Hey team - looking for advice/suggestions/anecdotes about outsourcing grant writing. I'm looking for someone to not only be knowledgeable about what grants exist and their criteria, but also understand how to put together the application. Does anyone have any experience with this? Did you find getting someone helpful? Where did you find this person? ... See MoreSee Less
18 months ago I launched my latest technology company, not just from small town Ontario, but literally a town called 'Tiny'.
Canada is a vast, beautiful country and there are many great companies being built all over the place. While our urban centers and tech corridors get all the attention, there are many startups like mine trying to make a go of it (and succeeding!) in medium or small centers.
I wanted to share my story about the challenges and advantages (yes, there are advantages) to building a technology company in a small town. I will use the blog to share my experience, lessons learned and to impart my words of wisdom on being a tech entrepreneur in a non-traditional location.
Check out our 'Tiny Startup' blog to learn more about the GymNext story and follow along. ... See MoreSee Less
Bob MinhasHey Duane Homick! Great idea with the blog.
I enjoy the honour of being your first point of contact when you moved to Simcoe County. Before all the other superstars got ya. ;)
I love you using your story as an example for our other Entrepreneurs in the County. Showing them being in the area is never a deterrent as long as you have the right tribe around you.
Remember as you continue to grow and find a question or two no one else seems to know, you can still reach out. :)
Elena Yunusovoh wow. kind of glad I wasn't there.. I know just how this kind of thing would make me feel
2 days ago · 7
Amanda LevinA great share and an important discussion to have. "It is also a stark reminder that having a few women in the mix doesn’t mean that the conversation will necessarily change."
2 days ago · 12
Douglas SoltysThis is probably going to spur a lot of conversation, and before it ramps up too much, I just like to be on the record saying that John Philip Green I appreciate the care you take in creating context/space for these important conversations. You, for one, don't compare people to Trump.
Alyssa AtkinsI have both publicly and privately pressed Next Canada to take its gender imbalance seriously. Have been constantly assured that the org is "working on it". Such an egregious display of poor judgement (or blatant disregard?) shows my imploring has fallen of deaf ears.
Claire AtkinThank you for your support. It means the world to me. If there is anything you need to bolster your argument, please let me know. Signed, a women in tech
2 days ago · 11
Rena WangJust reminded me of a conversation I had with someone at Beyond the Code - about gender inequality in tech. Literally a diversity event and the dude tells me: "Oh, well other people have it hard too. Women here should be grateful."
Well, I guess if you put it that way...
2 days ago · 8
Christian LassondeI’m the VC friend that shared this with John Philip Green, full kudos to him for starting this conversation. I didn’t attend the Spotlight awards, I had to attend another event that night. If I was there I would like to think I would have said something much sooner.
What they did was unacceptable to my mind. I've shared my thoughts with them privately. Here is hoping they step up and do the right thing.
And even bigger kudos to Petra Kassun-Mutch, who I don't know, for be brave, going against the bro-culture, and calling out bullshit when she saw it.
Kamil RextinI was puzzled by the thumbnail and then it made sense. Wow.
2 days ago · 2
Erin GrahamWow. I didn't know about this. I am not so much a woman in tech but an angel investor who loves this space. I was at the first Toronto chapter of CultureLabx last night, which was raising money for Ladies Learning Code, and the speaker was... CEO of Next himself. Disappointed that I was tweeting comments that now seem rather disingenuous.
Jaxson KhanI wrote to NEXT Canada/N36 last week to ask why Claudia Hepburn was not mentioned in the press release. I have yet to hear back. Update: They have modified the release on their website. It now names all co-founders, including Claudia. They also said to me: "she is a big reason why we are where we are today. She has always been on the website and our top award at Venture Day is the Hepburn Valedictorian Award in her honour." www.nextcanada.com/pdfs/NEXT-Canada-press.pdf
Gilbert Jason BaileyDouglas Soltys and John Philip Green. I don't think there has to be a lot of sensitivity. I don't think there is much room for differences of opinion. You are either on the right side of history or the wrong side of it. Where this one lies is not up to 'opinion'. #Because2016
Mark MacLeodOurs should be the most progressive industry. I caught a bunch of slack on this group in January for saying I was looking for a female analyst. I was accused of bias but it led to finding Rena Wang. If we don't proactively force change we will get more of the same. My firm is 1/3 white male. But we need to work harder on gender.
2 days ago · 37
Daneal CharneyMichael Moore's recent film, "where to invade next" talks about several countries including France and Germany getting to 1/3rd women execs through a quota. One woman in leadership is token, 2 is a minority, 3 finally starts to change the conversation.
2 days ago · 6
John MacRitchieWhat the hell were they thinking? If I had put together an event with this feature, I would be fired. If I brought my boss to this event I would have been very embarrassed and it would have cost my credibility as well as that of the event and its organizers. Stuff like this works against us on so many levels.
1 day ago · 7
Malgosia GreenI will take full responsibility for John being cautious on this matter. I'm always reticent to publicly call somebody out and shame them over something. They could have been honestly unaware or oblivious to the matter. God knows I put my foot in my mouth on many occasions. I personally find it more effective to reach out privately and have an honest, tempered conversation. People are less likely to get their backs up and become polarized. It was a great event overall with a great theme and a good cause. Do I agree with the choice of server staff and after party venue? Definitely not.
Vicki SaundersFeedback to N36 - newly rebranded NextCanada - has fallen on deaf ears for years and has recently been met with "hush up" emails to grads from the program who have called them out. This group is #notMYnextCanada
1 day ago · 16
Jill EarthyWe absolutely need to call these situations out publicly but in a constructive way. It needs to be Men & Women working together to make this change by creating new environments supportive of all.
1 day ago · 6
Anthony ReinhartIt's mystifying that this kind of thing continues to happen. By now, shouldn't it be a self-evident truth that it's just wrong? I'm impressed by the author's courage in calling it out, but embarrassed that it was necessary at all.
21 hours ago · 2
Conway FraserSolid post. Many thanks for sharing. I have seen this kind of sexist behaviour dog the mining sector for years. As it tries desperately to evolve, it still gets dragged down by a minority of ill-guided, outdated relics. As the father of two young women, I do everything I can to call out this kind of behaviour with the hope it makes some small difference for them. I wrote a blog about an incident recently that may resonate in this thread. Posts like the one we're discussing are helpful in raising awareness as sunshine is often the best disinfectant. conwayfraser.com/2016/08/11/sex-sells/
19 hours ago · 1
James MartindaleIs anyone surprised? Founders are often delusional and seeking to mould companies in their "own" image. As a result most start up's fight the need for HR and the politically correct procedure that comes with it for as long as possible. Start Up's are by nature disruptive but that does not mean they are leaders in anything. It's great that this event has been called out as it will hopefully make more of us take a look at our actions and how they effect others. Thanks for sharing John Philip Green. All organisations should be inclusive if they ever want to hit their optimum.
19 hours ago
Yves BoudreauThis issue spans far wider than what happened at the Spotlight awards. Earlier this month, I attended Tech Summer Social with three other members of my team, all women, and the behaviour of some of the individuals that evening was ridiculous. (i.e. "Why do you live in Atlantic Canada? You should move to Toronto so you can stay at my place and cook me breakfast"... wtf?). The "bro-culture" in tech startups is alive and well.
Varun MathurShocked to read this and some comments above with other similar occurrences. We need an un-event! I don't have the skills to schmooze -- talking to people when I don't have anything to offer/or they don't have anything to offer to me is a very awkward place to be. "Yeah, so how is the weather.." No, stop, I don't care...that data point is trivial...during this time I could have read few very interesting medium posts during that time or coded/designed/strategized something.. I have dark circles under my eyes from all the late nights in front of a computer so I definitely won't fit in a "beautiful place with paid beautiful models". Invite me to a boring, coffee/code/computer friendly un-beautiful, ugly and inclusive for everybody event, and I will show up and help you with something and get something out of it too. Can somebody step up and put an event like that together ? A local start-up with space to offer ?
17 hours ago · 3
Sabrina PoirierI wish I was more surprised. I'm guessing though, that many women reading this will not be either.
Glad someone was brave enough to share. Hope it'll help highlight the work that still needs to be done.
17 hours ago · 4
Douglas SoltysStatement from Razor Suleman and Next Canada board pasted below.
Message from NEXT Canada CEO, Razor Suleman
In recent days, a number of people have raised concerns regarding the Spotlight Awards. The decision to use female models as staff at the event, in addition to the choice of venue for the after party were unacceptable and showed poor judgement on my part. For this, I unreservedly apologize.
As you may know, the Spotlight Awards - created by my wife Kari and I - celebrates the rising tide of Canadian entrepreneurship in the technology sector. I am very proud of what we have accomplished, and that's why I am regretful that my decisions cast the event and its association with NEXT Canada in a poor light.
In my new capacity as CEO of NEXT Canada, I have a unique opportunity to make positive change for women in the tech industry. Together, I hope we will set an example for others in our industry to follow. That's why I am so grateful that the Board of Directors has committed to continue to address gender diversity at our organization.
CEO, NEXT Canada
Message from the NEXT Canada Board of Directors
Recent events have created increased interest in our organization. Unfortunately, not all of this attention has been positive and we take the issues that have been raised about the Spotlight Awards and NEXT Canada's lack of gender diversity very seriously. As a result, we took some time to thoroughly evaluate the situation in order to ensure that we are thoughtful and substantive in our response.
When we became aware of concerns from our stakeholders, we struck a special committee of the NEXT Canada Board of Directors to examine the issues that were raised.
With regard to the Spotlight Awards, the special committee confirmed that Mr. Suleman's decisions were unacceptable. Mr. Suleman has unreservedly apologized to our board and recognizes his error in judgement. Following a thorough discussion, the Board of Directors has accepted his apology and has full confidence in Mr. Suleman's ability to lead this organization going forward.
The special committee also examined the concerns raised about the lack of gender diversity at the NEXT Canada board level, in senior management, as well as with mentors and speakers. In recent days, we have heard feedback from inside and outside the organization about the desire to be a leader where gender diversity is concerned. We acknowledge that we can and must do better in this regard.
In order to further address the issues of inclusivity and gender parity at NEXT Canada, the special committee of the board, working with Mr. Suleman, has been tasked with:
1. Strengthening and enhancing the organization's code of conduct and mandate that additional procedures be put in place to provide future oversight for decisions related to events and partnerships. As the CEO, Mr. Suleman was the first to sign this enhanced code of conduct. Every member of the organization will soon follow suit, and will be governed by the new code of conduct going forward.
2. Retaining an independent expert to conduct an organizational review. The review will examine every aspect of the organization to ensure policies, procedures and training are sensitive to gender diversity. The special committee will report back to the NEXT Canada Board of Directors in 45 days with recommendations to increase female participation at all levels of NEXT Canada.
3. Recognizing the Province of Ontario's call for gender diversity targets and adopt the province's proposed benchmark and ensure 40 per cent of the NEXT Canada Board of Directors consists of women within three years.
4. Providing gender diversity training and education for the NEXT Canada Board of Directors and all staff by the end of 2016 and sustain this training with onboarding of new staff, executives and board members.
While there is more work to be done, we are proud that the percentage of women that are accepted to NEXT Canada is steadily increasing. In fact, over the last two years our female participation rate was 38% and 32% respectively, the highest it has been since we began the program. In our most recent Next 36 cohort, over 50% of the pitches on Venture Day were made by female founders and two out of the three Next 36 prizes were awarded to women.
We acknowledge that there is still a great deal of work to do and look forward to candid and healthy dialogue on this issue. We will apply the lessons learned from this situation and together with Mr. Suleman implement measurable actions to become a stronger organization.
The NEXT Canada Board of Directors