Category: Resource

5 Lessons to Learn From Promising Startups That Failed to Keep up With Innovation

Hundreds of millions of startups are launched every year in the world, but not many make it past this point. In the first year, the average business failure rate is 10%. From the second to the fifth year, approximately 70% of new businesses do not survive.

In Canada, approximately 20% of startups fail in their first year, and 60% fail within the first three years.

So, what are the 10-20% of businesses that not only survive, but thrive, doing differently?

They stay innovative, naturally!

What Does it Really Mean to be Innovative as a Business?

Innovation simply means a new approach. It can be a better product, a different way of doing things, or a new business model. It doesn’t necessarily have to be novel or unique; it could even be borrowed from another company!

Innovation allows companies to meet the changing needs of customers, stay competitive over long periods of time, keeps employees feeling creatively fulfilled, ensures resources are effectively utilized, and value is maximized.

In fact, BCG’s ‘Most Innovative Companies 2023’ study also reinforces for the 3rd year straight, that companies emphasizing innovation and ensuring their readiness to implement it consistently widen the gap over their less adapt competitors.

However, being innovative and staying innovative, is easier said than done. ‘Innovation’ can take many different forms and doesn’t just look one way. Innovation can be:

Incremental: Where businesses continuously make minor changes to enhance efficiency, process or product. Generally, this is a culture embedded into the business, not requiring separate manpower or long time frames to execute. A prime example of incremental innovation is the iPhone. Even though smartphones were already on the market before Apple’s debut, it was their subtle enhancements like a more extensive touchscreen, the introduction of the app store, user-friendly features, and overall experience that truly popularized smartphones for the masses.

Source: LinkedIn

Expansive: Where businesses venture into new areas unexplored by competitors. These innovations tend to require longer periods of time. For example, Adidas collaborating with environmental group Parley for the Oceans to produce shoes made from recycled ocean plastic, expanding its brand into sustainable products.

Source: Soccerbible

Disruptive: Generally a paradigm-shifting innovation that reinvents products or services, forming a brand new business model. For example, Netflix at the peak of it’s DVD-by-mail service with 20 million subscribers, turned a mail-order business into a tech-company by offering streaming services to their customers.

Source: levpn

Innovation can even choose not to fit into any of these boxes, like Google’s Principles of Innovation. Google claims innovation is in their lifeblood, and every Google employee is encouraged to innovate. For example, Gmail started as a single engineer’s pet project, and Google Drive also started as a small project inside Google. Both these products are now a core part of Google suite serving billions of users.

Time and time again we have seen even the most promising, successful businesses struggling to overcome challenges, because of lack of innovation or innovation gone wrong.

1. Blockbuster


Blockbuster was the titan of the video rental industry, as it became known worldwide by the 1990’s. However, as services like Netflix began streaming content, Blockbuster was slow to adapt to this new mode of media consumption. They believed customers preferred the physical store experience, including unboxing items and social interactions. This hesitancy to go digital allowed Netflix to overtake them. Blockbuster clung to its brick-and-mortar business model, and by the time they attempted to transition into digital, it was too late. Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in 2010, while Netflix became a streaming giant.

2. Toys “R” Us

Source: cnn

Toys R Us also serves as a cautionary tale. For many, the store was a childhood haven, yet, with the rise of online shopping consumer preferences shifted to the convenience of buying online. Rather than embracing this change, Toys R Us resisted, even outsourcing their online sales to Amazon. This decision inadvertently bolstered platforms like Amazon and Ebay, which offered greater convenience and often lower prices. Ultimately, Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

3. Skype

Source: Neowin

For two decades before the pandemic, Skype was synonymous with video communication. It should have dominated pandemic communications too, but it was far away from that reality. After Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion, they tried to make it compete with everyday communication apps like Whatsapp and Snapchat. However, in doing so, they compromised its core functionality of reliable video calling. By 2017, Skype’s average app store rating dropped from 3.5 stars to 1.5 stars. Meanwhile, platforms like Zoom focused on enhancing their call quality and adding relevant features. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Zoom took over and Microsoft planned to retire Skype, with Teams taking over its functions. While Microsoft might see Skype’s acquisition as successful, early adopters of Skype were disappointed.

4. GE

Source: reuters

A renowned name in the corporate world, GE has faced many challenges since the 2008 financial crisis. The GE Capital division disastrously misjudged the energy market and heavily invested in fossil fuels just as global momentum was shifting towards cleaner, renewable energy sources. A chain of bad decisions kept straying the company away from where energy innovation was moving. 

These missteps and many more made the company lose hundreds of billions, forced the CEO Jeff Immelt into early retirement and cost his successor, John Flannery, his job after less than a year. As of 2021, GE, which was a behemoth that dominated electricity, lighting, aviation, television, radio, music, appliances, finance and health care, only has 3 separate publicly traded companies – aviation, healthcare and energy.

5. BlackBerry

Source: The Sun

In 1984, two Canadian students, Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin founded Research in Motion (RIM). They ventured into various projects, eventually focusing on mobile communication. By 1996, RIM introduced its first two-way pager, and by 2002, a phone-like device. In its prime, BlackBerry held 50% of the US smartphone market and 20% globally. However, as competitors like Apple innovated rapidly, BlackBerry prioritized gradual improvements over major innovations, leading to its slow adaptation in a rapidly changing market.

Although Canadian company OnwardMobility did offer to revive Blackberry phones with a 5G keyboard-equipped Android device, that plan did not survive the pandemic. In a press release on December 22, 2021, BlackBerry announced that it was shutting down its remaining services.

Lessons Learnt from Companies That did not Innovate:

1. Adapt to Industry Shifts:

It’s not just about acknowledging technological and market advancements, but also about taking proactive measures. Successful companies remain vigilant about industry changes and respond with agility.

2. Understand Your Core Strengths:

Diversification can open new opportunities, but companies should be careful to not compromise their original value proposition in the name of innovation. Brands must recognize and nurture their unique strengths.

3. Avoid Overreliance on Legacy Strategies:

While tradition and legacy strategies have their merits, rigid adherence can make a company stagnant. Today’s companies need to re-evaluate legacy strategies regularly, ensuring they remain relevant in the modern context.

4. Anticipate and Embrace Market Evolution:

It’s become insufficient to react to industry changes; anticipation has become pivotal. Forward-thinking companies actively invest in market research, trend analysis, and forecasting to ensure they’re prepared for, if not ahead of, market evolutions.

5. Balance Stability with Rapid Innovation:

While customers appreciate the stability and reliability of products, they also seek innovation. To thrive, companies must find the balance between consistency customers rely on and the innovation they desire.

The time is Ripe for Innovation Again

Two years post-pandemic, once again, the world finds itself on the brink of an unpredictable global scenario with looming macro-economic conditions. This has prompted businesses to tread with caution.

According to BCG’s ‘Most Innovative Companies 2023’ study, innovation surged as a top corporate objective in 2023, with 79% of firms placing it in their top three priorities. The leading innovation avenues include product development and the exploration of adjacent business models. Notably, 62% cite cost as a primary innovation driver.

While most companies adopt a cautious approach, focusing on incremental core innovations, an emerging group of ‘innovation-ready’ companies are prioritizing radical breakthroughs. For these firms, innovation is at the core of their growth strategy.

The study also reveals that success in innovation hinges on three tenets:

  • Prioritization of innovation
  • Committed investment
  • Effective conversion of this investment into tangible outcomes.

In essence, it’s clear: the frontrunners in the business world of 2023 are those that aren’t just participating in the innovation race but are defining its very direction.

Want to start a Business in Canada?

TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here

The Filming Industry in Canada

If you like to watch end credits in movies, you may already have noticed an interesting recurring pattern: a sizable amount of Hollywood cinema is made in Canada. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Juno, The Shape of Water, Interstellar, The Last of Us are just a few global hits out of a long list that were shot in Canada. Over the years, this earned Canada the title of ‘Hollywood North’. 

However in 2023, the film fraternity believes they have outgrown this moniker. A survey by Toronto Film School reveals that a mere 17% of participants still liked the label “Hollywood North” to describe their industry.

The Canadian film industry has been evolving with robust optimism while forging it’s own identity. Kim’s Convenience, Schitts Creek, Working Moms, BlackBerry, Riceboy Sleeps, Twice Colonized, and North of Normal, are some blockbuster TV shows and Movies that celebrate and validate the vast potential of Canada’s diverse stories.

Canadian Film Industry

In 2021, the second year of the pandemic, Canada’s film industry generated a record-breaking $11.3 billion in operational revenue, supporting over 244,000 jobs. Remarkably, the pandemic resulted in accelerating the industry as Canada filmed an unprecedented number of projects throughout 2021, due to a combination of backlog of delayed projects, introduction of new projects and an increased demand for streaming.

In 2022, Canada’s Movie, TV & Video Production industry flourished further, achieving a market size of US $13.4 billion in revenue. Looking back over the past five years, from 2017 to 2022, the industry has seen a consistent expansion, growing at an average rate of 6.1% annually. 

The heart of Canada’s film industry is often concentrated in three provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. These regions are equipped with top-notch facilities, a wealth of talent, dedicated crews, comprehensive services, and diverse filming locations.



Toronto houses the globally renowned Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and ranks among North America’s leading five film powerhouses. In 1917, the Government of Ontario set up the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau, making it the world’s first government-initiated film organization. It was founded a year before the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau.

British Columbia

Vancouver is a prime Canadian film epicenter. Hollywood productions provide jobs for over 65,000 individuals in the city. Notably, over 80% of production is centered around Vancouver’s urban landscape.


Montreal is Quebec’s cinematic hub, and it’s no surprise that acclaimed directors, such as “Dune’s” Denis Villeneuve, are from this city. Montreal is teeming with film opportunities, especially with major production giants like Telefilm Canada and Entertainment One operating there. Their portfolios include blockbuster hits and beloved series, from The Walking Dead and Peaky Blinders to cinematic gems like Twilight and Brooklyn.

Famous Movies Shot in Canada

  1. Deadpool (Vancouver)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (Toronto)
  3. Scary Movie (Vancouver)
  4. Chicago (Toronto)
  5. Hairspray (Toronto and Hamilton)
  6. The Suicide Squad (Port Lands and the streets of Toronto)
  7. The Twilight Saga (several Canadian locations)
  8. Capote (Manitoba)
  9. American Psycho (Toronto)
  10. Catch Me if You Can (Quebec and Montreal)
  11. Mean Girls (Toronto)
  12. Brokeback Mountain (Southern Alberta)
  13. The Shape of Water (Toronto and Hamilton)
  14. Rambo – First Blood (British Columbia)
  15. The Revenant (Alberta)


What Factors Contribute to Canada’s Appeal as a Film Destination?

Canada boasts of a multitude of reasons why productions small and large use Canada as their base for filming:


Canada’s rich tapestry of landscapes offers filmmakers an unparalleled range of settings. Urban centers like Toronto provide bustling metropolitan atmospheres, while the picturesque terrains of British Columbia capture natural beauty. The expansive plains of Alberta and Manitoba are perfect for epic tales set in vast open spaces. Canada’s varied environments accommodate a plethora of storylines.


Canada’s four distinct seasons provide varied backdrops for filmmakers, a stark contrast to other countries that may have year-round heat or cold.


Filming in Canada is cost-effective due to the favorable U.S. Dollar exchange rate and lucrative tax incentives. Federal and Provincial governments make varied incentives, grants, and funding available, for example:

  • Ontario Film & Television Tax Credit (OFTTC): The Ontario film and television tax credit is a refundable tax credit based on the qualifying labour expenditures incurred by a qualifying production company for eligible Ontario productions. This tax credit is available to first-time, small and large productions. For example, a first-time production can get a 40% refund on the first $240,000 spent on worker salaries and 35% on any amount beyond that. If the film is made in regional Ontario, the production can get an extra 10% refund on worker salaries.
  • Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC): The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) gives a 25% tax refund on the money spent on qualified worker salaries for eligible productions.

Canada’s appeal is poised to grow, with numerous projects lined up and government funding available.


Canada’s rich talent pool, comprising actors, directors, writers, and crew members, is another draw. The country is brimming with prestigious film schools like the University of British Columbia, Toronto Metropolitan University’s School of Image Arts, York University’s School of the Arts, Humber College, George Brown College,  Fanshawe College, and more. 

The nation’s film industry churns out seasoned professionals and budding new talent, including Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Rachel McAdams, Nina Dobrev, Cobie Smulders, Sandra Oh, William Shatner, Jim Carrey and more. James Cameron, David Cronenberg, Denis Villeneuve, are some celebrated directors from Canada.

The Future of the Film Industry


Since the development of photography, advancements like sound, color, and CGI have been the drivers of evolution in the filmmaking business. Technology will continue to impact the industry and bring new opportunities with it for entrepreneurs. Some of the key trends in filmmaking are:

  • Digital Dominance: With the rise of over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, the surge in consumption and popularity has expanded the horizon for filmmakers to create content, in different formats, genres, and styles for audiences across the world. 
  • Advancements in filmmaking: Technology is enhancing everything from shooting and editing to distribution. Algorithmic video editing, 3D printing, 3D previsualization, real-time rendering, volume technology, machine vision lenses, and extreme micro-cameras are ready to propel film into a thrilling, futuristic era. 
  • Diversity and Inclusion: The film industry is facing growing demands and recognition for more diverse and inclusive content, both from audiences and creators. Thankfully, entities like the National Film Board of Canada are initiating steps towards equity, diversity, and inclusion, setting a standard that other industry participants should adopt.

If you’re eager to harness your entrepreneurial talents in Canada’s thriving filmmaking sector, here are some key sectors:

  1. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) Production: As the demand for immersive experiences grows, there’s significant potential for startups focusing on VR and AR content creation.
  1. AI Powered Post-Production Software: AI powered solutions that target editing, sound design, color grading, and visual effects, can help alleviate a multitude of post-production pain points. 
  1. 3D Printing for Props and Sets: Services or machines specifically tailored to film productions can be a great niche allowing filmmakers to print intricate props or set pieces on demand.
  1. Predictive Analytics for Filmmakers: Help filmmakers make data-driven decisions by using analytics and AI to predict audience reactions to certain storylines, characters, or scenes.
  1. Smart Set Designs with IoT: Integrate Internet of Things devices into sets to enable real-time adjustments, special effects triggering, and environment monitoring.

6. Film Tech Hardware: Develop extreme micro-cameras or innovative machine vision lenses that cater to niche filming requirements.

Want to Start a Business in Canada?

TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here

How to Create Your Google Business Profile 101

Witnessing ‘Google’ transcend into a verb synonymous with ‘search’ in our daily lexicon is one of the most defining characteristics of 21st century consumer behavior. It is no surprise that Google dominates the online search landscape with 92% of market share, 72% on desktop searches and 92% on mobile searches.

Though Google continues to remain secretive about its exact search volume, estimates suggest that it processes 99,000 queries every single second. This translates to over 8.5 billion searches daily, with the average individual turning to Google 3-4 times a day.

It’s clear; for businesses, being visible and optimized on Google isn’t just beneficial, it’s imperative.

What is a Google Business Profile (GBP)?

Source: Google

A Google Business Profile (formally Google My Business) is a free tool on Google to create a listing for your company that shows up on Google Maps and search pages. It acts as the front door of your business on Google, where customers can find your business information like address, website, operating hours, gallery of images, and reviews.

This listing appears when people search for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps.

Advantages of a Google Business Profile (GBP) for an Online Business

Source: Google

For online businesses, a Google Business Profile isn’t just a listing. It’s a free marketing tool that can drive traffic, build trust, and provide insights. The advantages include:

  1. Gives you control: While it’s likely that your business already shows up on Google, GBP allows you to take charge, validate, and optimize your listing. It gives you the autonomy to ensure that your business details are both comprehensive and accurate. You can show off images, videos, offers, and much more publicly to anyone who is looking for your business (or similar businesses) on Google. 
  1. Enhanced Online Visibility, Especially Local: GBP is a potent tool for local search optimization, positioning your business directly in the eyes of local patrons. By keeping your profile updated and optimized, you boost your chances of prominently featuring in the local search.

Even if your business operates exclusively online and you have worldwide customers, a Google Business Profile elevates your SEO when potential customers search for products or services you offer.

  1. Trust and Credibility: Displaying verified information, customer reviews, and frequently asked questions serve as a testament to your brand’s credibility, especially in today’s vast world of online marketplaces. It can drive website clicks, calls or messages, and positively impact your business. 
  1. Direct Customer Engagement: GBP opens up a two-way communication channel allowing customers to directly engage with your business. For an online business, this can translate to immediate customer support and query resolution, without them having to navigate away from your business.
  1. Integration with Other Google Services: Google’s suite of services like Google Ads and Google Analytics seamlessly integrate with GBP, facilitating end-to-end sales funnels, from discovery to conversion to retargeting. 
  1. User-generated Content: GBP is an excellent tool to encourage user-generated content for your brand. Customers can upload photos of products they’ve purchased, providing authentic endorsements for potential buyers.

7. Rich Insights and Analytics: GBP provides detailed insights into how customers interact with your online business listing. This can help online businesses understand customer behavior, such as search queries leading to their profile, peak interaction times, which photos get the most views, and more. The dashboard is very user-friendly and allows you to make informed decisions and draw lucrative conclusions for future business plans.

How to setup a new Google Business Profile

Google is known for being simple to use. The business profile creation process is no different if you follow 

these easy steps:

Step 1: Sign in to Google. Be mindful to log into a Google account that you want associated with your business. Avoid using your personal Gmail ID, and instead create a business email ID.

Step 2: Go to create a profile. Enter your business name here. If it doesn’t already exist, you’ll be prompted to create a new listing. 
Step 3: Enter your business name and category. Your ‘business category’ selection defines how Google will know when to show your business in search results.

Step 4: Add location details. If you have a physical storefront, enter this information. Online businesses can specify their service areas.

Step 5: Add contact information. Provide a phone number and website URL for your business.

Step 6: Verification. Google will want to verify that your business is legitimate. This is typically done by mailing a postcard with a verification code to your business address.

Once you’re verified, you can update business hours, business description, add business attributes, enable direct messaging, add photos, videos, monitor your performance, and more.

More Useful Tools on Google Business Profiles (With the Latest 2023 Updates)

Google consistently improves the customer and business experience with new features, tools and updates. Below are some tips that would help optimize your business profile even further:

Source: Google

1. Google Posts: Google Business Profiles can be used a lot like social media platforms. They have ‘Posts’, ‘Offers’, and ‘Events’ that can be directly linked to your website. They are great tools to showcase ongoing promotions, new product launches, or important announcements. This can directly drive traffic and sales to online stores. 

Source: Google

2. Booking/Quote Button: If your business relies on bookings, appointments, or inquiries, this feature lets customers book appointments or inquire for quotes directly from your GBP.

Source: Google

3. Showcase Products: GBP enables you to display your inventory right on your profile. This allows customers to get a capsule experience of your products without having to enter your website.

Source: Google

4. Connect with Customers: As of July 31st 2023, businesses are encouraged to respond to direct messages within 24 hours. Google Business Profile may deactivate chat for your business if you don’t respond within the timeframe. Brands that are already attuned to responding quickly can benefit from being ahead of the curve!

Source: daltonluka

5. Link Social Media: Today, consumers want to see social media and website links in conjunction, and it’s now possible on GBP. Businesses can add one social media link per platform to Business Profiles for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, X, and YouTube. 

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar entity, an online enterprise, or a blend of both, a solid footprint on Google’s digital ecosystem ensures you’re seen, heard, and more importantly, trusted.

Want to start a business in Canada?

TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here.

Business Inc.

Get Ready to Propel Your Business with Business Inc.

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? Look no further than the Business Inc. program held in
conjunction with the Toronto Business Development Centre and the Toronto Public Library. The
program is designed to give you the tools and resources needed to transform your idea into a
real business. A Toronto Public Library Card is required to participate, and will give you access
to the library’s resources, including entrepreneurship co-working spaces, and cutting edge
technology like 3D printers and Adobe software. Enrolment is limited to 20 participants per
location, amounting to 40 total participants.

Program Dates and Details

The Business Inc. program is an initiative designed to empower aspiring entrepreneurs. The
program will begin mid October and end early December.

Location: Danforth/Coxwell Branch, 1675 Danforth Avenue, Program Room
Information Session: Tuesday September 19th, 6:30 – 8pm
Course: Tuesdays, October 17 – December 5, 6 – 9 pm
Deadline to Apply: October 5

Location: Barbara Frum Branch, 20 Covington Road
Information Session: Thursday, September 21, 6:30 – 8 pm
Course: Thursdays, October 19 – December 7, 6 – 9 pm
Deadline to Apply: October 5


The cost per participant is $150 (plus HST).
The Value is $700 per participant. The Toronto Public Library Foundation generously supports
this program.


The course is designed to take your business idea to the next level, with each module focusing
on a different aspect of starting a business. After going through the program, you will have new
insights into effective ways of running your company and how to attract potential customers.

The program consists of eight modules, including:
-Taking the leap to entrepreneurship
-Market research for your business
-Resources for researching your business
-Developing a powerful marketing strategy 
-Creating an operating framework for success 
-Financial Management I
-Financial Management II
-Sales, it’s a process


The application process dives into your current business goals, and aspirations for the future.
You will provide details on your business profile, your competitive advantage, details on how
you plan to acquire financing, and the steps you have already taken to turn your idea into reality.
Please visit for more details and a copy of the application form.


Being a part of Business Inc. will be a game changer for your entrepreneurial journey, helping
you achieve success in the ever-evolving business landscape. TBDC has been providing
entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources they need to launch, scale, and grow their
businesses since 1990. Throughout this program, you will work closely with our experienced
business advisors and your classmates to increase your skills as an entrepreneur.

The benefits to completing the Business Inc. program include:
-Preparing and updating your business plans
-Accessing a business advisor and other valuable resources
-Networking with other entrepreneurs

Your Connection to Success

For aspiring entrepreneurs seeking that extra edge to propel their businesses forward, the
Business Inc. program is a springboard to success. This eight-week program offers an
immersive and multifaceted experience designed to equip you with the essential tools,
knowledge, and support to transform your idea into a thriving enterprise. 

Through the program, you’ll have the opportunity to refine and update your business plans, gain
access to invaluable resources, and expand your professional network. Your entrepreneurial
aspirations deserve nothing less than extraordinary, so don’t wait another moment – take action
now and apply for the Business Inc. program!

Opportunities in the Travel and Tourism Industry in Canada

Canada is one of the most desirable travel destinations, and is a land of open, scenic landscapes, pure water, a mosaic of cultures, and spectacularly friendly people. Tourism is at the heart of many communities from coast to coast in Canada.

Canada’s Travel and Tourism Industry

Tourism significantly contributes to Canada’s economy, representing more than CA $45 billion and over 2% of its GDP in 2019. This sector powers essential services like dining, transportation, lodging, leisure, and travel. 

Despite the pandemic’s impact on Canadian tourism and hospitality during 2020-2021, the industry is bouncing back with resilience. In the first quarter of 2023, tourism expenditure exceeded its pre-pandemic benchmark, achieving 106% of what was spent in Q1 2019 (without adjusting for inflation). Domestic tourism was at the forefront of this growth, hitting 109% of what was spent in 2019. International tourism spending is also on an upward trajectory, hitting 95% of what was spent in 2019 during Q1 2023.
Reinforcing the positive uptick, the 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) by the World Travel & Tourism Council says that Canada’s tourism industry is poised to contribute CA $162.6 billion into the economy. This marks a 17.2% increase from the previous year and is nearing pre-pandemic levels of CA $173.9 billion recorded in 2019.

Tourism Facts in Canada

  • 25 million + Non Resident visitors entered Canada between July 2022 and July 2023
  • Of this approximately 75.66% were US residents, making the US the biggest tourism customer of Canada
  • UK, India, and France are the next top 3 overseas visitors by country of residence
  • Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia are the top 3 most visited provinces in Canada. 42.7% of all tourists to Canada choose Ontario as their destination
  • 91.6% of visitors to Canada stay overnight while 8.4% make same-day trips.
  • 81.5% of visitors to Canada arrive by air

Top Travel and Tourist Destinations in Canada

  • Toronto welcomes 27.5 million visitors annually, spending approximately $6.5 billion per year. Being Canada’s economic epicentre, it’s famous for its skyscrapers, museums, and theatres. Events like the Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto Raptors games, and iconic landmarks like CN Tower and the Scotia Bank Arena augment its popularity. 
  • Niagara city is a globally recognized travel destination, located in Ontario, Canada. Niagara Falls, Canada’s largest casino, Niagara Wine Route, and The Shaw Festival attract over 13 million global visitors annually, contributing to a tourism expenditure of over $2 billion in the region.
  • Vancouver boasts 20% of total tourist spend in Canada. This picturesque coastal city in British Columbia attracts numerous visitors annually with its pleasant weather; considered the mildest among all Canadian cities, natural parks, mountains, and bodies of water.
  • Quebec City, a UNESCO world heritage site, is consistently ranked one of the top destinations to visit in Canada. It is the birthplace of French North America and the only walled city north of Mexico. The city brings in 4 million visitors every year, spending approximately $1.63 billion in annual tourism.
  • The Northwestern Territories are witnessing steady growth in Aurora viewing tourism, making up approximately 32% of the total tourism spending in the territory at  $210 million.

Travel and Tourism Business Landscape in Canada

SMEs form the cornerstone of the tourism sector in Canada, making up 99.9% of businesses within this industry. Tourism-focused SMEs span primarily across 5 central sectors: food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation, accommodations, and travel services. In 2020, out of the approximately 1.30 million SME employers in Canada, 8% were from the tourism sector.
The majority of the tourism SMEs are in F&B services, accounting for 63.8%, followed by businesses in recreation and entertainment (16.2%), accommodations (9.4%), transportation (7.1%), and travel services (3.6%).

Source: ISED

Geographically, Canada’s tourism businesses are spread across all provinces and territories with a key concentration in Ontario (35.9%) and Quebec (22.4%). Interestingly, in areas such as Atlantic Canada, Quebec, British Columbia, and Canada’s North, tourism-based SMEs exceed that of other industry-based SMEs.

Start-up Opportunities in the Travel and Tourism Industry in Canada

Canada is a top-notch destination for tourists worldwide and this makes it fertile ground for travel and tourism startups to take advantage of the sector. From technologically driven solutions to inclusive opportunities, here is an array of startup opportunities that the Canadian travel and tourism industry presents to entrepreneurs.

1. Travel & Tourism Tech

Tech Innovation in the travel and tourism industry is being embraced with open arms. Business intelligence technologies have been the most popular adoption, along with security and advanced authentication systems, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) systems. 

Some of the top travel and tourism tech companies in Canada currently are:

Hostaway:  A Toronto based company, Hostaway is a leader in the vacation rental space, with its all-in-one vacation rental software for property managers. They recently secured a capital investment of $175 million, marking the highest funding in its sector. 

Hopper: A Montreal based travel-related financial services company, which is worth $5B. Most recently, they secured a partnership with Air Canada that gives the airline’s customers the option to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” policies. 

Rvezy: A peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace started from Ottawa that helps RV owners rent out their RVs when they are not being used. After an appearance on Dragon’s Den, they got a $150,000 investment from Michele Romanow, and the firm’s gross sales grew to over $3 million. In 2021, they raised another $23 million in investment.

Busbud: A leading global marketplace for intercity ground travel enables travelers to quickly book bus tickets on over 3 million routes across 80 countries, supporting 30 currencies. Based in Toronto, this startup has recently merged with Betterez to accelerate their growth. 

Rocketrez: A Manitoba-based ticketing and operations platform that drives sales to tours and attractions companies and elevates the guest experience with data and insights. Earlier this year Rocketrez secured $20 million in funding.
Tourism, Technology Co: The makers of Booker and Tripper, TTC helps destination managers and tourism operators succeed with white-labeled software solutions. They recently received an investment of $715,000 from the Government of Canada to scale across North America.

2. LGBTQ+ Tourism 

LGBTQ+ tourists are widespread in Canada, because of the country’s reputation as being a safe and friendly place for the community. In the 2018 Spartacus Gay Travel Index, Canada and Sweden jointly secured the top spot. The LGBT+ Pride 2021 Global Survey highlighted that 61% of Canadian adults advocate for LGBT individuals to freely express their sexual orientation and gender identity vs 51% globally. Additionally, 48% of Canadians endorse public displays of affection by LGBT people vs 37% worldwide. And let’s not forget that Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, ten years before the U.S.

This community means big business and tourism opportunities for Canada, seeing as their spending surpasses their peers by 7x per trip. Historically resilient, they are also among the earliest groups to bounce back after shocking events (SARS, 9/11, etc). Currently, 90% are actively looking for travel experiences within Canada.
The Canadian government is also fully committed to expanding this opportunity. In 2022, $487,000 was announced towards Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce with the aim to conduct inclusion workshops to educate the tourism sector, and implement the Destination Audit program to evaluate LGBTQ2+ travel strategies.

3. Remote and Rural Tourism

The global demand for untouched destinations has never been more pronounced, and Canada is a top destination for remote tourism. Remote and rural tourism in Canada presents a burgeoning opportunity for startups, as the world looks for open spaces and vast wilderness. 
The Canadian government recognizes this potential and is keen to capitalize on this untouched goldmine. The national Community Futures Program (CFP) supports rural businesses and entrepreneurs. Funded by the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), the CFP enables Canada’s Community Futures Organizations to offer business services, loans, and strategic economic guidance to non-metropolitan SMEs and entrepreneurs. Startups that can contribute to regional development through tourism can benefit from the niche government funding and business services support.

4. Francophone Tourism 

The Francophone tourism market, both domestic and international, represent over 274 million potential travellers to Canada and its regions. Many Francophone travellers reside in the United States, or are a short flight away in European countries like France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Eastern Europe. Canada’s heritage, cultural depth, and tourism allure make it a prime destination for these French-speaking and French-loving visitors.

5. Indigenous Tourism

Indigenous tourism presents a big opportunity for startups in Canada. The rich history and significant contributions of Indigenous Peoples are an intrinsic part of the Canadian narrative. The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada reveals that a significant portion of visitors, including 35% of Chinese and 63% of French travellers, have expressed interest in these experiences.
The Canadian Experiences Fund has been mandated a budget of $68 million to spotlight products and experiences across 5 categories, one of which is investing in Indigenous histories, tales, arts, and modern values through tourism. Startups that can cater to the growing appetite for genuine, market-ready Indigenous experiences can find success in the Canadian market.

Want to Start a Travel and Tourism Business in Canada?

TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here.

The Growth and Future of the Mining Industry in Canada

Mining has been a key industry in the global economy since the beginning of advanced civilizations. Today, from energy to electricity, farming to houseware, healthcare to transportation, mined materials are the building blocks of our everyday life. 

As demand continues to grow, the industry is ramping up its activities to deliver. However, there is a change in the making – it’s now the era of critical minerals. Critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements are taking over from their fossil fuel counterparts because of their pivotal role in a cleaner and greener future. The demand for these critical minerals is projected to increase 6 fold, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

From 2022 to 2023, the global mining industry grew by 6.1% CAGR – from US $2022.6 billion to US $2145.15 billion and is expected to reach US $2775.5 billion by 2027. Apart from critical minerals taking centre-stage and governments racing to secure access to them, other trends that mark the growth of the industry include mining companies focussing on ESG to reduce their carbon footprint, the need for a social licence from communities, partners and stakeholders, and faster adoption of technology in mining corporations to ensure efficiency and lower costs of production

About the Canadian Mining Industry

Source: NRC

Canada is a global mining leader. It is a key supplier to North America, Asia, and Europe. Globally, Canada ranks first in potash production, second in niobium, and third in palladium. It is also the fourth-largest primary producer of aluminium. 

Canada produces more than 60 different minerals and metals from nearly 200 mines and over 6,500 stone, sand, and gravel quarries. The value of Canada’s metals production stands at $36B, non-metals at $12B, and coal at $8B.

Canada is one of the top 5 global producers of: 

  • Diamonds
  • Gemstones
  • Gold
  • Indium
  • Niobium
  • Platinum group metals
  • Titanium concentrate
  • Uranium

Canadian Mineral Production by Province

Every province and territory in Canada has mineral production. The top three provinces by value for mineral production are British Columbia ($12.9 billion), Quebec ($11.9 billion), and Ontario ($11.1 billion).

Source: NRC

Canadian Mining Growth Focus Areas

  1. Critical Minerals

Ensuring the accessibility and dependable production of minerals and metals used in electric vehicles, renewable energy, clean technology, and advanced manufacturing supply chains is a matter of utmost global importance. 

Canada has a huge advantage in this area because of its diversified mineral endowment. It is not only a key producer of base metals, gold, and diamonds, but is also bestowed with natural resources to produce copper, nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements like lithium, graphite and vanadium. 

In fact, Canada possesses some of the world’s most significant known resources (measured and indicated) of rare earth, estimated to be over 15 million tonnes of rare earth oxides. Making Canada an extremely valuable part of the world’s supply chain. 

The Government of Canada has committed almost $4 billion to a Critical Minerals Strategy to further strengthen its position in the global market and support green economies. This investment aims to enhance the supply of critical minerals, fostering the growth of domestic and international value chains in the renewable energy and tech sectors.

2. Environmental, Social, and Governance

Canada has one of the world’s cleanest electricity grids, with 82% of electricity generated with zero GHG emissions – 67% of electricity is produced from hydroelectric and other renewables. Mining is not lagging behind either; Canada is committed to looking at the mining industry through the same lens. 

The Green Mining Initiative, led by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), has been working towards the sector’s environmental performance and creating green technology opportunities.

Canadian mines already show low GHG emissions for various commodities, benefitting from clean energy sources and substantial investments in green technologies. Ongoing efforts include electrification of equipment and vehicle fleets and the development of new emission-reducing technologies. Even remote off-grid mines with limited energy alternatives have adopted solutions like wind turbines to decrease diesel fuel dependency.

Industry-led initiatives are also setting a very high standard for other countries to follow. The Mining Association of Canada pioneered their own standard, now recognized globally, called TSM (Towards Sustainable Mining) – a sustainability program that helps mining corporations turn their environmental and social goals into action. Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada) introduced the e3 Plus – a framework for responsible exploration, an online information resource to help companies exploring minerals improve their social, environmental, and health and safety performance. 

Large mining operations in Canada, like The Macassa gold mine (Kirkland Lake Gold), have already switched to battery-powered equipment. Newmont Goldcorp Borden’s gold mine is Canada’s first all-electric mine; Onaping Depth deep mine also has an all-electric fleet of equipment. 

Start-Up Business Opportunities in the Canadian Mining Tech Industry

Canada’s hydropower, research expertise, mineral resources, and skilled tech workers make it an easy base to develop green tech for the mining industry. As the industry shifts to a net-zero carbon economy, large mining companies like BHP Group, Rio Tinto Ltd, Vale S.A, and many more based in Canada are ready to adopt more innovative, disruptive tech.  

From battery powered vehicles, advanced safety tech to zero emissions commercial plants, start-ups can grab leading mining companies as their clients by starting up or expanding in Canada. 
In fact, new incentives like the Clean Tech Tax Credit offer a 30% refundable credit on eligible clean tech equipment costs for companies that want to adopt new tech. Below are some mining tech opportunities in Canada:

  • Renewable Power and Mine Electrification: Using renewables reduces both emissions and fuel-related costs, particularly in remote regions. Investments in Canada can tap into expertise in renewable energy, energy storage, electrification, and mining automation to create futuristic tech.
  • Alternative Powered Vehicles: The push to shift from fossil fuels offers opportunities in electric, hydrogen, and hybrid vehicle tech. 
  • Ore Sorting: As ore grades decline, innovative sorting tech has become essential. Start-ups can take advantage of these advancements.
  • Waste Management: Beyond treating tailings and water, there’s a growing focus on mining minerals from waste. There is a need for mining tech that can support waste value extraction.
  • Digitalization and Automation: Boosting productivity while ensuring worker safety is pivotal. Canada’s MSS industry provides state-of-the-art automation and digital solutions for safer, efficient operations.
  • Advanced Safety Technologies: Canada is known for their advanced mine safety measures, and start-ups can benefit from this ecosystem and contribute by improving safety monitoring and developing novel safety solutions. Examples include ventilation on demand, tailored lock-out, and fatigue monitoring capabilities, which would make deep mining safer and significantly reduce risks related to explosions and improve worker safety. 
  • Smart Monitoring Systems: Developing advanced sensing technologies to monitor ground stresses, seismic activities, and environmental changes in and around mine sites can help early detection of potential dangers.
  • Dust Management Systems: Tools and methods for monitoring, predicting, and managing dust dispersion from mining sites, especially in fragile ecosystems can help reserve the delicate balance of ecosystems.

Canadian Government Support for Mining Companies

If you are interested in making the most of futuristic mining opportunities in Canada, the government has a multitude of mining-friendly tax benefits, tools, and incentives that can help you:

  • Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC): 15% credit to help exploration companies raise equity funds and an extended FTS investment tax deduction until March 31, 2024.
  • Deduction of Provincial/Territorial Mining Taxes and Royalties: Taxes and royalties on mineral resource income are fully deductible for corporate income tax.
  • Flow-Through Shares (FTSs): FTSs allow companies to transfer certain expenses, such as mineral exploration or development to shareholders which can reduce their taxable income.
  • Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance: Businesses can write off 100% of the cost of machinery used in specified clean energy generation/ conservation equipment. 
  • Canadian Exploration Expense (CEE): Expenses incurred when determining the existence, location, extent, or quality of a mineral resource in Canada are 100% deductible in the same year. 
  • Canadian Development Expense (CDE): Expenses such as sinking or excavating a mine shaft, and pre-production mine development expenses after 2017 is deductible at a 30% declining balance
  • Clean Tech Tax Credit: A 30% refundable credit on eligible clean tech equipment costs, available from 2023 to 2032/2034.
  • Canada Growth Fund: Targets risk mitigation in natural resources and critical supply chains using tools like concessional loans. Its goal is to draw private capital for the net-zero economy, focusing on critical minerals development.
  • Loss Provisions: Acknowledging the mining industry’s volatility, Canada allows net capital losses to be carried back three years or forward indefinitely, and non-capital losses to be carried back three years or forward for 20 years.
  • Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF) : The Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF) provides funding to projects that help strengthen Ontario’s critical minerals sector.

Want to Start Up in Canada?

TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here.

How to fully optimize Meta for your Startups Digital presence

Meta is a force to be reckoned with whether you’re a new startup or an established business. It is a staple in every marketing strategy and has launched feature after feature aimed at helping businesses grow their digital presence.

Its suite of tools is spread across 4 main platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and the latest entrant, Threads. Meta’s Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2022 Results report 3.74 billion active users on at least one of the platforms within the Meta family, almost 72% of all internet users (5.18 billion).

This blog delves into Meta’s platforms, key features and tools, and their strategic application to elevate your brand’s online presence. 


Let’s confront what’s on all our minds, is Facebook still relevant? Here are some statistics that could help us answer this very pertinent question. 

Facebook has 2.93 billion monthly active users

Facebook is the third most visited website, following Google and YouTube 

Facebook is the favourite social platform of the 35-44 demographic

But the final hammer on the nail is this, 

Facebook accounts for 71.64% of all web traffic referrals from social media

So, is Facebook still relevant – it’s a resounding yes!

5 Pro Tips on how to optimize Facebook for your business

1. Don’t just post pitches:
After years of following brands on their Facebook pages, customers can see through posts that are a continuous train of sales pitches versus authentic updates. The best way to balance this is by creating buckets of content. 

Try business updates, industry updates, behind-the-scenes, founder/team talk/tips, promotional offers, reviews, and product feature highlights. This ensures that your audience is not bombarded just with 

sales content but also gets to know multiple dimensions of your brand. 

Additionally, using a mix of images, videos, and text lets your feed breathe and not get monotonous.

2. Use stories and reels:
We mostly think of reels as an Instagram tool, but Facebook also has reels! If you’re creating reel content on Instagram, don’t forget to multiply your reel’s visibility by sharing it with billions of Facebook users. In fact, if a reel is used as an ad, it potentially has an ad audience of 697.1 million people

But be mindful of repurposing content smartly; instead of simply sharing ‘posts’ on your stories, create a system to repurpose the content into story and reel sizes so the user experience is smoother and feels more native, or create a strategy only for reels content creation.

3. Get in on Facebook Groups: As of August 2022, Facebook had at least 10M+ groups, with 1.8B+ monthly users and 70M+ admins/moderators. The amazing thing about Facebook groups is that you get access to a niche captive audience. Admins of Facebook groups are very open to collaborations with relevant brands and can offer a fantastic window into the pulse of your audience. 

Additionally, Facebook Groups are an excellent tool for you as a brand to build your community. For example, if your product is a fitness app, you can bring your users together on a private FB group and open up a new channel of long-lasting communication where everyone can share and grow together. 

4. Turn Messenger into a Sales Funnel: People are 53% more likely to buy from a business they can message. Facebook Messenger can be used as an end-to-end sales funnel tool to turn visitors into customers and retain them as loyal customers.

Source: Sprout Social
Source: SproutSocial

Generating leads: FB Messenger opens up a direct line of communication between you and your potential customer. By talking to them and answering questions 1-on-1, you can nurture them into a sale through conversation. 66% of people surveyed by Meta say that messaging a business makes them feel more confident in the brand, and 50% said they received better advice and care through messenger conversations. If you’re a larger business expecting more conversations than you can handle, Facebook’s automated responses can be set up, or even third-party messenger bots can be plugged in.

Customer Service: FB Messenger can be used as an after-sales tool for customers to track their orders or leave feedback. In Canada, FB Messenger is the most used messenger by brands, and a Sprout Social study reported that in the US, consumers and brands used FB the most for customer service. 

Retarget customers: Sponsored messages allow you to get back into your customer’s inbox with a promoted text, opening up a world of opportunities to upsell, share offers, and more to retain them! 

Source: Oberlo
Source: emarketer

5. Experiment with new Facebook Ad Formats: The pinnacle of why Facebook is still relevant, especially to businesses – their exhaustive ads platform. Ad revenues are on a continuous upward trajectory at Meta. Even though many like to claim Facebook advertising is dead, the numbers tell a different story. Instagram is quickly catching up with Facebook, but, as of now, within the Meta family, Facebook is still where the highest ad spending occurs.
As we all already know, Meta Ads gives us in-depth targeting options across gender, location, interests, behaviours, and more, along with a variety of ad formats. We are already familiar with static image and video advertisements, but here is a quick introduction to some new formats that are gaining popularity:

Source: Hootesuite
Source: Hootesuite

Collection Ads: These ads help you showcase products in a visually appealing, swipeable format, like an interactive catalogue, and customers can even click and directly purchase the product. Providing a seamless shopping experience to drive online sales and increase website traffic. If you have a very large catalogue of products, this would work better than standard carousel ads.

Stories Ads: Stories Ads are mobile-only, full-screen vertical videos. They offer creative freedom with emojis, stickers, filters, and video effects to engage users effectively.


The 4th most popular social media platform, Instagram, has around 2 billion monthly active users. A primarily photo and video-sharing app, Instagram is the most popular app amongst 18-34-year-olds. This age group makes up 60% of Instagram’s user base. 

Apart from direct access to young audiences, what makes Instagram undeniable for businesses is its impact on its audience as a tool of discovery and action.
Meta’s Global Media Study carried out by Ipsos revealed that Instagram is the #1 platform for people to discover new brands and build relationships with brands in the US. People take more actions, including purchasing products and browsing a business’ website, on Instagram than on non-Meta platforms.

6 Pro Tips on how to optimize Instagram for your business

  1. Optimize your Bio: A lot of businesses underuse their bio section. Instagram has many tools just in the bio section to serve your business needs. Presuming you’ve switched to a ‘Professional Account’, here are some things you need to add to your checklist: 
  • Add keywords to your name: No, we aren’t talking about your handle (@businessname) with major character limitations; this is about your page name. Many people don’t realize this, but your page name can add a lot of SEO-esque value to your page, giving you many more characters to play around with!
  • Add more links in bio: Previously, we needed the support of external link platforms like link.tree to help add multiple links, but as of April 2023, Instagram has added a feature of including up to 5 links directly into your Insta Bio. Now you can send customers to more than just your website from your Insta page. 
  • Add your location: A very simple but effective tool that optimizes your search visibility on Instagram is your location. 
  • Connect Whatsapp Business: Instagram allows you to connect 2 phone numbers – one standard and one that links directly to Whatsapp Business. This is a great way to open direct communication with your customers. 
  • New Action Buttons: Depending on the type of business, Instagram allows you to connect a direct action button like Order/ Book/ Reserve/ Add Lead Form that can be seamlessly integrated into your external platform. 
Source: feelgoodsocial

2. Grid Hygiene: Instagram is 100% about the aesthetic. You can transport and influence your customers with a grid that welcomes them into your world. Colour psychology plays an important role here; if used correctly, you can create a mood or a vibe that suits your brand and get your customers to feel it too. Posting without intent can lead to a messy grid that’s offputting for customers.

3. Say goodbye to hashtags: Hashtags are no longer the primary method of searching for and exploring content on Instagram. Instagram has also become keyword-focused. Posts optimized for SEO on Instagram saw 30% greater reach and twice as many likes. The best way to achieve this is to use keywords in the caption, add detailed alt text with relevant keywords to describe your photos, include target keywords in video subtitles for better search visibility within Instagram and search engines, stay consistent with a specific theme or niche in your posts to signal relevance to Instagram’s search engine and engage with accounts ranking for your keywords.

4. Instagram for customer service: Similar to Facebook, Instagram users are also big on connecting with their brands on Instagram for support. As a small brand, you can use this opportunity to speak and answer queries 1-on-1 with your customers or use the Instant Replies tool that allows you to input pre-saved responses. 

Apart from DMs, keep a very close eye on your comments. Comments are a common place for customers to leave feedback as well. Ensure you respond to them immediately and redirect critical support conversations to DM.

Source: Instagram

5. Beyond posts and stories: Unfortunately, story reach is seeing a downward trend, while posts continue to have a high reach rate, which means keeping your calendar of posts consistent. 

However, unsurprisingly, Reels have the highest reach. Reels take up 30% of the time people spend on Instagram, so we suggest businesses on Instagram invest in a reel content creation and publishing strategy. A study from Socialinsider stated that the average reach rate for Instagram Reels stood at 20.59%, far above other media types such as carousels, images and video. Reels now also have advanced features such as adding ‘topics,’ which is said to help reach the right audience.


Instagram highlights, and guides are also rarely used to their maximum benefit. Instagram Highlights are a great way to quickly organize important story content that your audience can find. For example, New product launches, FAQS, How to Order, and About the company can be easily accessible on the highlights section of an Instagram page. 

Instagram Guides are also a method of organizing content and are most helpful when you want to bundle past content and label them by topics. For example, Features of a product, Tips, Tutorials, News Articles, etc. These guides are listed on a separate tab on your page and can be found by your customers whenever they want.

6. Meta Ads or Instagram Ads: Before running ads on Instagram, remember the difference between running ads from Meta Ads / previously Facebook Ads vs Instagram Ads. You can run ads on Instagram from Meta Ads but can’t run ads across Facebook and Instagram using Instagram’s in-app ad platform.

Using Meta Ads will provide you with a much larger campaign interface and detailed targeting options. Additionally, Instagram also has limitations on in-caption links and shorter video ad durations, but for smaller promotions of posts or quick reel boosts, it’s okay to use Instagram ads directly from the app.


Whatsapp is a global platform used by more than 180 countries, the most popular messaging platform, and the 3rd most used social platform in the world. In the world of Business, Whatsapp has become the go-to for personalized conversational marketing. An astounding 90% of consumers worldwide expressed their willingness in this Zendesk report to increase spending with companies that provide personalized services.

4 Pro Tips on how to optimize Whatsapp for your business

  1. Use digital catalogues: You can organize products into collections for easier browsing using Whatsapp catalogues. For example, if you own a fashion brand, you can create catalogues for your Summer Collections, Autumn Collections or holiday-themed sale catalogues for customers to access quickly. Whatsapp allows up to 500 items in one catalogue, which means customers can enjoy a browsing experience directly on your Whatsapp Business profile. You can also share catalogue links in conversations with customers. Additionally, enabling the Add to Cart feature within the catalogue provides a seamless checkout experience, encouraging customers to complete their purchases in-app.
  1. Use Quick Replies to save time: Quick replies are a time-saving solution for handling frequently asked questions on WhatsApp, such as store hours or product availability. You can create up to 50 unique responses, but it’s advisable, to begin with 5-10 initial quick replies and gradually add more as necessary!
  1. Broadcast Lists: If a customer saves your number to their contact list, you can include them in broadcast lists. This means you can simultaneously send the same message to multiple customers, multiplying marketing efforts. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and adhere to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), as overusing this tool may alienate customers who value your business. 

4. Whatsapp Channels: Whatsapp is also rolling out Whatsapp Private Channels, a one-way messaging tool where users can choose the channels they want to follow and stay updated. This could be corporations, government departments, sports teams, or small businesses! 


Source: Meta

Meta’s youngest platform, Threads, infamously known as a rival to X (previously Twitter), is a platform for sharing short text updates and participating in public conversations. To get started, you can just use your Instagram login. 

It is still early to discuss its impact on people and businesses, but if you like to stay ahead of the curve and don’t think X/Twitter is as solid as it used to be, don’t think twice. Take on the first-mover advantage and start building your following on Threads. 

Threads allow you to share pictures and videos like Instagram but gives you 500 characters and clickable link-in-text features, unlike Instagram. Additionally, videos can be up to 5 minutes long on Threads.

It has similar features to Twitter, like heart, repost, quote, and share. 

Threads is also working on being compatible with ActivityPub, enabling interactions with other apps like Mastodon and WordPress. This would mean that someone who does not have a Threads account would still be able to see your profile (if it’s public) – this would be a new era of cross-platform visibility without any extra effort. But only time will tell how this works out. Until then, this is a good time to familiarise yourself and your marketing team with the platform. 

Want to start up in Canada? 
TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here.

Top 5 Ted Talks that Will Change a founders Life

For entrepreneurs seeking inspiration and insights to navigate the dynamic world of business, here are 5 TED Talks that have the potential to impact your personal journey. From understanding leadership and innovation to embracing failure and fostering creativity, these talks offer a treasure trove of wisdom to help you lead your best life as an entrepreneur.

Get ready to be inspired by these remarkable speakers as they share their transformative ideas and experiences.

1. Simon Sinek | How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek is a British-American author, motivational speaker, and organizational consultant.

Even though this talk came out at least 13 years ago, it’s still one of the greatest reminders for any founder – “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek brings the hammer down on the misconception that customers take action or buy something based on facts and figures or whats and hows.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Golden Circle: Sinek introduces the concept of the “Golden Circle,” which consists of three layers: Why, How, and What. The most influential and inspiring leaders and organizations communicate from the inside out, starting with the core belief (Why) and moving outward to explain the How and What.
  • The Law of Diffusion of Innovation: Sinek also talks about the “Law of Diffusion of Innovation,” which shows that in any market, there are early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Successful entrepreneurs focus on appealing to early adopters who believe in their cause and will champion their brand.

2. Hamdi Ulukaya | The anti-CEO playbook

Hamdi Ulukaya is a Turkish businessman known as the yogurt king. He founded America’s most popular Greek yogurt brand, Chobani.

Hamdi Ulukaya is a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, a description that may seem paradoxical at first but makes perfect sense once you find out more about his approach toward business. In this 17-minute talk, Ulukaya walks us through the unassuming origin story of his yogurt empire Chobani and his decisions that defied decades of corporate mental models. He urges us all to step into the future of entrepreneurship with the anti-CEO playbook.

Key Takeaways: 
Challenging the status quo: Ulukaya calls out the playbook that prioritizes profits over people, highlighting how it’s essentially a counterintuitive approach to the success of a business. Instead, he advocates for gratitude, community, responsibility, and accountability. His mantra revolves around rewarding the people building your company, asking the community how you can help them, taking a stand on matters that make a difference to society, and acknowledging the duty we, as CEOs, have towards the final consumer.

3. Bill T Gross | The single biggest reason why start-ups succeed

Bill Gross is a legendary entrepreneur with a remarkable track record, having founded and successfully exited from an impressive seven companies, each valued at over $1 billion.

We are constantly bombarded with one factor after another that is the ‘most important’ in a company’s success. But in this TED Talk, Bill exposes a remarkable pattern after studying 100s of startups and doubles down on a definitive answer on what may be the most important factor following successful start-ups backed by cold, hard facts — a treat for the rational, scientific-minded entrepreneur.

Key Takeaways: 
Timing over everything else: Gross and his team conducted a deep analysis of 100s startups from Idealab and other companies, comparing their successes and failures. They evaluated the impact of factors like funding, timing, and team composition. Surprisingly, the results showed that timing emerged as the most crucial factor in determining a startup’s success. He further reveals that timing can encompass elements like overall economic climate, trends and shifts in consumer behaviour, and technology. 

4.Tim Urban | Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Tim Urban is a popular blogger, writer, and public speaker known for his humorous and insightful take on various topics.

When you’re your own boss, you are in charge of deadlines; that’s generally a fantastic pro but can also be a massive con for a procrastinator. Our mind creates so many ways of rationalizing things; the earlier we’re aware of it, the faster we can fight it. Don’t let procrastination disrupt the true potential that your business can achieve.

Key Takeaways:
Procrastination feels fine until it’s too late: In this talk, Tim introduces us to characters like the “Rational Decision-Maker,” the “Instant Gratification Monkey.”  and the “Panic Monster” to better understand why we procrastinate. Every single human being procrastinates something, and we’ve all seen the negative impact it can have. This is a great watch for any entrepreneur who needs a light-hearted but powerful nudge in the right direction.

5. Elizabeth Gilbert |  Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

Elizabeth Gilbert is a celebrated author known for her best-selling memoir ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ She is also a captivating speaker who shares insights on creativity, resilience, and pursuing one’s passions.

Elizabeth’s journey as a struggling writer, being exposed to multiple rejections, then seeing unimaginable success with ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, followed by a feeling like she was right at the beginning again – is reminiscent of the value creation process that many entrepreneurs go through. Entrepreneurs are creating something no one else has before, and the rollercoaster of highs and lows we go through can often have a very disorienting effect. Elizabeth shares her recommendations on how to ‘find our way back home’.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Remedy to self-restoration: Dealing with success and failure as frequently as entrepreneurs do is not easy. Elizabeth shares her profound discovery of what anchors her – for her; it’s her innate passion for writing. She calls that ‘going home.’ Which means no matter the success or the failure of the particular writing – it’s the process that has the largest effect, making her immune to the consequence. This 7-minute talk inspires you to find the worthiest, most loved part of your business creation journey to help you stay on track and never give up, come what may.

Want to start up in Canada? 
TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here.

The 6 Stages of Startup Growth: Identify, Prepare, Level Up!

There are several stages of development that a company goes through on its journey to success. Understanding these stages and knowing where you are can help you navigate the challenges and opportunities specific to each phase.

In this blog, we dive into the details of each stage, what it means, and what metrics you should focus on to propel your business to the next!

Pre-Seed Stage

The earliest phase of a start-up’s lifecycle is the pre-seed stage. This is the idea stage. 

At this stage, you’ve discovered your start-up idea and taken the plunge actually to found the business. Your core activities in a pre-seed stage would include:

  • Market knowledge: Pursuing a deeper understanding of your customer needs and behaviours
  • Sharpening your idea: Honing your vision to address your audience’s problem better
  • A core team: Hiring a co-founder and maybe even the first employees
  • MVP: Building an initial prototype of your product or service to showcase the viability 

Funding during pre- seed stage:

Funding during this stage includes approaching pre-seed funding channels like angel investors, crowdfunding platforms, friends, and family to secure the runway till the next stage. The starting number for this can be a few thousand dollars to about USD $50,000. Some angel investors can go up to USD $500,000 too for a pre-seed startup.

It’s interesting to note that pre-seed stage funding is a relatively new concept; previously, pre-seed funding just meant reaching out to friends and family, or taking out loans to get things moving. But lately, startups are proving how quickly they can turn a pre-seed company into a unicorn has allowed an entire industry of Angels, Incubators, Accelerators, and VCs to mushroom and financially support ideas early. 

At the pre-seed stage, investors have very little to go by, so they like to see a founder who is deeply knowledgeable, a reliable team that is driven by a common vision, and a clean track record to help them trust your abilities.

Metrics to focus on to succeed in the Pre-Seed Stage

In the pre-seed stage, it’s best to primarily focus on qualitative metrics and some quantitative metrics, such as:

  1. Customer feedback: Gather as much feedback from potential customers as possible to understand their experience, their pain points, and their expectations—measure using feedback forms or 1-on-1 interviews.
  2. User engagement: If your MVP is already in test, measure user engagement with Page Views, Click-Through Rate, Social Media Follows/Mentions, and Session Durations with your MVP to assess interest and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Product validation: Measure your target market’s willingness to pay for your product or service. These metrics include sign-ups, registrations, downloads, trials, and subscriptions. 

Fin-tech start-up Chexy raised CA$1.3m in pre-seed

An example of a successful start-up in the pre-seed stage is Chexy, Canada’s first tenant-facing payments platform that allows renters to build credit & earn rewards on rent.  In Canada, 3M+ people over the age of 18 are considered ‘credit invisible’. Founded in 2021, Chexy recognized rent as a significant missed opportunity to build credit scores. With an influx of immigrants entering Canada, Chexy started making its mark. They recently secured CA$1.3m in pre-seed funding.

Seed Stage

After the pre-seed stage, you enter the seed stage, which marks the second phase of the growth journey. A stronger validation of the business idea characterizes the seed stage.

Your core activities during this stage should revolve around: 

  • Refinement of the business model: Further developing and refining the business model based on market feedback and insights gained during the pre-seed stage.
  • Market validation: Continue validating the market demand and customer interest by testing your MVP.
  • Initial traction: Generating early adopters, customers, or partnerships to establish a track record of market interest and potential growth.
  • Expanding the founding team: Building a capable founding team that shares a common vision.

Funding during the seed stage:

Funding during the seed stage includes approaching seed funding channels like angel investors, VCs, and incubators, for investment to aid launch/growth. Generally, seed funding can be anywhere between USD $500,000 and $2 million. 

Many start-ups meet their fate at this stage when they fail to gain traction even after securing funding. On the other end of the spectrum, we also have startups that don’t need to raise funds after this point because they are able to grow without any further investment.

Metrics to focus on to succeed in the Seed Stage

In the seed stage, you are expected to prove that your hypothesis from the pre-seed stage is bearing fruit and you are, in fact, ready to double down on it and launch/grow, which means your numbers need to start showing up. Focus on key metrics like: 

  1. User acquisition: Measure the growth rate of users or customers to demonstrate market the potential for further adoption. Track new registrations, sign-ups, customer acquisition costs (CAC), viral coefficient (referral effectiveness), and attribution metrics (first-touch, last-touch, multi-touch).
  2. Engagement metrics: Track user engagement like active users/customers, retention rate, churn rate, frequency of use, feature adoption, CTR, social media interactions, and user-generated content.
  3. Conversion rate: Measure conversion rates of trials, conversion rate by marketing channel, and return on ad spend (ROAS) to assess the effectiveness of the product’s value proposition.

Toronto-based Cookin raised CA$17m in seed funding

Cookin, a food delivery app that has brought the homemade-food sharing economy to Canada, recently raised CA$17m in seed funding. They have already proven their model with thousands of downloads and over 2000 applications for home cooks who want to sign up. They are also expanding their team, bringing in talent from Uber, Apple, and Shopify. Cookin intends to use its seed funding to grow further in Ontario and also launch in the US.

Early Stage/Launch Stage

Until now, your product/service may have been doing the rounds in small circles, local communities, industry forums, or known geographies. Now it’s time to open it up and trust that the foundation you’ve laid will carry the product/service to new customers. 

At this stage, your business should be released into the market to gain validation across larger circles/areas. This validation should then inform strides toward growth or expansion. Activities during the early/launch stage typically include:

  • Building brand awareness: Implementing marketing strategies to build brand awareness and establish a market presence.
  • Scaling user acquisition: Scaling up user acquisition efforts to reach a wider audience and generate more customers.
  • Enhancing customer experience: Focusing on improving the overall customer experience to drive satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Expanding the team: Hiring additional team members and building functional departments to support growth initiatives
  • Iterating on pricing and monetization strategies: Testing and optimizing pricing models to maximize revenue and profitability.
  • Product development and iteration: Continuously improving the product or service based on user feedback and market demands.
  • Seeking Series A funding: Exploring funding opportunities from venture capitalists to support growth plans. Series A funding can be anywhere between $2 million – $15 million. 

Metrics to focus on to succeed in the Early/Launch Stage:

Metrics to focus on to succeed in the Early/Launch Stage

1. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

2. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

3. Customer lifetime value (CLTV)

4. Churn rate

5. Net promoter score (NPS)

6. Customer retention rate (CRR)

7. Average revenue per user (ARPU)

8. Conversion rate

9. User feedback and reviews

During this stage, start-ups need to track and analyze key metrics to measure the success of their business model. This stage is all about the numbers and bringing in traction in the form of customers and revenue, which can lead to growth or expansion strategies. Some metrics to focus on include:

1. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR): Tracking the growth of monthly revenue from subscription-based or recurring revenue models.
2. Customer acquisition cost (CAC): Evaluating the cost associated with acquiring each new customer.
3. Customer lifetime value (CLTV): Measuring the total revenue generated by a customer over their lifetime as a user.
4. Churn rate: Monitoring the rate at which customers or users are leaving the product or service.
5. Net promoter score (NPS): Assessing customer satisfaction and loyalty through recommendations.
6. Customer retention rate (CRR): Measuring the % of customers or users retained over a specific period.

7. Average revenue per user (ARPU): Calculating the average revenue generated per user or customer.
8. Conversion rate: Tracking the % of leads or prospects that convert into paying customers.
9. User feedback and reviews: Analyzing user feedback, reviews, and ratings to identify areas for improvement.

Growth Stage

The growth stage is an exciting phase because it means you have finally arrived. You are considered an established startup that has achieved product-market fit and is now experiencing a surge in customer acquisition, revenue, and market presence!

The growth stage is characterized by:

  • Scaling operations: Developing strategies to scale operations and handle increased demand. This could include optimizing processes, investing in infrastructure, and implementing systems to support growth.
  • Customer retention and satisfaction: Prioritizing customer retention and satisfaction to ensure long-term success, even if it means honing your business model or product further to match market needs. 
  • Brand building: Invest more heavily in brand-building activities to establish a strong brand presence and differentiate your startup from competitors.
  • Talent acquisition and management: Building high-performing teams by attracting top talent and creating a positive work culture. Establishing scalable hiring processes, providing professional development opportunities, and fostering employee engagement.
  • Strategic partnerships and alliances: Identifying strategic partnerships, alliances or new opportunities that can help accelerate growth. Collaborating with complementary businesses, industry influencers, or distribution channels to expand market reach.

Funding during the growth stage:

Seeking Series B funding for expansion does not have a lot of upper limits considering you have already proven your business model. Most startups in this stage rarely have to look for funds; you may see a lot of incoming interest from investors. Companies can decide if they want to invest depending on their growth strategy. Series B funding can range from $10 million to an easy $20 million.

Metrics to focus on to succeed in the Growth Stage:

Heading: Metrics to focus on to succeed in the Growth Stage:

1. Revenue growth rate 
2. Customer lifetime value (CLV)
3. Gross margin
4. Customer churn rate
5. Market share
  1. Revenue growth rate: Measure the rate at which revenue is growing to assess the overall financial performance and success of the business. 
  2. Customer lifetime value (CLV): Calculate the projected revenue a customer will generate over their lifetime. Focus on increasing CLV through upselling, cross-selling, and customer retention strategies.
  3. Gross margin: Monitor the difference between revenue and the cost of goods sold. Improving gross margin indicates better profitability and efficiency in delivering products or services.
  4. Customer churn rate: Measure the rate at which customers are discontinuing their relationship with the business. Minimizing churn is crucial for sustainable growth and profitability.
  5. Market share: Evaluate the percentage of the total addressable market that your startup has captured. Increasing market share indicates a growing presence and competitive advantage.

Canadian Super (previously Snapcommerce) successfully secured US$85m in growth funding

Super is a “first-of-its-kind, debt-protecting card” that provides people with rewards and cashback while allowing them to build credit. The company raised its growth funding of US$85m at a stage where it had already surpassed $1 billion in sales, saved consumers $145 million, and netted a revenue of over $100 million with its commerce model previously known as Snapcommerce. When they opened up their credit card product, they garnered a waitlist of 7 million customers! Between 2021-2022, they also increased their employee count from 70 to 200.

Expansion Stage

After the growth stage, you enter the expansion stage. Now an experienced, mature startup in your industry – everything shifts into high gear to scale up, conquer new markets, and solidify your position in the industry.

You would be busy with big things in this phase:

  • Market diversification: Expanding into new markets, either geographically or by targeting new customer segments. Identifying untapped opportunities and developing tailored strategies to penetrate these markets.
  • Product line extension: Introducing new products or services that complement the existing offerings, allowing the startup to cater to a wider range of customer needs and increase revenue streams.
  • Strategic partnerships and alliances: Forming strategic partnerships with other companies in the industry to leverage their resources, expertise, or distribution channels. Facilitating market access, enhancing brand visibility, and driving growth.
  • Scalable infrastructure: Building a robust infrastructure capable of supporting increased demand and expansion. Including but not limited to investing in technology, logistics, production facilities, and supply chain management.
  • International expansion: Entering new international markets to tap into global opportunities. Developing localized strategies, adapting to cultural nuances, and navigating regulatory requirements to expand internationally successfully.

Funding during the expansion stage:

Series C and above funding is mostly reserved for mature expanding/scaling start-ups with valuations over US $100 million. Companies use these funds to expand to new markets or territories. Just like the growth stage, being an established startup, there is rarely a dearth of funding channels in the expansion stage too. VC firms specializing in late-stage startups, private equity firms, hedge funds, and investment banks would be happy to back your expansion; it really boils down to the best deal for you.

Metrics to focus on to succeed in the Expansion Stage:

Metrics to focus on to succeed in the Expansion Stage:

Market penetration
Customer acquisition efficiency
Revenue diversification
 International expansion metrics
Customer satisfaction and loyalty
  1. Market penetration: Measure percentages of the target market that your start-up has captured. Monitor market share and track the growth rate to evaluate the effectiveness of expansion efforts.
  2. Customer acquisition efficiency: Analyze the cost-effectiveness of acquiring new customers in new markets. Measure metrics such as customer acquisition cost (CAC), customer lifetime value (CLV), and payback period to optimize customer acquisition strategies.
  3. Revenue diversification: Assess the contribution of different revenue streams to the overall revenue mix. Aim for a diversified revenue base to mitigate risks and capitalize on multiple growth opportunities.
  4.  International expansion metrics: Track key performance indicators specific to international markets, such as market entry costs, localization efforts, revenue from international operations, and customer acquisition in new regions.
  5. Customer satisfaction and loyalty: This metric never goes out of style, no matter the stage! Monitor customer satisfaction levels and track metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or customer retention rate. Strong customer satisfaction and loyalty is always the best indicator of a successful expansion.

Telemedicine start-up Maple scales to new markets with acquisitions and by increasing the breadth of services

Maple is a digital healthcare platform that enables patients to connect directly with medical care specialists on their phones or computers. Founded in 2017, Maple is considered one of North America’s fastest-growing companies and Canada’s leading virtual care platform. They have served over 4 million patients. Maple has been expanding their market footprint by acquiring companies like Wello – a Calgary-based company that also provides virtual care. This acquisition will add approximately 350 new corporate clients to Maple’s roster. Maple also chose to branch into the mental health space with Mind by Maple, which offers comprehensive mental health services. 

Additionally, Shoppers Drug Mart invested CA $75 million for a minority stake in Maple. This partnership facilitated the development of new healthcare programs and enhanced in-person and virtual healthcare services.

Exit Stage

The exit stage of a start-up’s journey is not necessarily required. Many startups have goals that aren’t focused on exits. Many want to be long-term, high-value companies. 

However, for those who are in this stage or would like to see themselves in this stage, the exit stage involves preparing for a significant liquidity event, such as an acquisition, initial public offering (IPO), or merger. 

During this stage, the focus shifts from growth and expansion to maximizing value for investors and stakeholders. Start-ups in the exit stage aim to attract potential buyers or investors while ensuring a smooth transition for their customers and employees.

You can expect the following from this stage:

  • Financial Optimization: Maximizing profitability and financial performance to increase the company’s valuation.
  • Market Positioning: Solidifying the company’s competitive position and demonstrating sustainable growth potential to attract potential buyers or investors.
  • Due Diligence: Conduct a thorough assessment of the company’s operations, financials, legal aspects, and intellectual property to prepare for the exit process.
  • Preparation for liquidity event: Engaging in activities to maximize the company’s value and attractiveness to potential buyers or investors.
  • Negotiations and deal structuring: Negotiating with potential buyers or investors to achieve a favourable deal structure and terms.
  • Transition planning: Develop a transition plan to ensure a seamless transfer of ownership, maintain customer relationships, and support employees during the transition.

Metrics to focus on in the Exit Stage:

  1. Valuation: Monitoring the company’s valuation and ensuring it aligns with industry benchmarks and investor expectations.
  2. Revenue and Profitability: Demonstrating consistent revenue growth and sustainable profitability to increase the company’s attractiveness to potential buyers or investors.
  3. Market Share: Evaluating the company’s market share and growth trajectory compared to competitors, showcasing its position in the market.
  4. Investor Returns: Tracking the return on investment for early-stage investors to provide evidence of the company’s growth potential and value creation.

AbCellera Biologics – the largest-ever IPO for a Canadian biotech company

Founded in 2012, AbCellera is a Vancouver-based drug discovery platform that searches and analyzes immune systems. AbCellera has executed 4 strategic acquisitions in its lifetime to expand and scale, one of them being San Francisco-based Trianni for $90 million USD. The acquisition was followed by a CA$144 million Series B funding round. 
In 2020, AbCellera set out to raise $200 million through their IPO, but because of their much-anticipated success, they increased the size of their IPO 3 times. Finally, within minutes of listing on the NASDAQ, the stock price tripled from its IPO price of $20 per share to over $70, pulling in gross proceeds of $555.5 million.

Want to start up in Canada?

TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here.

How to be on top of the latest trends and news for your startup

As a startup founder, staying ahead of the curve and remaining informed are key ingredients for success. By proactively seeking knowledge, you empower yourself to make strategic decisions, seize opportunities, and position your startup for sustained growth.

However, in today’s world, lack of content and information is hardly the issue. Quite the opposite, there’s an abundance of content, which can make it difficult to stay focussed on the news that matters to your business. If you’re a startup founder entering the Canadian market and wondering how to stay up-to-date with your industry, this is the ultimate list for you.

Here are 5 simple things that every founder must add to their daily systems to ensure the information they consume helps them stay in the loop:

1. Set up Google Alerts

Google Alerts help you monitor specific keywords that appear in news articles or blogs. When Google Alerts finds a new piece of content matching your chosen keyword, it automatically sends you an email notification with the article. 

The best way to optimize the use of Google Alerts is to select a few keywords related to your industry, market, competitors, and emerging trends. For example, you can try “cleantech”, “ekona power inc”, or “cleantech funding in Canada”. It is recommended to add your own brand name as well to track your brand mentions in the media. 

You can even add filters on which country’s news sources you’d like to be shown articles from. Select ‘Canada’ here if you only want filtered news pieces from your industry within Canada. Below, we also help you with a list of trusted news sources for startups in Canada. 

You can also control how often you get these notifications; once a day is generally a comfortable alert duration without feeling like spam. 

Google will send you email notifications whenever new content matching your chosen keywords appears online.

2. Google Trends:

Google Trends is another powerful tool that can help your startup stay on top of industry trends and consumer interests. Based on your industry, you can type keywords into Google Trends and select a time period, and it will show you search data, emerging interests, and shifts in consumer behaviour. 

You can use Google Trends to compare different keywords related to your business to determine which ones are gaining popularity, compare a competitor’s brand name with yours, and get geographical insights on trending keywords as well.

These insights can help you refine your product strategy, SEO strategy, content creation, and marketing efforts to target the most relevant and trending search terms.

3. Follow Trusted News Sources

 Stay informed and plugged into the Canadian startup ecosystem by bookmarking these top publications for a steady stream of news and analysis.

Betakit: BetaKit is a Canadian authority on technology and startup focussed news, analysis, and insights. You can find all the latest happenings in the Canadian startup world here. 

The Logic: The Logic is a subscription-based Canadian digital media outlet focusing on in-depth reporting and analysis of the technology and innovation sectors. It is known for its investigative journalism that breaks down complex issues and their implications. 

Toronto Star: The Toronto Star is one of the most prominent and widely read newspapers in Canada, with a strong focus on local, national, and international news. 

Techcrunch: TechCrunch is a highly influential technology news media based in the United States, but it has a dedicated section for Canada. It is the right fit for coverage of global startups, venture capital trends, and emerging technologies worldwide in your industry.

StartupCanada: Startup Canada has a popular weekly newsletter you can subscribe to that shares curated content on current events and the latest success stories.

4. Use Social Media Wisely:

By following the right people, publications (like above), groups, and hashtags, you can actually curate your social media feed to serve the purpose of keeping you updated about your industry and trends.  

Identify key influencers and thought leaders in your industry and follow them on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and industry-specific forums. They are often the first to share their insights on trending topics within your industry. 

You can also follow relevant hashtags for your industry on Twitter or Instagram to get more updates on them. Additionally, find relevant Facebook groups or Linkedin Groups to stay in tune with industry conversations. 

5. Attend Industry Events and Conferences:

Finally, participate in relevant conferences, webinars, and industry events once in a while to keep up with industry advancements. These gatherings also offer fantastic opportunities to network and build a community. 

Remember that being on top of the latest trends and news is an ongoing process. Continuously refine your information sources, and keep reading and listening!

Want to start up in Canada? 
TBDC is the bridge you’re looking for! We are Canada’s premier startup incubator. Successful companies like Ibentos and Ayottaz have graduated from our programs and scaled through North America and the world. Are you ready to do the same and make your mark? To learn more, click here.

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