Showing posts with label private equity business venture capital Onex Silicon Valley Charest Quebec RIM Cirque du Soleil Imax La Senza female entrepreneur small business owner economy Canada politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label private equity business venture capital Onex Silicon Valley Charest Quebec RIM Cirque du Soleil Imax La Senza female entrepreneur small business owner economy Canada politics. Show all posts

Canada’s Health

Canada is not a nation of entrepreneurs.
Take a tour of our history: we used to be great at operating businesses and embracing risk but then we fell into the tender trap of remaining a country of primary industry with government and educational systems to match. And living in Nova Scotia is no excuse. Microsoft and Starbucks bloomed in once sleepy cities. We are showing that we can have our RIMs, Cirques du Soleil, Imax and La Senzas that are attractive to the world. We also have private equity companies in the class of Onex to fund the growth of such world class businesses. What’s the problem? Truthfully? It is how much value we put in entrepreneurs and business.
In Quebec, the government is trying to encourage real Venture Capital activity and is moving in the direction of free enterprise by providing tax credits and reviewing its regulations. The Charest Government set up a Venture Capital Summit in Québec City and flew in top investors from Boston, New York and Silicon Valley as well as from across Canada. Before the convention began, the investors were invited to take a tour of the magnificent city of Quebec. A Quebecois youth stood at the front of the bus with his microphone and highlighted the architecture but then proudly told this busload of investors, fresh in from the frosty frontiers of free enterprise, his number one fact, making Quebec the best place in the world -- 60% of Quebeckers work for the government!

And that, in a nut shell, is the problem for the entrepreneurs of our country, along with the venture capital and private equity community.
This lack of empathy toward business is alarmingly endemic.
Entrepreneurial spirit begins with children and we need to ask what values we are passing along to the next generation? Is it a distrust of business and assertiveness often labelled as ‘American’? What do we value and who do we celebrate? Do we give our Canadian version of Bill Gates a platform on which to speak to others, or do we pull him down?
Private equity money is invested by entrepreneurs who take on an enormous risk highly aware that they could end up with zip for their efforts. Would you invest millions of your investment portfolio in a company developing an unknown power source or would you prefer to stash it in real estate?
Yet private equity people push past the timid and safe wallflowers in order to get up and dance, rather than wait to be asked. It is the visionaries like Michael Brown, co-founder of Ventures West Capital, who sink their money into emerging businesses with little track record of success. Brown invested seed capital into a start-up company working on a new power source and continued to assist in the growth capital. Today, this business, known as Ballard Power, is the world’s first and most successful fuel cell development corporation. It exists because Michael Brown had the guts to finance those entrepreneurs who believed Ballard could be global right from the start. Big rewards need big risks, but are Canadians too culturally anti-business, which frankly puts an alarming brake on how we keep a spot on the world’s dance card?
But moxy glows in the hearts of many Canadian business owners and through special partnership with private equity, it will thrive. “Entrepreneurs and the investors who finance them are cut from the same cloth,” says Dean Carol Stephenson, Richard Ivey School of Business. “They share a unique talent for seeing business opportunities where most of us see insurmountable obstacles, and they have the passion and drive to risk the climb. Essential to each other, together they are vital to economic growth, productivity, and job creation in Canada.”
Happy New Year to all you entrepreneurs out there!