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37 minutes | 14 days ago
Diversity In/Action: Improving Inclusivity in the Tech Sector
It’s something that has the power to enable both empathy and exclusion; to provide us with new perspectives while simultaneously silencing other voices that deserve to be heard: technology.And while the tech platforms we interact with every day demonstrated their value in the lead-up to and during last year’s BLM protests, the companies and culture that created them have long-standing issues with diversity and inclusion. In this Black History Month episode of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, John Stackhouse is pleased to welcome as co-host Michael Carter, the Global Head of Technology Investment Banking at RBC Capital Markets in New York, for a compelling and complex conversation about the fight for equity in the tech sector. They’ll be joined by another voice that’s sure to be familiar to longtime listeners; Dax Dasilva, the CEO of Montreal-based Lightspeed Inc, who will share his perspective as a member of, and crusader for, both the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. The challenges are numerous: securing more investment funding for Black entrepreneurs, breaking down geographical barriers to diversity, and maintaining focus on the fight for racial justice in the face of other crises, like the pandemic. As you’ll hear from Tamar Huggins-Grant, the Founder and Executive Director of Tech Spark Canada, it’s not going to be a comfortable journey, but that’s OK, because she believes there has to be some level of discomfort if we really want things to change. Notes:For details on Lightspeed’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, click HERE. Dax Dasilva wrote an editorial in last summer’s Globe and Mail about the role of CEOs in fostering diversity, and he was also John’s guest on a previous episode of Disruptors: ”Diversity x Inclusion x Innovation”. John also discussed the lack of Black representation in the tech sector in February of last year, in the episode ”Why Are There So Few Black Entrepreneurs in Canadian Tech?”. Details on Tech Spark Canada’s mission to increase inclusivity in the technology sector are at techspark.ca. To learn more about Michael Carter’s background and work promoting innovation, inclusion, and diversity, click HERE. You can use the following links to read up on RBC’s Purpose, Vision, and Values, Community and Social Impact, and efforts to promote Diversity & Inclusion.
36 minutes | a month ago
The Business of Benevolence: How Technology is Changing Charitable Giving in Canada
It’s something that’s always been a part of the Canadian identity, but has taken on a new urgency over the past twelve months: our tendency to support charities, non-profits, and community organizations. In 2018, Canada’s charitable sector was the second largest on the planet, and we also had one of the highest rates of volunteerism in the world, trailing only the United States, New Zealand, and Norway. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic.On this episode of Disruptors, an RBC Podcast, host John Stackhouse is joined by Kelly Schmitt, the incoming CEO of Benevity, in her first major interview since being announced as the next head of the Calgary-based company that’s trying to “infuse a culture of goodness into the world”. Together, John and Kelly dig into the challenges charities have been facing — both before and during the pandemic — and how the digital pivots many groups had to pull off almost overnight could signal a fundamental change to the way organizations raise funds in the future. This podcast also features appearances from Todd Minerson, Country Director, Canada, at Movember, Eric Windeler, the Founder and Executive Director of Jack.org, and Luc Hartwick, the Rocketman Team Lead at RBC Ventures. Together, they challenge some of the conventional wisdom about the way charities do their important work, and provide invaluable insight into how nonprofits must evolve their operations and their thinking to thrive in the years ahead. Notes:You can click the following links to learn more about Benevity and its journey to ‘unicorn’ status. For details on the charities featured in this episode and the work they’re doing in our communities, visit Movember.com and Jack.org. For more on how RBC Ventures partners with entrepreneurs and industry leaders to create products and services that go beyond banking, visit RBCVentures.ca. In this podcast, John also refers to a previous Disruptors episode about gaming and esports, featuring a segment on the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, which you can find HERE.
37 minutes | 2 months ago
2021, Year of the Gamer: How Video Game Culture is Conquering Canada and the World
Did anyone in your household wake up to find a new video game, virtual reality headset, or console under the tree over the holidays? Do your kids spend hours on end online, watching their favourite gamers on Twitch, Tik-Tok, or YouTube? Is your business struggling to connect with young people, those elusive members of Gen-Z who don’t watch TV, listen to radio, or read newspapers? If your answer to any of those questions is ‘yes’, this podcast is definitely for you.On this episode of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, it’s ‘game on’, as host John Stackhouse dives into what are likely unfamiliar waters for most people over a certain age; the world of gaming, influencers, and esports. It’s projected to become a $300 billion dollar business over the next decade, and as John hears from his main guest, Adrian Montgomery, the CEO of Toronto’s Enthusiast Gaming, a staggering percentage of young people now consider it a key component of their very identities. Add it all up, and you’ll learn why gaming has become a critical conduit for reaching and engaging with that increasingly influential demographic in 2021, as Canada struggles to recover from the pandemic. John and Adrian will also hear from other organizations on the front lines of this disruption: Josh Marcus, the co-founder of Rumble Gaming and MKM Esports; Kevin Truong, the Head of Esports & Gaming at the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation; and Tawanda Masawi, the CEO & co-founder of GameSeta eSports. Over the course of the conversation, they touch on a surprisingly broad range of topics, including the U.S. Presidential Race, how esports could supplant traditional sports, and even Sidney Crosby’s golden goal for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics. Notes:You can click the following links to learn more about the companies and organizations mentioned in this episode: Enthusiast Gaming, Rumble Gaming, GameSeta Esports, and the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation’s Quest to Conquer Cancer. The latest numbers on video game spending in Canada can be found HERE. For further reading, we recommend Game On! A Look at the Economics of eSports, from RBC Direct Investing, and eSports: About To Go Mainstream, a previous Disruptors piece from December of 2017.
38 minutes | 2 months ago
Pandemics, Pivots, and Predictions: Looking Back on 2020 and Ahead to 2021
Extraordinary. Unprecedented. Devastating. There’s no shortage of words that have been used to describe everything Canadians have endured over the past 12 months. COVID-19 has fundamentally disrupted our daily lives to such a degree that -- even though a vaccine is now being rolled out -- the ripple effects will be felt for years to come. But what will this “new normal” look like for businesses? Which changes will stick around, and which ones will disappear along with the pandemic? And how will the needs of consumers continue to evolve as we turn another page on our calendars?On this special, year-end episode of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, host John Stackhouse welcomes back a voice that’s sure to be familiar to regular listeners; Theresa Do from RBC’s Thought Leadership Team. Together, they talk to a series of business leaders from across the country who’ve had to pivot their operations in dramatic and unexpected ways over the past year. They also delve into RBC’s world-class research to find out what these changes could signal about what’s coming our way in 2021.This episode also features appearances from Soslan Tsoutsiev, the President of Transformer Table; Brandon Grossutti, the founder of FromTo; Andrew Feenstra, the owner of Cyclesmith; Alisha Esmail, the founder of Road Coffee Company; and Lisa Helps, the Mayor of Victoria, British Columbia. But listen until the very end and it’s Antoni Cimolino, the Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival of Canada, who will leave you feeling inspired and maybe even moved, with a poignant anecdote about the resilience of live theatre in times of pandemic. Notes:The following organizations are featured on this podcast: The Stratford Festival of Canada, Transformer Table, Road Coffee Company, FromTo, and Cyclesmith. You can learn more about the City of Victoria’s pandemic recovery plan HERE. Click the following links to read the full RBC reports on ‘8 Ways COVID will Transform the Economy and Disrupt Every Business’ and ‘Navigating 2021. You can find more world-class research on RBC’s Thought Leadership page. These previous episodes of Disruptors were also mentioned in this podcast: “Beyond the Cart: How Grocery Commerce is Transforming,” “To Go Please: How Food Delivery Platforms are Transforming Restaurants,” and “Open Oceans, Open Opportunity: Mapping Canada’s Role in the Blue Economy”.
36 minutes | 3 months ago
Impersonal Information: Data and Privacy Protection in 2020 and Beyond
What do digital privacy and COVID-19 have in common with climate change, Kompromat, counter-espionage hackers, and the new Netflix movie “The Social Dilemma”? They’re just a few of the many topics that come up in a timely and compelling conversation with Canada’s so-called “Hacker King”, on the latest episode of Disruptors, an RBC podcast.On the heels of new federal privacy legislation, host John Stackhouse sits down with Ron Deibert, founder of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and author of Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society. They discuss how, in an era of record-breaking data generation and high profile digital security breaches, Canadian businesses can learn to access the potential of data and manage the risks by taking a wide-angled, interdisciplinary approach.Featuring a guest appearance from Kevin Chan, Facebook Canada’s Head of Public Policy, this episode is essential listening for anyone concerned about the lack of strong protocols governing the collection of our online data. The concern is well-founded. But be sure to listen through to the end, because as you’ll hear from Ron, there are still reasons for optimism. Notes:You can learn more about the Citizen Lab’s work at the University of Toronto HERE, or on Ron Deibert’s personal website. The latest numbers about the impact of cybersecurity incidents on businesses can be found on Statistics Canada’s website or in the Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity’s National Cyber Threat Assessment 2020. Kevin Chan recently co-wrote an editorial about social media regulation that was published in the Globe and Mail, and you can hear him on a previous episode of Disruptors about the dangers of deepfake technology. John also refers to a previous episode about the Intangibles Economy from November 24th when he mentioned Canadian IP leaving the country.
33 minutes | 3 months ago
The Intangibles Economy: How to Make Canada an IP Powerhouse
It’s a term that’s been front and centre this fall, as the federal government considers ways to shepherd Canada out of the economic downturn caused by COVID: intellectual property. But what exactly is IP -- and how could it be central to the recovery?On this episode of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, host John Stackhouse sits down for a no-holds-barred conversation with one of Canada’s most outspoken tech and innovation advocates: Jim Balsillie, a businessman, philanthropist, former co-CEO of Research in Motion, and Chair of Council of Canadian Innovators. Balsillie believes there’s simply too much at stake to continue the Canada’s current approach to innovation, which he says has allowed foreign companies to cannibalize our businesses, pulling the benefits of IP research and development out of the country. Balsillie believes we’re at a pivotal moment, in which our economic prosperity, digital sovereignty, even our national security, could be impacted for years to come.Over the course of the conversation, Jim and John will also hear from CCI’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Dana O’Born, and from a Canadian business leader who has successfully leveraged IP to grow his company. Jason Tham, the CEO of Nulogy will touch on the lessons he learned and discuss what needs to be done differently if Canada is indeed to become an IP powerhouse.Notes:Click the following links to learn more about the Canadian Council of Innovators, its recent open letter to the Prime Minister about nation building, and its plan for economic recovery. To read the Government of Canada’s National IP Strategy, click HERE. Jim Balsillie’s call for a national data strategy made headlines in the Financial Post and Toronto Star back in 2018.For more information about the businesses mentioned in this episode, visit Nulogy.com and Geocomply.com. If you enjoyed this conversation, you may also want to listen to these previous Disruptors episodes: Beyond Silicon Valley: Why We Need a Global Playbook For Innovation, and Global Canadians: The Tech Sector’s Secret weapon.
34 minutes | 4 months ago
From Connected Cows to Smart Cities: Enabling the 5G Economy
There’s been no shortage of hype. Now, after years of headlines heralding it as a transformative technology, an evolution in wireless service, even a “game changer for humanity,” 5G is finally being rolled out across Canada by the big three telecom providers. But are we ready to make the most of it? And what does 5G’s arrival really mean for consumers and businesses? The possibilities are legitimately exciting.On this episode of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, host John Stackhouse examines the true potential of this next-generation of wireless networks, as well as the apps and devices they will enable, with the help of the President of Bell Mobility, Claire Gillies. Together, they tackle the full spectrum of questions surrounding 5G, including why it’s really more of a “revolution” than an evolution, and how it will transform everything from healthcare to agriculture. You’ll definitely want to hear about the driverless combine John once saw rolling across the open prairie in Saskatchewan. Or about how 5G might finally make it easy to park downtown. You’ll get to hear about one of the cities on the front lines of adapting to this new economy. Cyrus Tehrani, the Chief Digital Officer for the City of Hamilton, shares his thoughts on how 5G will “level up” some of the services people depend on every day. And Keith Ponton, a Senior Systems Consultant from IBI group with decades of experience in the telecom business, offers his perspective on how Canada compares to other countries in the 5G race, and where the greatest opportunities for advancement lie. Notes:Two previous pieces from RBC’s Thought Leadership team are mentioned in this episode. Click the links to read Farmer 4.0: How the Coming Skills Revolution Can Transform Agriculture, and Paging Dr. Data: How the Coming Skills Revolution Can Transform Healthcare. For details on Hamilton, Ontario’s ‘Digital Transformation’, you can visit the city’s website. To learn more about IBI Group’s work in the fields of engineering, planning, transportation and technology, click HERE. And for the latest on Bell Mobility’s rollout of 5G services, go to Bell.ca.
28 minutes | 4 months ago
Can an Algorithm Be Racist? The Growing Push for Ethical AI
From facial recognition software that fails to recognize women and people of colour, to Twitter algorithms which seem to prefer white faces in photo previews, there’s been no shortage of negative headlines about artificial intelligence over the past few months. But whether we like it or not, AI is at work all around us, all the time, and there’s a growing movement to make sure it’s being used in an ethical way.A new survey from RBC’s world-class artificial intelligence research center, Borealis AI, reveals that most businesses in Canada believe it’s important to implement AI responsibly, but 93% experience barriers in doing so, like cost, time, or lack of understanding. And barely over half of them have someone on the payroll who’s responsible for ethical data and AI practices.On this episode of RBC Disruptors, host John Stackhouse re-connects with the head of Borealis AI and RBC’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Foteini Agrafioti, to learn about a new online hub called RESPECT AI, aimed at making open source resource code, tutorials, academic research, and lectures available to the entire AI community. He also sits down for a frank and challenging conversation about the risks and rewards of AI with Ruha Benjamin, a sociologist and an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton, and Saadia Muzaffar, a Canadian entrepreneur, author, and the founder of TechGirls Canada. Notes:To learn more about Borealis AI, the work it’s doing, and its new RESPECT AI campaign, you can visit www.borealisai.com. RBC’s Thought Leadership Group has also published a new paper exploring ethical challenges in AI, which can be found at rbc.com/thoughtleadership. Ruha Benjamin’s website features a wide range of research and resources related to her studies on race, justice, and technology. For details on how Saadia Muzafffar’s non-profit organization is breaking down barriers for diversity and equity in science and technology, go to techgirls.ca. You can hear previous episodes of Disruptors on the subject of artificial intelligence here: AI for Good: Battling Bias Before it Becomes IrreversibleAI For Good: In Conversation with Foteini Agrafioti
35 minutes | 5 months ago
Apps, Anxiety, and Adolescence: Youth Mental Health in the Age of Covid
It was already a challenge, even before the pandemic: helping young people and their families navigate Canada’s complex, fragmented mental health system. But experts say COVID could also serve as a catalyst for much-needed change, an opportunity to make meaningful improvements. Just like the rest of us, young people are spending more time than ever in front of screens; up to 7.5 hours per day, in the case of high school students. But those same apps and social media sites that are taking up more of our days could also be a force for good, as long as we use the right ones, in the right ways.In honour of World Mental Health Day, this episode of RBC Disruptors delves into the potential risks and rewards of our growing dependence on technology during the pandemic. Host John Stackhouse sits down with two leaders in the field of youth mental health; Doctor Joanna Henderson, clinical psychologist, and director at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, and Doctor Yuri Quintana, the Chief of the Division of Clinical Informatics at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He also hears from Shauna MacEachern, the executive director of Frayme, which leads a global network that connects young people with mental health and social services here in Canada and around the world.Together, they discuss the explosion in the number of health and wellness apps that are available, how those apps can and should be evaluated for effectiveness, and what else needs to happen in order to break down barriers to accessing mental health services in Canada. You’ll also hear about the importance of collaborating with youth, and involving them in the development process, in order to ensure their needs are being met by a system that has historically failed to do so. To learn more about the organizations mentioned in this episode, and the important work they’re doing, you can visit their websites: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterHomewood Research InstituteFrayme: Youth Mental Health ResourcesYou can read the announcement about RBC’s partnership with HRI to study the effectiveness of mental health apps HERE. If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, help is available. Visit the Government of Canada’s Mental Health Support page for links and phone numbers.
35 minutes | 5 months ago
The SheEO Model: How Female Entrepreneurs Can Lead the Recovery
Canadian women entrepreneurs are a dynamic and powerful economic force. After all, women own and operate almost one-third of all firms in Canada, and they start businesses one-and-a-half times more often than men, driving more than 117-billion dollars of economic activity per year. In other words -- if we want full economic recovery, we need to make sure female entrepreneurs are being given the tools they need. In this episode of Disruptors, powered by RBC, John Stackhouse speaks with Vicki Saunders -- founder of SheEO, an organization of "women supporting women-led Ventures working on the world’s to-do list,” about how different funding models and community-based networking can make a difference. He also speaks to Nita Tandon, founder, and CEO of Dalcini Stainless Incorporated, and Chenny Xia, co-founder of Gotcare -- Canada's largest self-directed home care provider, about how women do business differently, and the importance of the triple bottom line.Some of the great organizations RBC partners with, to support women in business:SheEO, RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, Stand Up Ventures, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women and Dress for Success, and Catalyst.
37 minutes | 5 months ago
8 Ways COVID is Still Disrupting the Economy
The past eight months have been an unprecedented time of disruption in Canada. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everything from how we work, learn, and shop to how we travel, entertain ourselves, and obviously, take care of ourselves when we get sick. Businesses have been forced to adapt almost overnight or close. Entire industries have been forced to pivot, and supply chains around the world have been strained or severed completely.It’s against that backdrop that the RBC Thought Leadership Team released a document back in May called “8 Ways COVID Will Disrupt the Economy and Transform Every Business,” to give people a little guidance in these tumultuous times. But it’s clear now that the effects of COVID are here for the long-haul, which is why RBC’s experts and analysts have come together again to update their perspectives based on the very latest trends and data.On this episode of RBC Disruptors, host John Stackhouse discusses the newly-updated report with one of the members of the RBC Thought Leadership Team who helped write it, Strategist Theresa Do. They’ll also hear from special guests, including the CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Matthew Loden, Juno Award-winning singer/songwriter Jill Barber, the global head of public relations for Expedia, Nisreene Atassi, and influential sports marketer Mary De Paoli, who also happens to be an Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at RBC. Join them, for a fascinating exploration of COVID’s ongoing impact on the economy, and on our lives in general.You can read the full, updated ‘8 Ways’ report here: www.rbc.com/8trends. You’ll also hear John refer to another RBC podcast, the “10 Minute Take.” You can find that episode at thoughtleadership.rbc.com/can-pro-sports-stage-an-epic-comeback/. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s COVID-related update is here: www.tso.ca/covid19, and you can listen to Jill Barber’s latest album here: www.jillbarber.com/. Nisreene Atassi is also the host of Expedia’s “Out Travel the System”, which you can find wherever you download podcasts. RBC Disruptors is created by the RBC Thought Leadership group of RBC, and does not constitute a recommendation for any organization, product, or service. It is produced and recorded by JAR Audio. For more RBC Disruptors content, like and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and visit the Thought Leadership page at rbc.com
36 minutes | 5 months ago
How the NEXT Generation of Entrepreneurs Could Kickstart a Wave of Change
When others see obstacles, entrepreneurs see opportunities. Nowhere is that more true than the up-and-coming generation of business minds, many fostered through NEXT Canada. The organization gives entrepreneurs a boost through education, mentorship, funding, and access to a strong entrepreneurial network.In this episode of RBC Disruptors, host John Stackhouse speaks with three members of NEXT’s Class of 2020, who have bold goals for reshaping economic and social systems and the environment - which could have wide-ranging impacts for Canada and the world as a whole. They speak confidently, clearly, and urgently about the imperative for better solutions, right now.Myra Arshad is the Founder and CEO of ALT TEX, an intriguing B2B sustainable textile solution. It takes paper and food waste and agricultural by-products and converts them into carbon-neutral, biodegradable fabrics.Natasha Dhayagude is the Co-Founder and CEO of Chinova Bioworks. The company’s focus is revolutionizing the food and preservation process, by developing a natural preservative extracted from the stems of white button mushrooms.Zach McMahon is the Co-Founder and CEO of LUCID, which is building AI music therapy products. It places music at the centre of not only mood-building, but mental health, thanks in part to AI analysis.
31 minutes | 5 months ago
Cancon and Beyond - How Wattpad Is Becoming a Global Content Destination and Distributor
COVID lockdown restrictions have boosted the desire to consume creative content higher than ever. What’s new about this era is where the content is coming from -- a diversity of voices from around the globe, not originally directly linked to traditional publishing firms, production companies, or movie studios. We explore this phenomenon in this episode of RBC Disruptors by looking into the origin story of Wattpad. As co-founder and CEO Allen Lau tells host John Stackhouse, the company was inspired by the desire for a good app for reading on mobile phones. Now, it’s turned into a content powerhouse, with more than 4 million writers uploading stories in 50 different languages. The most promising are turned into books, T.V. shows, and movies, like The Kissing Booth, After We Collided, and She’s With Me, thanks in part to Wattpad’s custom AI engine. It’s a global company with global perspectives, but Lau believes it’s also important to represent Canadian perspectives on the world stage. This episode of RBC Disruptorslooks at a whole new viewpoint on Canadian content.
36 minutes | 6 months ago
Genomics and the Bio-Revolution: A roadmap for Canada's economic recovery.
It's a branch of molecular biology that humans have been harnessing for centuries, but has come to carry a negative connotation for many Canadians due to concerns about genetically modified organisms: Genomics.A recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that as much as 60% of the physical inputs to the global economy could be produced biologically, with potential savings of up to 4 TRILLION dollars per year. And as Canada works to recover from the COVID crisis, bio-manufacturing is also being billed as a massive opportunity to address issues like the supply chain vulnerabilities revealed by pandemic, as well as our reliance on foreign factories.On this episode of RBC Disruptors, host John Stackhouse sits down with two of the country's top experts on Genomics; Doctor Rob Annan, the President and CEO of Genome Canada, and Doctor Bettina Hamelin, the President and CEO of Ontario Genomics, to learn more about the opportunities presented by the so-called "bio-revolution". He also delves into the regulatory, economic, and ethical barriers that exist, and the risks of being left behind if Canadian entrepreneurs fail to embrace this potentially transformational change.Show notes:The McKinsey Global Institute's report on the Bio-Revolution can be found here:https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/pharmaceuticals-and-medical-products/our-insights/the-bio-revolution-innovations-transforming-economies-societies-and-our-livesJohn also references a previous episode of Disruptors featuring Canadian author Alex Lazarow, called "Beyond Silicon Valley: Why We Need a Global Playbook for Innovation," which was originally released on August 4th, 2020.
31 minutes | 6 months ago
Concrete: An unlikely hero in the climate crisis
The world is on track to add as many people to cities in the next 40 years as we have in the last 40 centuries. Those new buildings and roads will require a lot of concrete, which historically was an economically and environmentally inefficient building material. However, new innovators are leveraging technology to tackle both of those problems. The challenge they face, though, is around policy and building momentum. Right now, regulations prohibit some concrete manufacturers from innovating, even as more companies are demanding climate action. Key takeaways: City and rural dwellers alike are impacted by inefficient concrete and should advocate for the use of climate-friendly building materials.Climate entrepreneurs like CarbonCure provide solutions that can turn legacy materials into an engine for environmental good. Canada has all the ecosystem support - talent, knowledge, and global connections - necessary to lead the climate entrepreneurship race. What’s missing is policy action and market signals from governments that climate-friendly building materials should be prioritized.
41 minutes | 6 months ago
Disruptors Revisited: The Next Generation of Entrepreneurship
Following last week’s International Youth Day, Canadian youth might feel like they have few things to celebrate. As one of the hardest-hit groups in the COVID-induced economic decline, they’re faced with a staggering 30% unemployment rate and potential long-term career setbacks. Youth need support more than ever, and the economy needs them. To rebuild, we need to tap into the energy and creativity of young people to reimagine what’s possible. In this episode, we revisit an RBC Disruptors conversation from September, 2019 with Julia Kirouac and Braden Ream, two 20-something founders who decided to start their own ventures. They share how they dove headfirst into their businesses, while also navigating the barriers of being young entrepreneurs.
28 minutes | 7 months ago
Open Oceans, Open Opportunity: Mapping Canada’s Role in the Blue Economy
Oceans provide safety, a way of life, economic sustainability, and food for the entire planet, yet over 80% of the world’s oceans are unmapped and unexplored. Now, we have the tools and technology to empower true ocean discovery. The limited knowledge we have of oceans has already produced trillions of dollars in economic benefit and insight that led to life-saving medications. With data and a renewed focus on building a sustainable future, the world’s oceans can yet again provide an unparalleled opportunity for growth. Key takeaways: Everyone is impacted when oceans aren’t cared for as food supplies, shipping industries, and national security depend on healthy oceans. Entrepreneurs, academics, and investors should collectively focus their creative energies on thinking about the triple bottom line: environment, community, and profit. This requires working with and learning from Indigenous communities since much of our coastline is cared for by Indigenous peoples.Canada has the right opportunities and resources to lead in ocean innovation, but what’s missing is a critical mass of advocacy for a sustainable future for oceans.
28 minutes | 7 months ago
Beyond Silicon Valley: Why We Need a Global Playbook For Innovation
Nearly 10 years ago, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously claimed that “software is eating the world.” But today, a new crop of “frontier innovators” are straying away from disrupting existing industries with software in favour of building new industries, improving current innovation models, and addressing market gaps that Silicon Valley ignored. In his new book, Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley, Alex Lazarow interviews more than 200 entrepreneurs from around the world about their challenges, success stories, and what he calls the "frontier," the growing constellation of startup ecosystems, outside of the Valley. On this episode of RBC Disruptors, Alex and John discuss the shift from the equity model in venture capital, what it means to be born global, and the future of innovation in Canada, and around the worldKey takeaways: Founders don’t have to settle for cash-for-equity venture capital, and should explore new models around partnerships or royalties. Every innovator needs to be “born global,” and look at the whole world as a potential market. The Silicon Valley playbook is not the only way to succeed, and founders need to consider how they are building businesses that make an impact, not just a profit.
37 minutes | 7 months ago
Disruptors Revisited: Data is Bigger than Oil
To succeed in the post-COVID economy, businesses will need more than just a pivot to digital – they’ll need to lean into and harness data to gain an advantage. As the COVID crisis disrupts traditional business models, it’s more important than ever for companies to understand how to leverage data on user behaviour, sales trends, and other variables to re-position themselves for the future. In this episode, we revisit an earlier RBC Disruptors conversation from February, 2020 with Sam Sebastian, CEO of Pelmorex Corp, which owns The Weather Network, on how firms can capitalize on data to gain an edge and grow their business.
25 minutes | 7 months ago
App-to-Table: How Tech Can Help Restaurants Rebound
Building a successful company takes a community, and SkipTheDishes is no different. A Winnipeg success story, the food delivery platform has over 25,000 restaurants in its community. John Stackhouse sits down with SkipTheDishes CEO Kevin Edwards, who shares the founding story of Skip, how the company is helping its restaurant community with a $24 million commitment during COVID-19, and why the company is so focused on building a supportive environment for the next tech success story. Key takeaways: The future of restaurants is a hybrid – the ones that will thrive will draw people in but also reach out to customers and connect with them in unique ways. Restaurants need to become digital natives and harness the power of social to engage their customers.Canada has no shortage of tech talent, but for tech companies to thrive, they need to scale, and to harness the power of data.
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