A worthy venture
On the heels of the Startup Visa Act awaiting presentation to Congress in the United States comes the launch of Startup Visa Canada, which aims to upgrade this country's immigration program by making it easier for prospective entrepreneurs with Canadian investors to launch science and technology companies.
The movement has three principles behind it: Boris Wertz, an investor and co-founder of GrowLab; Danny Robinson, an entrepreneur, investor and member of the B.C. Innovation Council; and the Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA). "We are already falling behind countries like Chile, Singapore and Britain, who have already upgraded their programs," Mr. Wertz says, "but I believe we can learn from their programs and make ours better.”
NPR reported this week, in fact, that a Chilean government sponsored program called Start-up Chile is offering entrepreneurs from around the world $40,000 (U.S.) and a year-long residency visa to bring their business ideas to the country. And, the story points out, many American entrepreneurs are already taking Chile up on its offer. Owners don't have to know Spanish, since all commerce is conducted in English.
“Our belief is that we must promote a culture of entrepreneurship in order to successfully compete in the new global economy," says Chris Arsenault, director at CVCA. "Canada can become a beacon, attracting the best and the brightest from across the globe.”
It's hard to argue with a strategy designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to launch new businesses in Canada and create more jobs in the process.
Growing now, but where are we headed?
"While financial markets have been wildly gyrating this year, small business confidence has been on a relatively even keel," Laura Jones wrote in The Province this week. The senior vice-president of research, economics and Western Canada for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says confidence levels have registered between 65 and 75 on her organization's monthly business barometer, levels that are consistent with a growing economy. "As a point of comparison," she added, "at the low point during the 2008 downturn, confidence was at 35 on the index." The outlook, of course, is cloudy, given the economic uncertainty hanging over our neighbours in the United States.
Worldwide study characterizes entrepreneurs
A new analysis released Friday by Ernst & Young, the 2011 High-impact Entrepreneurship Global Report, provides insight into the characteristics of high-growth small-business owners. More than 800,000 people were surveyed in 60 countries worldwide, and more than 70,000 of them were entrepreneurs. It found that high-impact entrepreneurs (which E&Y defined as having estimated annual growth above 20 per cent) usually start their companies between the ages of 26 and 45. "They are more likely than entrepreneurs from lower-growth companies and the general population to have college or graduate degrees," the company says in a press release, "and they are likely to work in partnerships. Also, high-impact entrepreneurs are most likely to conduct a significant portion of their business internationally."
EVENTS AND KEY DATES
Innovation in Canada and Brazil
The opening seminar with an Innovation and Technology theme by the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce will put the concept in a global perspective. What role does innovation play in creating leadership in industry – and in countries? The seminar will include representatives from government, innovative companies and industry in Canada and Brazil. The all-morning event takes place Sept. 14 in Toronto at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre (250 Yonge Street, 35th floor). Cost is $40 for members, $60 for non-members.
The wattage meter rises
Dragon's Den panellist Kevin O'Leary and TV host and automotive industry expert John McElroy have been confirmed as speakers at the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show 2011, adding some star power to the proceedings. Mr. O’Leary will answer tough questions facing today’s manufacturers, including "how will the global recession affect your industry?" and "what can you do to protect your company and come out stronger?" Mr. McElroy is "expected to make auto makers sit up and take notice" as moderator of an automotive roundtable. The show takes place Oct. 17 to 20 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.
EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS
Forty is the new 20
Tired of headlines that read “Hottest Entrepreneurs Under 30,” or “Top 40 Under 40,” or “Top 20 Under 20?” Stories about technology entrepreneurs often ignore the grown-up crowd. But some of Canada’s hottest tech entrepreneurs launched their businesses after 40 – the arbitrary age that often acts as the upper limit of the “best of” lists. These six technology entrepreneurs share their stories, and prove that 40 is nowhere near “over the hill” for startup success. And check out the related photo gallery.
FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES
Connecting owners with immigrants
Many small business owners are in desperate need of skilled workers, but they are either unaware of or don’t consider the qualified pool of new immigrants that have already arrived in Canada, Maytree Foundation president Ratna Omidvar told reporter Carys Mills in July. Maytree is trying to come up with strategies to connect the two, contending it will bring benefits to both.
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