Black Swan #8 – Building the Canadian Shield

BetaKit podcast

I need PPE. You need PPE. We all need PPE. Here’s a story about the Canadian startup that pivoted to provide.

“I get here at seven, I leave here at 11 or midnight. I’ve been doing that for the last 40 days and I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else.”
– Jeremy Hedges

Two episodes ago, we had mentioned InkSmith, a Kitchener-based educational toy manufacturer. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, InkSmith rapidly swapped to producing PPE (personal protective equipment), specifically multi-use face shields.

First came the Community Shield (crowdsourced 3D printed face shields), then the Canadian Shield. The Canadian Shield received Health Canada approval in March, and has been awarded a federal contract to produce 10 million units of reusable face shields by August.

To do that, InkSmith spun out its own company, also called the Canadian Shield, and hired 300 employees. This episode of Black Swan features Jeremy Hedges, President of InkSmith and CEO of The Canadian Shield, who explains the process of pivoting one business while launching another one in the middle of a pandemic.

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Hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Produced with support from TWG.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.