CEO, Startup Canada
Startup Canada Tour and Business Owner’s Toolbox strive to help entrepreneurs with information overload- but to truly succeed we need full ecosystem collaboration.
Humans create a lot of data. In fact, we’re estimated to collectively reach 120 zettabytes of created data in 2023 – that’s approximately 70 full smartphones per person for the entire planet. While this might be great news for innovation in technology, it also comes with enormous hurdles. One of these challenges is information overload – the idea that information is being created at a faster rate than we can disseminate, comprehend, and properly utilize.
For Canadian founders, this is a problem. According to Startup Canada’s 2022 Census, 43.1% of respondents indicated that finding reliable, specialized information was a roadblock to their success. With entrepreneurs being disproportionately impacted by the impacts of COVID-19 and the looming recession, there is an urgent need for collective, vetted and curated information in this space now more than ever. In order to develop a holistic and sustainable solution, three aspects need to be addressed: in-depth and specialized education, improved networks and connection, and full ecosystem collaboration.
There is no “how to” handbook for entrepreneurship. Yet, there are endless topics founders need to consider and familiarize themselves with – everything from the foundations (think sales and legal) to industry specific information (regulations, market trends, etc.) – in order to thrive. Foundational research is a hurdle for most founders, and the problem is only growing, with 84% of Census 2021 respondents stating that it took them over 100 hours to research and learn about different components of their business. Even then, founders can’t be sure this information is sourced correctly or relevant to them.
Programs like Business Owner’s Toolbox (BOT) are delivering a sustainable solution. A free, comprehensive and interactive hub, BOT is an ever-evolving collection of tailored modules, resources and access points for early stage entrepreneurs. With the help of an expansive partner network, BOT is a highly collaborative platform that is constantly improving to deliver the most relevant specialized advice, resources and offerings to founders.
You can be the most well-read founder in Canada, but without a great network and support system, you likely won’t get far. Networking is the lifeblood for many early stage entrepreneurs across the country, with up to 65% of a company’s new business coming from referrals. We also know that since 2020, many entrepreneurs have been struggling with their wellness and mental health as a result of financial stress, countless unknowns, and increased isolation.
To Startup Canada, the curation of relevant information and resources also includes the development of in-person, hybrid-purpose events to encourage connection, simplify networking, and deliver hyper-specialized and regionally relevant educational material. Recently announced, Startup Canada Tour is our next step towards this mission. This event series will touch down in five cities coast to coast and connect early stage entrepreneurs with local support organizations and industry experts to drive their businesses forward.
- Whitehorse – April 25, 2023.
- Halifax – May 2, 2023.
- Vancouver – May 11, 2023.
- Calgary – September 28, 2023.
- Brampton, Ontario – Coming Soon!
Finally, without healthy collaboration across all aspects of the support ecosystem and striving for continuous improvement of existing systems via regular information gathering, dissemination and action, entrepreneurs will be hard-pressed to succeed amidst today’s economic climate. Simply put, if founders understand the “what” (in-depth education) and the “who” (network), but are faced with roadblocks and inaccessibility at the “how” (support ecosystem), the previous efforts are rendered useless.
These three symbiotic elements, which are segmented by their ideal approach and necessary solutions, should be an urgent priority for the entire entrepreneurial support ecosystem to best serve founders in 2023.
About Kayla Isabelle
Kayla Isabelle is the Chief Executive Officer at Startup Canada, the gateway to Canada’s entrepreneurial ecosystem that points you in the right direction, eliminates barriers, and champions your needs to private and public sector partners. Startup Canada’s mission is to connect Canada’s entrepreneurs with the tools, community, and support they need to start and build their businesses. Kayla has dedicated her career to supporting entrepreneurs, both in Canada and internationally. As an award-winning strategic communications consultant and change management facilitator, Kayla is passionate about leveraging the power of storytelling in the entrepreneurial community.