Historic event success for entrepreneurs
OTTAWA, November 25, 2013 – At Startup Canada Day on the Hill, held last week in Ottawa, entrepreneurs and government leaders alike agreed a working relationship is needed to ensure Canada becomes and remains the best place in the world to start, operate, and grow a business.
More than 700 people attended this historic event including seven federal cabinet ministers, 15 Members of Parliament, and 450 entrepreneurs, bringing together the largest ever contingent of entrepreneurs to meet on Parliament Hill with government. The day consisted of numerous keynote addresses, discussion panels, and small meetings
between entrepreneurs and Members of Parliament.
“Canada can realize its potential for social and economic growth by supporting entrepreneurs from the bottom up,” said Victoria Lennox, CEO and co-founder of Startup Canada. “A culture that supports entrepreneurship feeds startup growth, and government needs to work with those in the trenches, like Startup Canada, to ensure Canada remains competitive.”
“Canada’s startups and the entrepreneurs who run them are known for their tenacity, their creativity and their innovative nature,” said Minister of State for Small Business Maxime Bernier, who hosted the event in partnership with Startup Canada. “Our job as a government is to make sure the right conditions are in place for them to grow their businesses and to succeed.”
A number of themes emerged at Startup Canada Day on the Hill. Speaking to Canada’s role in the global economy, the Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, discussed the Government of Canada’s new Startup Visa Program. The program aims to ensure Canada remains competitive in the global economy by providing sought-after entrepreneurs from around the world with permanent residency and access to business partners in Canada.
“Innovation and entrepreneurship drives economic growth and helps to secure future prosperity for all Canadians,” said Minister Alexander. “Immigration is vital to innovation and to meeting Canada’s economic and labour market needs.”
Seeing the opportunity to address entrepreneurs, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Diane Finley announced the fourth call for proposals for the Build in Canada Innovation Program at Startup Canada Day on the Hill. The program connects Canadian companies with federal departments and agencies that have a need for innovative products and services.
“Entrepreneurs have such an important role in driving innovation in this country, which in turn creates jobs and economic growth for Canada,” said Minister Finley, while addressing the crowd. “Our job as a government is to fuel that spirit and drive in Canada, and this new Call for Proposals will help kick-start businesses by getting their innovative products and services from the lab into the market.”
Another key theme that emerged throughout the day is the importance of investing in strong communities that support entrepreneurs. The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, emphasized this support is needed for entrepreneurs to fill gaps government cannot.
“We recognize that government does not have all the answers to dealing with society’s social challenges,” said Minister Kenney. “Communities and businesses have long been the leaders in finding innovative solutions to helping vulnerable Canadians. Governments should tap into these solutions and no longer ignore them.”
Beyond the event in Ottawa, Startup Canada Day on the Hill spurred a national conversation online, with the hashtag #startupday trending on Twitter across Canada. Startup Canada is celebrating this successful meeting of entrepreneurs and government at Startup Canada Day on the Hill with a flag installation on Sparks Street in Ottawa. The flags will be in place until Nov. 29.
For more on the announcements made during Startup Canada Day on the Hill, please visit our newsroom.