Because we wanted something that was deeper and more human than an insights deck, we coordinated interviews, workshops, and concept testing, all in just 25 days, to truly understand the needs of small to medium sized businesses across Canada.
We immersed ourselves in the world of entrepreneurship by speaking to over 50 small business owners - learning their stories, their successes, and their challenges.
We've spoken to entrepreneurs across Canada, covering eight provinces, Coast to Coast. From big cities like Toronto to entrepreneurial hubs like Moncton.
Our approach has been industry agnostic, encompassing over 12 different industries from Real Estate to FinTechs to Consumer Packaged Goods.
We’ve spoken with such a diverse set of people that range in background and the way they fell into entrepreneurship – but yet they shared so many common struggles when it came to getting the business off the ground. As a way to bring the aggregation of our insights to life, we constructed four personas to encapsulate the sentiments and needs of the bright business owners we met.
chloe, the savy startup founder
Chloe lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where she is in the first two years of her startup. She is passionate about social media and is looking to build a shopping integration API that connects with Instagram. After university Chloe worked in marketing at a CPG, but left to pursue her passion in the tech world.
Her background and management skills are good, however, she lacks technical expertise. Due to her connections, she has leads on funding but its taking lots of time and effort to secure it. Time is of the essence and the window of opportunity to scale up is short.
Tyler, the rocket FUELLED business owner
Tyler is an experienced professional in the fitness and physical health space in Toronto, Ontario. He is the founder of a healthy meal online distribution company in the GTA. He's a self-starter, extremely motivated, and idolizes business magnates and successful entrepreneurs. He reads lots of motivational books, considers himself extremely tech savvy and well versed in business principles.
He struggles with time management and prioritization of tasks to complete. Free cash flow: as his business is growing, there have been several scenarios where lack of additional capital has lost Tyler key opportunities.
mauricio, the mature business owner
Mauricio is a local COO for a family owned construction company in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he has worked for over 25 years. He is now on the management team with his brother. The business was started by his father and has been around for 40+ years. For Mauricio, it was a natural tran-sition into the family business after he completed college. He worked as a general manager and knows every aspect of the business.
He is looking to off board a variety of his tasks in the next couple of years, but hopes to maintain longevity and keep the family legacy going. To do this he will have to start grooming new management.
marie, the scrappy BUSINESS OWNER
Marie is a first time entrepreneur that has opened up a brunch spot in Montréal, Québec. She is a passionate foodie and local community business advocate. She had previously worked in the restaurant business for a several years as a waitress and has diligently saved up money to open up her own business.
She lacks business experience and didn’t expect the business journey to be so difficult. Struggling to legitimize her business and gain more customers in the area, sales and marketing are a huge challenge. Accounting and finance is taken from a day to day approach, with little experience in financial/cost management.