Happy 150th! 6 Reasons Why I’m Proud to Build Our Startup in Canada
Wonderbra. Poutine. Caesars. Ryan Reynolds. Light bulbs. What do all of these things have in common?
They’re all Made in Canada!
This year, we celebrate 150 years of Canuck history. While there is much to celebrate from delicious food to pivotal inventions, here are several reasons why we are building our startup, AVA, in Canada:
1. WE PUT SOCIAL IMPACT FIRST.
From environmental activists like David Suzuki to impact investors . There are 150 Certified B Corps in Canada, making us the second largest community in the world. We have socially responsible banks like Vancity and Impak Finance. We even have impact-driven startup schools like Spring that receive a continuous stream of mission-driven entrepreneurs. AVA’s mission? To feed the world’s transition to sustainable food. Our employees gravitate towards our mission and vision, not hourly wage.
2. NOT JUST ANOTHER APP.
Vancouver alone is home to some incredible companies in 3D bio-printing, advanced robotics, quantum computing, and smart wearable technologies. There are an abundance of highly skilled universities in Canada with research arms specializing in life sciences, not to mention university entrepreneurship hubs (DMZ, VeloCity, e@UBC just to name a few) and government support in R&D of those technologies.
3. WE EMBRACE CULTURAL DIVERSITY.
Back in January, you may have seen an open letter circulate from the Canadian Tech Community titled “Diversity is Our Strength” in response to the Executive Order to block entry of citizens back into the United States.
Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to financially outperform. AVA’s startup family alone spans India, Phillipines, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan, China, Italy, Argentina, and Hong Kong.
4. WOMEN ARE ON THE RISE.
Majority women-owned SMEs represented over $117 billion of annual economic activity in Canada. It is because of this rising success that in March, the Business Development Bank of Canada announced $700-million in funding to finance women-led tech startups.
5. NARWHALS EXIST HERE.
Despite what the critics say about the Canadian ecosystem lacking funding and ambition to dream big, we have companies that have broken through these myths. You may have heard of a “narwhal,” which is a Canadian startup valued at C$1 Billion valuation or more. Narwhals are the Canadian equivalent of a unicorn, except based on a real animal. Some Canadian narwhals include Hootsuite (Vancouver), Slack (Vancouver), Kik (Waterloo), Shopify (Ottawa), and Avigilon (Vancouver).
6. THE GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS TECH.
Salary grant programs offer much needed support to early stage companies such as BCIC, Cleantech, IRAP Youth and Youth Green. On top of that, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development program (SR&ED) is a tax credit program that $4-billion annually to companies of all sizes in Canada. Recently, the Canadian government even announced the launch of the Innovation Supercluster Initiative to support large-scale collaboration of innovation ecosystem players.
If these 6 reasons weren’t enough, here’s the kicker. It is no secret that Vancouver has been voted time and time again as one of the ‘most liveable cities in the world.’ Now, Vancouver has also been voted among the most startup-friendly cities in the world and the best city for tech entrepreneurs in Canada. Who wouldn’t want to work in a beautiful city that sits between mountains and sea, and ranks as the top Green Canopy city in the world?
Happy Canada Day.
CEO at AVA