Edit: Edited to add quotes from Victoria Lennox
The results of the largest consultation ever undertaken within the community of Canadian entrepreneurs and their supporters will be unveiled in a series of six cross-country news conferences on Tuesday when Startup Canada releases its national Action Plan. The plan is the outcome of a five-month national tour that Startup Canada conducted between May and September this year that touched down in all 10 provinces and altogether engaged more than 20,000 Canadians in person and another 50,000 online.
Several common themes emerged from the more than 200 town hall meetings, expert discussions, forums and other events that Startup Canada and its more than 300 partners organised during the tour. These themes and the actions that entrepreneurs all across the country said need to be taken are captured in Startup Blueprints, an ambitious new online platform that will also be unveiled on Tuesday. Startup Blueprints shares the reflections and ideas that Startup Canada heard from entrepreneurs who participated in hundreds of conversations across the country. It paints a clear path that Canadians passionate about entrepreneurship can follow together to cultivate a more vibrant and successful entrepreneurial culture in Canada.
The enormity of the task is not to be underestimated. In a conversation I had with one sceptic this week, who hoped the announcement next week would be more than a diffuse set of talking points, I replied that it is incredibly difficult to wrap our arms around everything that needs to be done to engineer the genuine cultural shift that is necessary if the critical and high-value role that entrepreneurs play in creating wealth and opportunity in Canada is to be properly recognised. In an attention-challenged media era where brief sound bites rule the day, Startup Canada has set for itself the immensely audacious goal of capturing the imagination of a country on an issue that is complex and multi-faceted.
I have had the privilege of editing all the material that will be released next week, so I have a clear view of what is to come. And I think Victoria Lennox and her team have done a superb job of crystallizing the massive national conversation that took place this summer and distilling from it a bold and concise set of specific action items that must be taken immediately. I am very much looking forward to the reaction of everyone in the entrepreneurship and wider business communities to Tuesday’s announcements. I hope this will be a catalytic event that will be clearly recognised down the road as a sharp turning point in the revitalisation of a strong entrepreneurial culture in Canada.
For Lennox, Tuesday is a real coming-out party.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share our learnings and next steps with Canada next Tuesday,” she told me earlier today. “This is a milestone not just for those at the centre of this movement and the thousands of entrepreneurs who contributed over the last six months, but this is a milestone in Canadian nation-building, where we recognize, as a nation, that our greatest resource is our people and that we need invest in fostering entrepreneurship and better supporting our entrepreneurs for the future prosperity of Canada.
“For me, this is a coming out for Startup Canada and is the way in which we can finally say thank you to all of those who so freely shared their time, expertise, resources and support to making the National Tour and Startup Canada such a profound success,” Lennox added.
The national news conference will be held here in Ottawa, with regional versions taking place in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. Everyone is welcome to attend, but space is limited (Vancouver is already sold out!) so registration is necessary. I will be at the Ottawa news conference, and we will cover the event in detail.