Canadian Entrepreneurs Must Be Bold, Brash

Canadians are, by and large, nice and polite. Unfortunately, this approach is also part of the business and entrepreneurial landscape. While we may be confident, we’re not bold, cocky or aggressive.

South of the border, entrepreneurs are a different breed. They truly believe they’re the best, the smartest, pioneers and world beaters. It may not, in fact, be true but it doesn’t stop them from thinking it or, at least, trying to get other people to think it.

With this in mind, it was encouraging and refreshing to see five early-stage entrepreneurs hit the stage yesterday at Extreme Ventures Demo Day. They oozed with confidence and a go-for-it attitude.

Before Jeff Lawrence, Granify’s co-founder and CEO, launched his presentation, he hit the audience with the pitch that “if you sell something online and you don’t have your own data science team, come talk to us”. Jay Parmar, the co-founder and CEO with Picatic, declared his online ticketing service was “disruptive and distinctive”.


For entrepreneurs, a key part of the marketing mix is confidence. I mean, if you’re not willing to tell potential customers about the awesomeness of your product, you might as well pack up shop and go home.

Whether you run a startup, small business or a large enterprise, being bold and brash is the oxygen that keeps marketing and sales rocking and rolling. Being polite and nice may get people to like you but you’ll probably end up watching from the sidelines.

One more comment about Demo Day: John Biggs, TechCrunch’s east coast editor, opined there are “not enough cool stories coming out of Toronto”. It’s a statement likely intended to tease startups looking for coverage but I think Biggs is illustrating that Canadian entrepreneurs aren’t willing to be splash or sexy enough to attract the spotlight.

The bottom line is Canadian entrepreneurs don’t necessarily need to be cocky but they must believe they can compete with anyone, anywhere. If that includes embracing a different, if not uncomfortable, attitude so be it.

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  • Girish Rao

    Thanks for saying what needed to be said. Attitude is a huge component of success.

  • matt roberts

    Extreme Startups demoday not ventures….

  • Ammad Shaikh

    Part of the reason why I made the move to the Valley from Toronto was attitude. Most people were often too afraid to step outside of their comfort zone.

  • C.P. Spencer

    Its the money, honey. SV wins another.

  • Chris

    That’s only part of the story. Reality is US-based VCs don’t hit a lot of home runs, and they have a large inventory of startup opportunities in their own back yards.

    There are many ways Canadian companies can get noticed, and yes, being cocky works, especially when you can back it up. And Canadian companies certainly can back it up.