princes Youth Business International.
  • Being honoured by Women’s Executive Network in both 2010 and 2011, in the Trailblazers and Trendsetters category.

Mr. Risley is leading an executive committee made up of the COO, the CSO, the CFO, and the CAO, which will run the organization while the board searches for a new CEO.

Ms. Prokop has yet to release her next career step.

Pebble could get tossed

Ouya, a $99 Android-powered hackable game console, raised $1-million (U.S.) in just over eight hours on popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter, a milestone it reached quicker than the recent mega-hit Pebble smartwatch, and it attracted nearly $2.6 million in financing in its first 24 hours, again well ahead of Pebble. The company could break Pebble's final record: $10-million raised, TechVibes is reporting. Five backers have individually pledged $10,000.

Indian fellows join DMZ in Toronto

Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone (DMZ), an incubator and accelerator for startups and industry solution-providers, has selected nine Indian fellows in seven teams to spend four-month terms in Toronto. They come from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and the Indian School of Business. The entrepreneurs "will focus on developing forward-thinking and innovative digital products and services for launch in India while learning with and alongside the DMZ's other 39 teams," a press release states. In coming months, other visiting international entrepreneurs from China and Israel will join the DMZ, continuing the university's commitment to collaboration, as it has forged relationships with more than 100 partner institutions in about 30 countries.

Coldplay gets into comic books

Upstart Business Journal reports that Coldplay has joined the entrepreneurial ranks: the band announced this week at this year's Comic Con the debut of a six-part comic-book series based on its hit record Mylo Xyloto. It took three years of pivoting, validating, and pivoting again, to come up with the concept. Co-creator Mark Osborne, who has been nominated for Academy Awards for Kung Fu Panda and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, pitched the venture as "the latest expression of a music-driven feature animated film."

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Who's going to GROW?

Waterloo-Ont.-based VeloCity and Communitech host an evening of networking and collaboration with startups, big picture thinkers, and "real-time doers" who inspire innovation. The event is a pre-party of sorts for GROW 2012, a major conference taking place in August in Vancouver. Find out who's attending, learn more about the conference, and find out why you should be there, at the VeloCity Garage on July 17 at 6 p.m.

Turn innovation into opportunity

The demands of global customers are changing the tides and fortunes of Canadian organizations. Successful companies are built on a foundation of innovation to bring forward new ideas, to leverage talent, and to then deliver state of the art products to market. Innovation drives value for shareholders and customers alike. But how does it happen and what are the key drivers? Find out at the Innovation: Strategy, Opportunity and Growth for Your Business seminar in Vancouver, July 18, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

A new take on getting old

Vancouver-based Nurse Next Door, which provides at-home caregiving services, revamped its brand to speak to the boomer generation. Its emerging client base has a new view of old age that involves playing Wii with the grandkids, hanging on to that electric bass, and hitting the beach. Nurse Next Door has already seen a revenue boost from its efforts, says co-founder and president John DeHart, who believes the way companies market to seniors is about to change advertising again.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Were expectations met?

Successful entrepreneurs are excitable, passionate, big thinkers, and hard working. Imagine more than 200 of these personalities coming together in one room to discuss entrepreneurship at the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit. Over four days, young business owners, including the author of this guest column, shared their startup stories: bootstrapping with maxed-out visa cards until finding an angel investor; the business models that are working, and ones that are not; the times you had no clue what you were doing, but you figured it out.

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