Why are there 100,000 fewer Canadian entrepreneurs?

BetaKit Podcast SAAS NORTH 2023
Satish Kanwar and Katy Yam join for a special episode recorded live on the BetaKit Keynote Stage at SAAS NORTH.

Live from SAAS NORTH, it’s the BetaKit Podcast!

While last year’s live podcast was recorded at the ungodly hour of 7:30 am, this year we came correct: on the BetaKit Keynote Stage right after lunch.

“Capital efficiency is actually really sexy.”

It might be because the AMA format we use for these live shows leads to some of our most popular episodes, but it’s more likely due to our headlining guests: Satish Kanwar (ex-Shopify, now Good Future), and Katy Yam (Real Ventures and FounderFuel).

But while last year’s podcast discussion topic (on the death of Canadian startups) was suitably grim for its time of recording, this year’s topic wasn’t much better: the steady decline of Canadian entrepreneurship. A recent BDC report puts that decline at 100,000 fewer entrepreneurs than in 2000—a striking number given Canada’s population has increased by more than 10 million in the same period of time.

So what is the cause? And, perhaps more importantly, what are the solutions?

Our guest panellists were quick to note that there are many different paths to entrepreneurship (some, perhaps, not captured in BDC’s report data), and given current market uncertainties, each path should be met with a higher degree of empathy than in the zero interest, free-flowing capital heydays.

Judging by their questions, the SAAS NORTH 2023 audience was certainly focused on navigating the current moment, submitting a number of pointed and operationally-minded prompts that our guest panellists deftly navigated while Rob and I hid behind our seats (we’re also fans of the AMA format). While some (like VC-approved metrics) were topics we’ve engaged with before, most were net-new, and quite surprising!

What kind of trouble did the BetaKit Podcast crew stir up in the nation’s capital?

Let’s dig in.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys and Rob Kenedi. Produced by Kattie Laur, edited by Kattie Laur and Poncho Navarro. Sponsored by Float and Cisco Secure Firewall. Feature image courtesy SAAS NORTH.

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.

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