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Cultivating Startups

Business & Economics Podcasts

Building world-class startup ecosystems and startup communities

Building world-class startup ecosystems and startup communities




Building world-class startup ecosystems and startup communities








Ep 26: Startup Ecosystem Success Factors and Startup Genome

Lots of ideas for startup ecosystem builders to discuss, debate, adapt and adopt in the 2018 Startup Genome report. It's one of the few examinations of what world-class ecosystems look like and how to get there—and something that every ecosystem organization should read and consider. Some of the topics discussed on this episode: Local Connectedness: New in this year's report and a critical component of all strong ecosystems. We give a big thumbs up to the report's contention that...


Ep 25: Do tech incubators make sense in small urban areas?

The Canadian federal budget was delivered on Tuesday and we start the show with a quick look at two items that may not get a lot of attention but may have a big impact on the startup ecosystem. It wasn't said directly, but it looks like the CAIP program will not be renewed next year. It has provided millions of dollars in funding to organizations like Communitech, MaRS, Ryerson DMZ, Invest Ottawa and many others across Canada. IRAP has been a source of funding for some of Canada's top...


Ep 24: Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs: The Expert Review Panel Report

An expert review panel recently completed a report on the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE)—the main program of the Ontario government for providing funding to organizations supporting tech or innovation companies and startup ecosystem. The ONE's Regional Innovation Centres are located in 18 cities across Ontario. And the review panel has recommended big changes: they want the government to become "a strong central authority" in the management of the program and recommend a diminished...


Ep 23: The Biggest, Fastest Growing, Most Concentrated Tech Hubs in Canada – From the 2016 Census

We're back this week and it's the show we can only do once every five years. What are the fastest growing tech/ICT/software centres in Canada? You'll see rankings like this all the time, but we really only have good data on this every five years when the Census numbers come out. And they just came out and we go through them on this week's show—while also looking at why it's not as simple to come up with these rankings as you may think. So, there's a lot of Waterloo in these rankings, and...


Ep 22: Hot DesQ: Helping Startups Grow in Queensland, Australia with Murray Love and Paul Martyn

Hot DesQ is a program run by the government of Queensland in Australia through its Advance Queensland initiative to bring startups from around the world to Queensland and get them engaged with the local startup community. Through the program, startups receive $50,000-$100,000 in funding plus space at a coworking site in Queensland of their choice for six months. In return, startups agree to participate in local startup activities and build connections with companies in Queensland, while...


Ep 21: The Montreal Startup Ecosystem with Isaac Souweine of Real Ventures

Montreal is home to one of Canada's largest and most dynamic startup ecosystems, and in just a few years, Isaac Souweine has gone from being a newcomer to the city (and to Canada) to being at the centre of the startup community as EIR with Real Ventures. We talk to Isaac about how he came to Montreal, how he initially got plugged into the ecosystem, working in Montreal without being fluent in French, and working with Real Ventures to help build the Montreal ecosystem, including his work as...


Ep 20: The Founding of the Velocity Incubator with Sean Van Koughnett

Velocity is one of Canada's most successful university-based startup incubators and an integral part of the Waterloo startup ecosystem. Its success helped the Ontario government see university incubators and accelerators in a whole new way, leading to the creation of a multimillion-dollar program across the province to fund "campus-linked accelerators." It had an unlikely beginning 10 years ago. On this week's show, Sean Van Koughnett talks about how the idea for Velocity came about, how it...


Ep 19: Surveying Australia’s Startup Ecosystem with Monica Wulff of Startup Muster

Since 2014, Australia has received a detailed, annual profile of its startup ecosystem thanks to Startup Muster. And the startup community has been eager to participate, with thousands of responses last year from founders, potential founders and startup supporters. This week, Startup Muster cofounder and CEO Monica Wulff talks about what motivated her to create the survey, how Google became an early supporter, her annual roadtrips across the country to build interest and awareness, the...


Ep 18: The Challenge of Startup Ecosystem Metrics with Jesse Rodgers of Volta Labs

One of the challenges facing startup support organizations of all kinds is how do we know that we're doing a good job? Which programs are most effective? Which initiatives are worth continuing and which need to be changed or dropped? Even if we feel confident in our own activities, how would we convince someone else (including funders)? Jesse Rodgers, CEO of Volta Labs in Halifax, has written a lot about startup ecosystem metrics and has years of experience in dealing with these critical...


Ep 17: The Evolution of Ottawa’s Startup Community with Ian Graham of TheCodeFactory

Ottawa has been one of Canada's largest tech centres for decades and has the highest concentration of tech talent in the country. It hasn't always been a smooth ride—the city was riding high on the telecom boom of the late 1990s and took a big hit when the glory days came to an end, but it evolved and rebuilt and now has an impressive collection of startups and young companies, led by Shopify—now valued at over $10 billion after its IPO in 2015. Ian Graham has been part of Ottawa's tech...


Ep 16: Launch Academy and the Vancouver Startup Ecosystem with Hussein Hallak

Vancouver is one of Canada's biggest tech hubs and Launch Academy has played a key role in the startup ecosystem over the last five years, providing incubation services and training to over 100 startups a year—and hosting events for the community at its 12,000 square-foot space in the Gastown area of the city. This week, we talk to general manager Hussein Hallak about the programs at Launch Academy and their big vision for Vancouver's startup community—already ranked #1 in the country by...


Ep 15: Accelerating Insurance and Agritech in Des Moines with Mike Colwell of Square One DSM

Mike Colwell has been mentoring startup founders for over a decade in his role with Square One DSM in Des Moines, Iowa. He's also on the board of directors of two accelerators focused on sectors where the region is building on established strengths: one for startups in the insurance sector and the other focused on agritech. On this week's show, Mike talks about how the accelerators were created and structured, how they're funded, how they operate, lessons learned from an earlier unsuccessful...


Ep 14: Incubating Startups in Prince Edward Island with Doug Keefe of Startup Zone

It's Canada's smallest province, but that hasn't stopped Prince Edward Island from launching several initiatives to support startups. One of the newest is Startup Zone, an incubator in downtown Charlottetown, which launched last year. It's already worked with over 30 startups and has started to see companies graduating and moving out and into larger spaces. Doug Keefe became the interim CEO of Startup Zone in April and on this week's show he talks about how Startup Zone started, building a...


Ep 13: Launching Saskatchewan’s First Tech Incubator with Jordan Dutchak of Co.Labs

It wasn't that long ago that you couldn't run a hackathon in Saskatoon without raising eyebrows about what you were planning to hack into. Now a startup community is emerging in the city and the province has provided $250,000 to the first tech incubator in Saskatchewan—Co.Labs—which will officially launch in September. We talk to Jordan Dutchak, the executive director, who has spent more than two years helping to make Co.Labs a reality. He talks about how Co.Labs came about, how it's...


Ep 12: Updates, Surveys and What’s So Bad About Being Acquired?

No guest this week, so a roundup of recent news and updates from startup ecosystems. [1:50] It's deadline week for applications to Canada's Innovation Superclusters program. $950 million up for grabs. [2:50] The new Grand Innovations hub in Cambridge is coming along and looking at a January opening. [3:56] Volta Labs is tripling its space in downtown Halifax. [4:30] New research reports from the Impact Centre. The latest one looks at whether VC-backed Canadian startups have experienced...


Ep 11: Building the Edmonton Startup Community with Tiffany Linke-Boyko of Startup Edmonton

Edmonton's startup community has come a long way in just a few years, and Startup Edmonton recently celebrated its fifth anniversary as a startup hub in the city's downtown. We talk to CEO Tiffany Linke-Boyko about the evolution of Startup Edmonton, starting as a grassroots initiative with two founders in 2009, to its place today as a core piece of the city's economic development strategies. It was a big week for Edmonton, as the city—and the rest of Canada—cheered the creation of a new...


Ep 10: Supporting Startups in Small Urban Areas with John Hayden of the Northumberland CFDC

Northumberland County—east of Toronto in Southern Ontario—isn't a place where you'd expect to find a $100,000 startup competition that attracts some of the top new tech companies in the province. It's a largely rural area with no university campus and its largest population centre has fewer than 20,000 residents. But the N100 competition is now in its fifth year and Northumberland is also introducing an angel coinvestment fund and the Town of Cobourg is converting one of its unused buildings...


Ep 09: Incubating Startups at the Arctic Circle with Jens Lundström of the Arctic Business Incubator

Arctic Business Incubator isn't an exaggeration—they're incubating new technology businesses at the Arctic Circle in Sweden, and have been for the last 12 years. It's affiliated with the Luleå University of Technology and runs accelerator and incubator programs in four locations, with startups covering a broad range of sectors from gaming to space to cleantech and many more. We talk to managing director Jens Lundström on this week's podcast. And I take a look at a new report out of British...


Ep 08: Wellington, New Zealand Startup Ecosystem with Stefan Korn of Creative HQ

It's not the biggest country, but New Zealand has developed thriving startup ecosystems while facing heightened versions of many of the same challenges we see in Canada, including a small domestic market, and an underdeveloped venture capital sector. Creative HQ in Wellington is one of the leading lights of the New Zealand startup ecosystem, and we talk to CEO Stefan Korn about what's working well and what gaps still need to be addressed. I take a look at two different reports on venture...


Ep 07: Lessons Learned Running the Velocity Incubator with Mike Kirkup

For over four years, Mike Kirkup was the director of Velocity—the startup incubator at the University of Waterloo. It's been a huge addition to the Waterloo startup community since opening in 2008. He stepped down just over a year ago to become CTO at Encircle—a Velocity graduate—and on this week's show looks back at lessons learned from Velocity's growth (and how a huge space for Velocity Garage quickly became too small). I also take a quick look at some new data on Canada's venture capital...