Federal Government Backed Volunteer-Led Effort Promotes Canadian Start-Ups

The Startup Canada National Tour at its finale in Vancouver. The tour took Startup Canada to 40 Canadian cities where it consulted with over 20,000 people over six months (Cyprian Szalankiewicz)

Startup Canada, an entrepreneur-led government-backed non-profit organization, announced its action plan for increasing entrepreneurship in the country on Tuesday. The organization unveiled blueprints of a national network to support and connect entrepreneurial communities and a media campaign to create a strong entrepreneurial culture in Canada.

The action plan is the product of the Start-Up Canada National Tour which took the organization across the country from May to September 2012 and solicited input from over 20,000 entrepreneurs in 40 cities on how to create a national entrepreneur brand and foster Canada’s start-ups.

The action plan calls for three initiatives:

  • Startup Canada Connect: a social network to connect entrepreneurs
  • Startup Canada Communities: the creation of local entrepreneur communities, beginning with a pilot in 10 cities, which will organize local events, provide contacts to mentors, and support entrepreneurs as they develop their businesses
  • Startup Canada Campaign: a national media campaign to tell the stories of entrepreneurs in order to raise awareness of the role they play in Canada’s economy and promote them as role models in the country

Startup Canada is looking to launch the initiatives, including the Startup Canada Connect online social network, by May 2013, and is seeking to finance them through corporate sponsorships and crowd-funding.

Its current sponsors, which supported the Startup Canada National Tour, include Gowlings, Microsoft, Ernst & Young, Artik Promotions, PubliAir, and KA Media.

The organization launched its crowd-funding campaign on Tuesday through the Indiegogo platform: http://www.indiegogo.com/startupcanada and is looking to raise $100,000 in 34 days.

The action plan has been promoted by several federal officials, including Minister of State Small Business and Tourism Maxime Bernier, who spoke at an organization event in Montreal, and Industry Minister Tony Clement who was a speaker at an event in Ottawa, in Tuesday’s kick-off for the Startup Canada blue-print.