Canada has all the ingredients necessary to create world-class companies. Knowledge sharing and community engagement will play essential roles in keeping innovators, influencers and entrepreneurs north of the border. As will a little maple syrup.
It’s been said countless times: without strong leadership, education and a supportive community, we stand to lose our best entrepreneurs to the US and elsewhere. Recently, you may have read about the rise of Vancouver’s Maple Syrup Mafia, a nod to Silicon Valley’s PayPal Mafia who built substantial exits into an entire startup ecosystem almost overnight.
The Maple Syrup Mafia is a movement about sharing wealth and giving back; about building strong Canadian businesses, then leveraging this strength to successfully launch the nation’s next generation of entrepreneurs. When our business leaders commit to bringing their expertise and global network back to Canada, their contribution to growth in our economy is significant and immediate.
A Vancouver-born serial entrepreneur myself, I applied my 13 years’ experience with the world’s top conferences and tradeshows to the problem of how to keep Innovators in Canada. I saw an opportunity to rethink the way connection and collaboration happen and to create a new way. That’s how Founders Collective was born.
Founders Collective’s sold-out inaugural event was designed to fill a need other events were missing—it carefully mixed tech-based startups with non-technical entrepreneurs not from one sector, but rather from diverse industries. The all-female guest list united successful restauranteurs, tech startup founders, realtors, social venture partners, boutique owners, digital agency CEOs, Senior VPs, VCs, angels and recruiters.
Participants came from international forces including lululemon, Aritzia, VisionCritical, HootSuite, LunaPads, the Clinton Giustra Initiative and Native.
These companies are leaders in their fields. Combined they are creating thousands of Canadian jobs annually and their CEOs represent the best of world-class innovation. But we need more.
My goal is to create unique experiences that serve as platforms for exploration, inspiration and connection. I believe firmly that facilitating authentic and meaningful relationships between Entrepreneurs is the secret sauce for growing, and keeping, innovation in Canada.
April’s women-focused Founders Collective conference was the first such experience. And hundreds of thought-leaders and disruptors have already signed on to our waitlist, eagerly anticipating round two.
With several new concepts and some exciting strategic partnerships also on the horizon, I can reiterate that fortune favors the brave. Simply put, it’s not just about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.