Mission Accomplished – StartupVisa Canada

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Remember back in 2011 when I was xenophobic and wasn’t supporting Startup Visa? To the credit fo the incredible StartupVisa Canada Initiativea team, which I was lucky enough to join and support, the Federal Government is launching a new class of immigration visa with the participation of CVCA and NACO. Check out Christine Dobby’s summary from the press conference (it’s where all my statistics and data are from). Go read Boris Wertz’s story about Summify founders and the impetus for Startup Visa Canada.

“We believe startups to be the driving force behind job creation and prosperity,” says executive director Richard Rémillard. “We need to be pro-active in attracting foreign entrepreneurs.”

The new visa is replacing the old “entrepreneur class” visa, which required the applicant/immigrant to hire one person for one year. In 2011, the federal government issued approximately 700 of the old entrepreneur class visa. The government is making 2,750 visas, issued to immigrants based on selection and funding by venture capital investors. Immigrants receive immediate permanent resident status. Looks like a pilot program with a 5 year lifespan, with the opportunity to make permanent depending on uptake.

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Thinking by Zach Aysan

My issues back in 2011 and previously, were not with the intent of the program. But in the proposed implementation details. One of the biggest assets, in my not so humble opinion, is the population diversity, with 46% of Toronto’s pouplation being foreign born. It is the creative tension between differing viewpoints that makes Canada an amazing place. The implementation of startup visa makes Canada an even more attractive place to recruit foreign born scientists, engineers and now entrepreneurs. I love it!

Entrepreneurs can achieve anything

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Chris Arsenault, Managing Partner, iNovia Capital.

3 hours - trioomph - driving your successWhat would happen if you decided to take action by putting 100% of your focus on achieving your goals, or better yet, start with a specific goal? Is that a scary thought? Well if you haven’t seen the video below of my good friend and great entrepreneur – Francois-Charles Sirois, then you are missing out on the number one most important success factor for any entrepreneur – the willingness to take action.

I think there are many critical factors that make an entrepreneur become successful: knowledge, creativity, self-confidence, attention to detail, experience, intelligence, patience, perseverance, team building, risk management, customer centricity, connections, timing and luck. But the number one and most important factor is by far, the Willingness to take action. When combining willingness to take action with focus, only then, can one succeed, because every other factor doesn’t have any importance unless action is taken.

Yes, I’m an optimist. I don’t disregard what isn’t working, how hard it is, how little chance I have in succeeding each time I take on the creation of a new Fund, the backing of a new startup or the planning of a new ambitious project. Instead I focus my attention at looking at the bright side of every situation and I then pull all my energy to make it happen. Positive energy attracts positive energy, and it is also right the other way around. It’s not easy, mostly because too many people tend to, purposely or not, pull you down, discourage you by highlighting every possible reason why it “just won’t work”. It is no different when setting out to build a new VC fund, a local business or an international tech company, it requires the same set of criteria for an entrepreneur to succeed, and when you willingly decide to take action, there actually is nothing stopping you. So when I can share concrete examples of what it means to set your mind to something, I share it with my friends and hope they will share it with there friends, helping getting the message out. So this is the most recent Willingness to take action example I want to share with you:

In early January, I met Francois-Charles for dinner and he tells me that he wants to learn how to play the guitar. No, he rectified, his dream is not to learn how to play the guitar, it’s actually to learn and play the best guitar solo in history! “Why just learn guitar, when you can do so much more, and I want to do this before summer” he said.

So the below video, is of Francois-Charles, on his mission tagged: 3 hours a day to succeed. He is playing the guitar solo: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” with extreme perfection. Driven, focused and enjoying his moment like any successful entrepreneur should be when they take action and achieve their goals.

I hope some of you will be, not impressed but rather, motivated to go out a take action with the same amount of focus and determination. Or at the least, share this video link with a friend.

3 hours a day to succeed

François-Charles Sirois
President and Chief Executive Officer, Telesystem
Founder, TRIOOMPH Foundation
For many years, he wanted to learn how to play a great guitar solo: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”
When you’re working toward your dream, it helps to have an experienced mentor to guide you along the way. His “guitar hero” was François Lamoureux.
The three-hour-a-day rule
It takes time and hard work to make a dream come true. In his case, he practiced three hours a day, three days a week; two hours a day, two days a week; and one hour a day, two days a week. A minimum of one hour every day is essential to making steady progress.
Official video: April 27, 2012
http://www.trioomph.com/0-3h-per-day.html3 hours a day to succeed

3 heures par jour vers le succès

François-Charles Sirois
Président et chef de la direction, Telesystem
Fondateur, Fondation TRIOOMPH
Depuis plusieurs années , il souhaite jouer un des meilleurs solos de guitare ; « Free Bird » de Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Pour réaliser un rêve, on doit trouver quelqu’un qui s’y connaît pour nous aider. Dans son cas, il a trouvé un super coach; François Lamoureux qui a accepté le défi.
La règle du 3 heures par jour:
Pour réaliser un rêve, il faut investir du temps. Pour le sien, il a pratiqué 3 heures par jour, 3 jours par semaine; 2 heures par jour, 2 fois par semaine et 1 heure par jour, 2 fois par semaine. Un minimum d’une heure par jour est essentiel pour s’améliorer et continuer à progresser.
Vidéo officielle: 27 avril 2012

Let’s remove “entrepreneur” from the dictionary

Editors Note: This is a guest post by Brian Sharwood (LinkedIn, @bsharwood). Brian is the President of Homestars (@homestars), the leading online free listing and rating company for Home Improvement specialists. Prior to HomeStars, he was a research analyst and principal of SeaBoard Group. Brian holds an MBA from Babson College in Boston and a bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia.

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I hate the word entrepreneur. It is overused. It has lost all meaning. Everyone is an entrepreneur these days. From the increasing attendance at DemoCampStartup Drinks, and Sprouter events around Toronto and across Canada you can find “entrepreneurs” that are people with ideas, corporate PR folks, lawyers, wedding businesses, etc. It ranges from founders of tech ventures to people looking for get rich quick schemes. In short who is an entrepreneur? Well just about everyone.

The term entrepreneur is meaningless.

I propose we split the people who live under the current word “entrepreneur” into three new words (which I won’t attempt to coin) which help us understand who these so-called “entrepreneurs” really are.

The Entrepreneur as Artist

These are the people with the great ideas. They are ones that are trying to change the world with something that’s never been done or seen before. In the tech world, they are often the hackers, who build a new web application with a vague idea of how they might make money for it. They might be the business person who sees a better process and sets it up, either on their own or within an existing enterprise. They are building something not for the money because it’s satisfying for them to create something that others love.  I constantly run across great ideas and great web apps that I say ‘that’s great, but I wouldn’t pay for it’, or I might just appreciate it for the sheer ingenuity of it, or it might be something to purchase to incorporate into another larger product. These are the creators of the ideas for the new economy.

The Entrepreneur as Small Business Owner

This is probably the group of people that encompass most of the people we encounter who label themselves entrepreneurs. They build businesses and run from from the consultants like April Dunford, bringing marketing insights and analysis to growing tech companies, to Jarrett Jastal, one of our clients, who runs StoneCote, a stone flooring company out of Hamilton. Running a small business is tough, and these people deserve to be lauded for taking risks and building companies. Often scrambling to meet payroll, watching a bank account dwindle, and trying to solve the many problems of operations. But many, if not most of these businesses are relatively small and non-scalable. They often rely on the skills and expertise of the founders and operators of the company rather than a product or brand. Another key ingredient to growth is risk, and these are our risk-takers.

The Entrepreneur as Visionary Executor.

The last group are the visionary executors. These are the people that the venture capitalists are looking for. The people who see the great idea, and know how to turn that idea into a business. They don’t necessarily need to be the founders, or even the people with the idea, although they often are. They are the ones who take that idea and make it into a business. Ted Rogers didn’t invent the products he sells, but he is the business visionary and executor who took a lot of great products and made them into a business through vision, foresight and understanding the market. Our innovation economy is driven by these people who take ideas, see opportunities and make businesses.

It’s the visionary executor that we want in this country, building world leading businesses, taking great products and building businesses out of them. The small business people, and the artists are the required support. They provide the ingredients for the visionary to work with.

So let’s forget the word entrepreneur or even founder, and define the term so we can understand who really changes the economy of this country.

Editors Note: This is a guest post by Brian Sharwood (LinkedIn, @bsharwood). Brian is the President of Homestars (@homestars), the leading online free listing and rating company for Home Improvement specialists. Prior to HomeStars, he was a research analyst and principal of SeaBoard Group. Brian holds an MBA from Babson College in Boston and a bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia.