When Startup Canada launched early in 2012, the non-profit set out on a cross-country tour to find out what challenges Canadian entrepreneurs were coping with and how they could help. The expedition, which visited 40 different cities over six months, wrapped up in September, and on Tuesday they held six press conferences – including one at Startup Edmonton – to discuss what they found and what they plan to do.
Over the course of the tour, Startup Canada identified issues in three main areas: the need to establish an entrepreneurial culture; the need to provide assistance for growing businesses; and the need to build communities in which entrepreneurs and their businesses can network and find resources and mentorship. These are the same basic problems that smaller-scale organizations in Alberta like Startup Edmonton and Startup Calgary are already trying to cope with, but Startup Canada is looking to provide for entrepreneurs on a national level.
Going into 2013, the organization is launching three programs to address the need for more entrepreneurship in Canada. The first of these is an online social network or meeting place aimed at helping Canadian entrepreneurs connect with each other and with nearby resources. Startup Canada is also launching pilot community programs in 10 cities (these haven’t been announced yet) to provide those connections for entrepreneurs on a more local level. A national campaign to promote a culture of entrepreneurship is also in the works.