Six benefits of shopping local this holiday season — and seven tips to make it easier than ever

Shopping locally is gaining popularity with many Canadians. According to a recent opinion poll, a majority of consumers said they’d rather shop local than purchase from large online retailers — and there’s never been a better time to invest in your community while practising conscious consumerism. 

This holiday season, your local small business owners and entrepreneurs — including many Futurpreneurs — will appreciate your efforts. Let’s dive into the benefits of shopping locally this holiday season, along with some tips and ideas for supporting small businesses across Canada.

1. Keep your tax dollars in the community

For every $100 spent at a small business, on average $66 stays local, according to new data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. That’s an impressive figure, compared to the $11 that stays in the community from every $100 spent at a large multinational business.

2. Support local entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs drive prosperity in Canada. According to the Business Council of Canada, entrepreneurs found or lead 98% of all small and medium-sized businesses in the country — and they create nearly half of all new jobs, generate around a third of the Canadian GDP, and produce a quarter of our exports. 

3. Support local causes

Supporting a local business allows them to give back to the community in volunteer days, support and sponsorship programs, and donating to local causes. Our Futurpreneurs love giving back to their communities — and you can help them do it by giving them your business.

4. Lower your environmental impact

Purchasing locally made goods helps reduce the greenhouse gases associated with shipping products hundreds or thousands of kilometres, and it can help reduce urban sprawl and habitat loss. Smaller businesses also generally require less energy for their operations. 

5. Enjoy better customer service

Small business owners and employees typically offer high-quality service and an in-depth knowledge of the products they’re selling. They’re fully invested in the success of the business, and they’ll go out of their way to make your shopping experience enjoyable and meaningful. 

6. Find unique gifts

Shopping locally allows you to discover one-of-a-kind gifts that stand out from mass-produced items. With a more limited stock, each gift you select is unique, adding a personal touch to your holiday presents — and you can often meet the creator who made the gift, adding another layer of fun and value to your holiday shopping. 

Seven tips for finding the perfect local businesses, products and services

While polling shows a majority of Canadians say supporting local businesses is important to them, 87% report doing most of their shopping through multinational retailers — and 78% of small retailers say they’re losing customers to big businesses. 

Here are some ways to make shopping locally easier this holiday season.

1. Shop the Futurpreneur 2023 Holiday Shopping Guide

Want to shop local and support young entrepreneurs across Canada? The Futurpreneur 2023 Holiday Shopping Guide features a range of holiday offerings from small, local Canadian businesses. Find unique and affordable holiday gifts from our diverse, skilled Futurpreneurs. Explore products by specific communities, including Black, Indigenous, woman-owned, and 2SLGBTQIA+ businesses, or shop by province or category.

2. Set a budget and purchase with purpose

Set a clear budget for your holiday shopping this year, and stick to it. Remember — a less-expensive but more meaningful gift can help you stay within budget and also bring more joy to the recipient. 

Interac Corp., one of our presenting sponsors for this year’s Holiday Shopping Guide, offers its Interac Debit solution to make everyday purchases quick and easy with just a tap — and this option can lower the cost of transactions for small businesses, too. Interac also has some great advice for reducing holiday stress

3. Look online 

There’s a good chance that even the smallest local shops in your community have a website or social media presence, allowing you to shop locally — online. All of the Futurpreneurs featured in our Holiday Shopping Guide are examples of this. To make life even easier, inquire about delivery or curbside pickup options.

4. Hit the holiday craft fairs

Winter markets and craft fairs are a great way to discover local entrepreneurs. Futurpreneur recently hosted a six-city, cross-Canada Holiday Shopping Tour where our young entrepreneurs highlighted their products in local marketplaces. Events like these let you see a range of different local gift-buying options in one place — and they’re fun, festive and family-friendly.

5. Consider gift certificates

The gift of time is precious, and gift certificates can save the day — purchase them for everything from house-cleaning and pet-walking services to local restaurants, boutiques, spas, salons and gift shops. Gift certificates from small local coffee and tea shops are great gifts for coworkers, teachers, and others this season.

6. Hire a local caterer

The holidays are a busy time. If you can, give yourself a break and hire a local caterer to do the cooking, baking or charcuterie boards for your holiday events. Many local caterers and restaurant owners love to shine at this time of year and could really benefit from a boost from local consumers. 

7. Show your appreciation

Customer and community engagement mean everything to a small-business owner, so join that newsletter and follow, like and share those social media posts. Word-of-mouth can make or break a young entrepreneur, so if you’ve had a great experience with a local business, take a few moments to shout it from the rooftops!

Shopping local is easy with Futurpreneur

Shopping locally this year can make a big difference to young entrepreneurs — and we’ve made it easy once again with our 2023 Futurpreneur Holiday Shopping Guide (in French here). We’ve carefully curated unique, affordable holiday gift options into this year’s guide.

If you’re a local entrepreneur, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), our other presenting sponsor for this year’s Holiday Shopping Guide, has created this handy small business toolkit to help young entrepreneurs get ready for the busy holiday season. 

The Growth Accelerator: A Power-Packed Event

Launching a successful business is a major milestone for any aspiring entrepreneur. However, the true measure of accomplishment lies in nurturing that startup and taking it to new heights. That is precisely why Futurpreneur and Spin Master have collaborated to deliver the Growth Accelerator. It is an exclusive opportunity for Futurpreneur-supported entrepreneurs to broaden their horizons and give their businesses an edge.  

This extraordinary initiative is tailored for diverse young entrepreneurs who have already launched their businesses and are growth-focused. The program provides entrepreneurs multiple opportunities for coaching, knowledge-sharing, networking, and supports from experts to maximize their chances of successfully scaling their business. 

This year’s Growth Accelerator included 25 entrepreneurs from across the country who participated in three months of workshops focused on marketing, operations, and finance. Futurpreneur also held an exclusive session, in collaboration with Empower by GoDaddy, to help enhance digital presence and increase sales.  


The Growth Accelerator Cohort with Jon Levy and Tam Linnemann.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

Led by subject matter experts, the Growth Accelerator workshops provided entrepreneurs insights on scaling their startups and enhancing their skillsets to achieve their business growth goals. The sessions culminated with two days of in-person events, where the entrepreneurs came together and pitched their businesses, with James Lynn from KALŪ, taking home a $10,000 cash award to put towards the growth of his business.


Day One: The Big Showcase 

The Growth Accelerator summit kicked off at Spin Master’s head office in downtown Toronto where the enthusiastic cohort was welcomed by business leaders including Futurpreneur’s CEO, Karen Greve Young, Vice President, Programs & Partnerships, Janis Nixon; Spin Master’s Vice President of Sales, Tom Linnemann and Vice President, Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, Tammy Smitham.


Karen Greve Young, CEO, Futurpreneur.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

The opening keynote was delivered by the visionary Jon Levy, Head of Spin Master Ventures and Co-Founder of Mastermind Toys.

Jon Levy, Head of Spin Master Ventures and Co-Founder of Mastermind Toys.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

Our Growth Accelerator cohort also had the privilege of learning from accomplished young entrepreneurs and Futurpreneur alumni. Mark Argo, Co-Founder of Little Robot Friends, Wilmer Hernandez, Founder of Montañeros Coffee, and Candace Tierney, Founder of Oat & Mill, shared their success stories and the challenges they encountered along the way. Their insights provided inspiration and guidance to our participants, offering a glimpse into the realities of the entrepreneurial journey.


Tom Linnemann, Candace Tierney, Mark Argo, and Wilmer Hernandez.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

The highlight of the day was the incredible showcase organized for the entrepreneurs to display their products and services, which included eyewear, tutoring services, health and wellness, pet food, outdoor recreation, and others. The event served as a tremendous opportunity for our entrepreneurs to develop partnerships and collaborations with each other, network with industry leaders, and explore possibilities to scale their businesses.



The Showcase Event at the Spin Master Office.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

The day concluded with an awe-inspiring address from none other than John Risley, Founder and President of Clearwater Foods, and the esteemed Founding Board Chair of Futurpreneur Canada. As an industry leader, and titan of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, John Risley’s presence was a testament to the caliber of our program. What truly set him apart was his genuine interest in our cohort, and his business insights resonated deeply with the entrepreneurs, leaving an indelible impact on them. 

John Risley, Founder and President of Clearwater Foods,
Founding Board Chair of Futurpreneur Canada.

Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

The young entrepreneurs were excited to interact with a diverse array of trailblazers, each with their own remarkable journey and experiences. These interactions ignited a spark within the cohort, leaving them motivated to bring their A-game to the pitch competition scheduled for the following day. 

Meghan Victoria, Founder & Creative Director of Sol Kyst, with Rubble.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

Day Two: The Grand Finale 

On the heels of a successful day one, filled with engaging conversations with an exceptional line up of guests, the diverse young entrepreneurs were ready to pitch their businesses and vie for the coveted $10,000 cash award.

The day began with an invigorating session on the “Power of Storytelling”. With his infectious energy, Jake Karls, the dynamic Co-Founder & Rainmaker of Mid-Day Squares delved into his own entrepreneurial journey, from the modest beginnings of starting a business with his sister and brother-in-law in their apartment in 2018, to the astounding achievement of selling over 20 million chocolate bars within five years.  

Jake’s advice to the entrepreneurs was clear and impactful. His storytelling prowess captivated all in attendance and left them supercharged to unlock their own untapped potential. He emphasized the importance of authenticity in establishing genuine connections with their audience and encouraged them to embrace vulnerability without fear. With his mantra of “being real” and fearlessly embracing disruption, he empowered our Growth Accelerator cohort to boldly carve their own unique paths to success. 

Jake Karls, Co-Founder of Mid-Day Squares.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

The next session was a workshop on Effective Communication, hosted by Rahel Appiagyei-David, Founding Director of One1000 Consulting. Rahel shared the secrets to forming customers connections through effective communications including building on credibility and accountability to strengthen trust for the brand.

Rahel Appiagyei-David, Founding Director of One1000 Consulting
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

Soon after, the pitch competition started with the participants breaking into rooms to present their pitches to judges including Valerie Fox, Chief Innovation Consultant, The Pivotal Point, and Futurpreneur Board Member; Catherine Addai-Boadu, Founder and CEO of KAELA KAY; Melissa Allen, Executive Director, League of Innovators (LOI Accelerator); Tom Linnemann, Vice President of Sales, Spin Master; Tammy Smitham, Vice President, Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility Spin Master, and Dominik Loncar, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Futurpreneur.
The judges were inspired by the entrepreneurs’ vision and decided to move forward with six finalists instead of five, including: James Lynn, Founder of KALŪ, Abbie Morris, Co-founder of FarOut Wilderness, Ty de Hoog, Founder of True North Cider, Anisa Musmary, Founder of Wanderruff, Michael Collins, Founder & CEO of Periculum, Julianne Nieh, Founder & Director of Teaboco.


Julianne Nieh, Founder & Director of Teaboco.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

After an intense round of pitching to an expanded audience of judges including Jake Karls and Joshua Misquitta, from CIBC, James Lynn emerged as the well-deserved recipient of the coveted $10,000 cash award. The exhilaration in the room was palpable as James’ name was called, and his reaction was nothing short of pure joy. With genuine excitement, he exclaimed, “The Growth Accelerator experience ranks amongst the highest highs I’ve ever experienced. This award will allow me to fast-track certain projects that otherwise would’ve been put off until a later time. These projects will significantly accelerate my growth in the short term and help my business reach new heights! I’m so grateful!”.
Check out our full press release for more on James’ win!


The Award Recipient, James Lynn, Founder of KALŪ with the Futurpreneur and Spin Master Team.
Photo Credit: Garcia Creative

With day two drawing to a close, the conclusion of this year’s Growth Accelerator program filled the air with an atmosphere of positivity, camaraderie, and boundless enthusiasm. The participants, special guests, and esteemed judges, departed with hearts full of inspiration and a shared sense of accomplishment. The successful culmination of Futurpreneur’s Growth Accelerator ignited a collective anticipation for the next round, fostering a desire to continue the journey of growth and empowerment.  

As the curtains closed on this year’s program, the prevailing sentiment was one of gratitude and excitement for the next chapter. The Growth Accelerator had fostered an extraordinary environment that nurtured growth, ambition, and limitless possibilities. The participants departed with a desire to continue their entrepreneurial journeys, armed with the experiences and connections gained through this initiative led by Futurpreneur, in collaboration with Spin Master. Until next year’s Growth Accelerator, their journey continues with the unwavering belief that anything is achievable.

Meghan Victoria and Julianne Nieh Share Their Collab Video on Instagram.

If this article inspired you to embark on your own entrepreneurial journey reach out today! The Growth Accelerator is tailor-made for ambitious entrepreneurs who are supported by Futurpreneur with financing and mentorship and have a strong desire to scale their businesses. If this sounds like you, be sure to apply when the next round of applications for the Growth Accelerator opens up 

Introducing the 2023 Growth Accelerator cohort

Learning plays a vital role in an entrepreneur’s growth and the success of their business. Learning enables quick thinking, sound decision-making, problem solving, and planning for the future. Futurpreneur’s Growth Accelerator is a unique offering to our Young Entrepreneurs who want to elevate their business to higher levels of success.

Facilitated digitally again this year, with an in-person strategy pitch session in Toronto in April, the Growth Accelerator will provide insight and education on various aspects of a business throughout the course of the initiative.

Commencing in February 2023, the workshops this month will focus on Marketing:  Entrepreneurs will learn to create an implementable marketing strategy for their business. In March, the spotlight will fall on creating operational assets and how to implement/access them. Last but definitely not the least, Finance will be April’s focus: Entrepreneurs will be armed with heightened awareness of their current and future financial numbers to make appropriate financial forecasts and decisions.

Growth Accelerator is a Futurpreneur initiative, powered by Spin Master. We thank Spin Master for supporting this initiative and accelerating the future of entrepreneurship.

Meet this year’s cohort:


A Cut Above Tree Experts is a year-round tree care provider in Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Cambridge that is committed to the preservation and health of our urban canopies. The tree service includes services such as pruning, tree removal, stump grinding, cabling and bracing (support systems), plant health care, tree planting, storm damage clean up, risk assessments, tree consulting.


Ace It Tutoring offers a new and fresh approach to the concept of tutoring. No More appointments. No more time limits. No more just one subject at a time. They are the gym for Math and Science grades.


Ada’s Golf Boutique is an online destination for fashionable and functionable golf and activewear for women. From buying, to building Ada’s creative marketing campaigns, Mackenzie has enjoyed every moment of making Ada’s Golf Boutique a reality. Ada’s allows Mackenzie to channel her innovative side and celebrate women.


Best Cat is a cat specialty retailer that sources unique cat food, treats, toys, cat furniture and accessories. Best Cat is owned and operated by Meagan and Kyle Daigle, siblings who are passionate about enriching the lives of Canadian cats. Best Cat is the go-to cat retailer in the GTA, featuring a selection of difficult to find, quality products and providing responsive customer service.


Choco de Léa offers high-end, vegan, eco-responsible chocolates, made from cocoa beans and direct trading practice. The brand combines the concept of food chemistry, local products and the particularities of fine cacao to create unique and very high-quality products.


Dialed Bike Service is a precision bike maintenance and repair shop with a focus on high-end mountain bikes. Founders Ash and Adam are extremely proud of creating a space that honours their own neurodivergence, while working towards creating space for more people like them in the bike industry and community and focusing on delivering unparalleled quality and attention to detail.


FarOut Wilderness provides safe access to the backcountry of British Columbia through self-drive overland vehicle rentals and tailor-made itineraries. It offers an unrivaled opportunity for its clients to safely adventure through the province’s wild and beautiful places.


Locally grown with love, the brand is founded by passionate growers dedicated to fighting food insecurity through serving the community by producing high quality, nutrient dense, fresh food and natural products. Putting their heart in every plant from seed to harvest, they grow using natural ways to promote a healthy, sustainable, and productive environment.


Hope Pet Food is bridging the gap between nutritious and sustainable with alternative proteins from insects, algae and fungi. They are on a mission to provide pet parents with better food for their furry family members using an evidence-based approach, nutrient-rich and eco-friendly ingredients all while leaving livestock and fish ingredients behind.


KALŪ is an eco-friendly pet food company. The brains behind KALŪ believe that the best way to encourage their customers to make sustainable choices is to offer products designed with the utmost respect for the environment around us.  KALŪ is a local, accessible and environmentally responsible alternative to the products that are currently available on the market.


Kids Innovative is an after-school STEAM educational service providing digital literacy to students. Kids Innovative particularly focuses on combining digital art with coding or animation in an interactive classroom session.


Mararamiro is the first shoppable photography studio in Canada. They have an online home decor store as well as a Toronto showroom that doubles as an elevated, fully furnished, and styled photography studio that they rent to content creators and brands.


More Granola is Canada’s first and only brand of snackable granola chunks. We make granola snacks in a line of dessert inspired flavours, including Pecan Pie, Hot Cocoa, Nutty Crumble and Salted Caramel.


Nailify stands out by providing high quality consulting services and top of the shelves supply for beauty professionals, more specifically nail professionals. The company has a retail store in Québec city and its core business is across the Province of Québec through their online store.


Periculum builds data analytic software that empowers organizations in underserved markets. They help companies with credit assessment, ML modeling, Fraud risk, Churn risk, and more. They bring intelligence to the core of everything that matters most to the customers.


PieceMeal was developed out of the beautiful Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia to fill the need for a locally sourced meal kit. It is a hybrid between a CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) Box and a Meal Kit. The recipes were designed by professional chef Fiona Lewis and are chosen in collaboration with available produce from local farms.


Quvé Group is a small Toronto-based wine and spirits agency offering commercial level sales and marketing management within a boutique firm setting. They specialize in representing independent, family-owned producers using organic/sustainable methods.


SOL KYST is a curated collection of sunglasses designed to fit and flatter those with a wide/round/square face shape. With the widest women’s frames on the market and as a solution-based product they offer classic designs with an emphasis on quality, function and versatility.


SRTraining offers an all-rounded approach to helping individuals find their version of happy, healthy, and wholesome. They offer a 1 – 1 in-person health and wellness training facility. They help their customers focus on a better lifestyle, wellness, health habits that will build them into being that fuller more healthier, happier, trusting self.


Tatamagouche Ice Creamery, a manufacturer; retailer; and wholesaler of ultra-premium ice cream, celebrated its official launch on Canada Day of 2020, following over a year of hard work and investment.


Teaboco is a women-owned Canadian brand that promotes intentional and sustainable living with a range of eco-friendly, reusable drink ware. The name Teaboco came from the multi-functional functionality of the products including glass tumblers that can be used for Tea, Boba, Coffee, and more.


Timber and Fins is a company dedicated to crafting heirloom-quality fly fishing gear that enhances the fishing experience and can be passed down from one generation to the next. Founded three years ago by David-Alexandre Chabot, Timber and Fins was created out of a desire to provide high-quality, responsibly-made fly fishing products.


True North Cider strives to create genuine, authentic cider made from 100% Canadian apples, fermented in small batches, and developed into unique seasonal flavours. By providing an authentic and unique product they separate themselves from major global cider producers.


Wanderruff is a sustainable dog accessories brand making dog collars, harnesses, and leashes out of recycled water bottles and zero waste beds for the wagging adventurer — merging comfort and consciousness.


Wearshop is a leather handbag brand designed for the woman-on-the-go. The bags are functional and practical, yet elegant. All their bags are made in Canada by local artisans who date and sign each bag as their way of adding an extra human touch to their work.

Introducing the 2022 Growth Accelerator cohort!

Our economy never stops growing, and the Futurpreneur team believes the growth of your company shouldn’t either. 

Beginning this week through to June, Futurpreneur’s Growth Accelerator has invited 14 entrepreneurs within Canada to build upon the success of their business(s). Facilitated digitally for the second year, entrepreneurs will gain invaluable knowledge on how to pitch to new potential buyers, drive sales through an e-commerce platform, and tap into new markets without leaving the comfort of their own home.  

Entrepreneurs specializing in the packaged goods industry via their own enterprises will partake in workshops, meetings, and networking sessions. These growth opportunities have been carefully curated to propel entrants towards their goals and offer real-world strategies to generate success in the years to come.  

This year’s Growth Accelerator is offered in partnership with Spin Master Inc.and supported by Dentons Canada and Ramp Communications. The entire Futurpreneur family wishes to extend our thanks to our partners for supporting this initiative and accelerating the future of entrepreneurship.

Showcasing the future:  

7 SUMMITS SNACKS (Edmonton, AB):

7 Summits Snacks is a women-led company specializing in nutritional chocolate products. Eager to fuel your next adventure, they hope to inform the general public about the multi-faceted health benefits of chocolate and increase their revenues by 200%.



Allett Canada imports, sells, and distributes luxury cylinder mowers and sports turf equipment to homeowners and enterprises across the country–while offering service and warranty claims for both. Allett intends to double their revenues from their previous fiscal year.  

BE SPRUCY (Toronto, ON):

Be Sprucy is a personal hygiene brand that produces non-traditional hand sanitizer and a range of other hygiene offerings. Sprucy intends to showcase their sustainably created products to increase brand awareness and achieve their goal of becoming the world’s leading personal hygiene company.   

CHIWIS (Squamish, BC):

Chiwis is a women-led, proud certified, company which creates 100% natural fruit chips by creatively re-using fruit. They plan to increase their customer base and therefore provide more opportunities for prospective customers to enjoy their sustainable offerings. 

FLAX HOME (Vancouver, BC):

Flax Home produces ultra-soft, ultra-breathable, bedding, towels, and home goods made from 100% pure linen. They plan to extend market expansion and expand the scale of their operations.  


JAAN FOODS (Surrey, BC):

Jaan Foods makes clean label, plant-based foods from a high standard culinary perspective. They aspire to increase revenues through digital marketing, scale their general operations, and generate increased value propositions for their investors.  

MILLER BOX CO. (Hamilton, ON):

Miller Box Co. masterfully crafts customized, curated gift boxes showcasing local and Canadian businesses. Miller Box Co. intends to increase operational efficiency and refine their marketing and growth strategies.  


MONUTS (Winnipeg, MB):

MoNUTs provides handcrafted, plant-based, protein donut snacks derived from nutritious ingredients and their own unique blend of plant-based sweeteners—with no sugar additives. MoNUTS strives to increase their market stake and boost brand awareness through digital marketing strategies.  

MORE EATS (Toronto, ON):

More Eats flagship product is a gourmet granola made with simple and nutritious ingredients crafted into flavors inspired by classic desserts. More Eats intends to enhance their sales strategies to bolster research and development while expanding into new markets. 

OAT & MILL (Colborne, ON):

Oat & Mill offers a premium, plant-based, array of frozen desserts from carefully selected ingredients and in-house crafted oat cream. They hope to refine the growth strategy for their enterprise and provide more delicious offerings to more customers.  

ROLL UP (Etobicoke, ON):

Roll Up is a personal hygiene paper company utilizing sustainable Bamboo pulp. They’re unique brand identity brings character and environmentally conscious products to the general public while being 100% plastic free.  

SARKO BEAUTY (Coquitlam, BC):

Sarko Beauty offers a variety of human hair products: extensions, toppers and wigs. Their brands’ expert customer service includes a growing community that intends to generate self-empowerment and confidence for all. Sarko Beauty hopes to refine their growth strategy to scale operations and generate more revenue.  


SoulDeo Naturals creates all-natural personal hygiene products. The success of their natural deodorant led to the development of a variety of best-selling hygiene products. SoulDeo Naturals seeks to further develop their growth strategies to increase their success. 


Wolseley Kombucha is a woman-owned and operated kombucha company. Their product is organic, raw, healthy, and undiluted. They aspire to improve their market entry strategy to access more customers and generate both brand awareness and increase revenues. 


Are you looking to take your business from idea to success? Click here to discover our programs and offerings. 


Article written by Jason T.L. Bailey  

G20 YEA 2021: In-Person Delegation Announcement & Activity Updates

The Canadian delegation is getting ready to attend the G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance Summit (G20 YEA) on October 5th and 6th in Milan, which was organized by Confindustria Giovani Imprenditori, with support from our partner Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Trade Commissioner Services (TCS). 

The Summit is titled Global Renaissance: Sustainability, inclusion and innovation for prosperity. Young entrepreneurs participating will be conquering topics such as inclusion, climate change and environment innovation, as well as the digitalization and future of work. 

G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Alliance In-Person Delegation Announced

Given the current COVID-19 regulations, travel restrictions and the safety of participants, the Summit is proceeding as a hybrid event. Instead of the full G20 YEA delegation traveling to the host destination, a team of 13 selected delegates will be representing the Canadian delegation in person in Milan, led by Futurpreneur’s G20 YEA President, Dan Ouimet, and Sherpa, Mégane Visette. Meanwhile, the remaining 36 delegates will be participating in summit events and lending their crucial input remotely from across Canada. 

After much consideration, the 13 individuals who have been selected to participate in-person and represent our delegation at the Summit are:  

Three delegates have also been selected by our Italian hosts and Summit partner Accenture to speak during the Summit’s global panels: Annie Cyr, Jean-Sébastien Bouchard, and Reneta Johnson. 

G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Alliance 2021 Pre-Summit Activities

Over the course of the summer, our delegation took part in consultative Taskforce meetings led by Futurpreneur and our G20 YEA alumni and Taskforce leads: Steph Limage (Digitization, Innovation & Future of Work Track), Ghalia Aamer (Inclusion and Equal Opportunities Track), and Nina Lantinga (Sustainability, Climate Change and Energy Track).  

Delegates had the opportunity to meet with and learn from a variety of stakeholders, including the Youth 20 (Y20) delegation led by Young Diplomats of Canada, the Women 20 (W20), G(irls)20, the YWCA, and the Women’s Economic Council (WEC). During these meetings, delegates were able to outline Canadian young entrepreneurs’ priorities under the themes of the 2021 Summit and Communiqué. 

The Canadian delegation additionally benefited from the following virtual sessions: 

  • The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) briefed our delegates on the importance of IP protection at home and abroad. For more information on CIPO, click here. 
  • The Inclusive Trade team at EDC, one of our 2021 Delegation Partners, also briefed our delegates on pitching and value proposition, financing for international growth, and the variety of EDC services available to young entrepreneurs’ SMEs, especially women and BIPOC entrepreneurs. For more information on EDC, click here. 
  • The Trade Commissioner Services continues to provide meaningful resources and support to our delegates looking to export and trade in Italy, as well as other G20 countries. For more information on TCS, click here. 

About the G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Alliance

To maximize the transformative potential of the most brilliant minds in youth entrepreneurship across the globe, the G20 YEA Summit was launched in 2010 in Toronto. Young people were united to put forth recommendations concerning the global entrepreneurship agenda discussed in the leaders’ G20 and G7 summits. With the overwhelming success of the conference, the G20 YEA annual summit was launched, and Futurpreneur was selected to represent the Canadian delegation. Over the years, the summits have helped influence topics such as barriers to capital, skills and entrepreneurial training, free trade, sustainable business models and more. 

Learn more about the G20 YEA here.  

National Indigenous History Month

June is National Indigenous History Month – a time when we are asked to reflect upon the history and heritage of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across Canada. 

At Futurpreneur, we aim to celebrate and showcase – throughout June and every month of the year – the contributions that Indigenous young entrepreneurs are making in their communities and regions across the country. 

Futurpreneur has been serving young entrepreneurs from a broad array of backgrounds since our inception. Through the work of our dedicated Indigenous Young Entrepreneur (IYE) team, we seek to build on that foundation, supporting more and more First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth on their entrepreneurial journeys. 

In addition to encouraging and supporting Indigenous small business owners through funding and mentorship, we are also collaborating with Indigenous organizations to fulfill our mission, showcasing role models to inspire other Indigenous young people to consider launching a business as a career path, and developing and delivering culturally relevant and appropriate programming. 

Our commitment to reaching and serving IYEs is reflected in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action 92, which asks the Canadian corporate sector to “ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.”

This journey is ongoing. Our IYE team, along with the entire staff at Futurpreneur, will work daily to learn, grow and establish new ways to support young Indigenous people across Canada, meeting them where they are and readying them for success. 

Learn more about our programming for Indigenous entrepreneurs here.

G20YEA Summit: “Perfect for any company interested in expanding beyond borders”

Hamza Khan and Daniel Martinovic are the co-founders of Vimto. Last year, the Toronto-based entrepreneurs joined the Canadian delegation to the 2020 G20YEA Summit in Saudi Arabia. Ahead of the 2021 summit in Italy, the cofounders share their experiences meeting fellow delegates, making international connections and exploring ways to expand their business globally. is a software as a service​ that assists startups and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in automating their sales funnels, all while providing a tailored knowledge base. Acting as a digital growth consultant, Vimto helps businesses to scale internationally and enter new markets.

We undertook this project following a trip to Turkey, where we engaged in some consulting with the government. We were tasked to help SMEs export their technologies. While there, it troubled us that there were so many remarkable entrepreneurs with impressive businesses and products, whose growth was limited by their inability to sell. This bothered us to the point where we recognized that we could turn this problem into a full on venture, and Vimto was born.

The G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit in Saudi Arabia

In 2020, Vimto was fortunate to be included as a participant at the G20 YEA summit, thanks to the amazing team at Futurpreneur! Being two of the younger delegates among the talented cohort, we had the most amazing time meeting and learning from other Canadian entrepreneurs. The shift to a digital summit, due to COVID-19, provided us with the unique opportunity to meet like-minded leaders from around the globe to dissect real problems, collaborate on ideas, and foster a community.

During this summit, we learned a lot from the Trade Commissioner Services about how Canadians can better access the world trade network. Through this and the wide range of bilateral meetings, our team made new and notable connections in countries such as Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, United Kingdom, Mexico, and made many friends. Most invaluably, we learned about their markets directly from the source. Due to the very nature of the G20, this summit is perfect for anyone or any company interested in expanding beyond borders.

Since Vimto’s new pivot focuses on emerging markets and elevating small businesses with a user-friendly sales outreach tool, we were appreciative of the opportunity to further test and pivot our model, all while working closely with real-world business owners to learn more. We believe the process of sales does not have to be so time consuming and we want founders and owners to focus on what really matters – their business. We started off Vimto by helping businesses to identify international prospects and setting up their sales funnel. We always had the idea of taking it one step further by actually closing deals for the companies on their behalf. The G20 YEA connected us to companies that helped us to validate this premise.

Our Key Takeaways

One of the more notable outcomes of this experience is a potential partnership with SABIC. Showcasing our teams’ services and strengths, we have plans to travel and meet in-person in KSA this year to build on our virtual connection.

Other wins would come shortly after we attended the summit. For instance, with our better understanding of world trade, we were able to start establishing innovative projects such as WorldTree – Guyana and Fortress Cement in the fastest growing country by GDP per capita. We are assisting with the business development and implementation aspects of these projects and tying them into the Low Carbon Development Strategy for the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. G20 YEA provided us with a little more validation to make these partnerships and agreements possible.

One of our founders is Guyanese; though he was born and raised in Toronto, he spent quite a bit of time in Guyana in his youth. Guyana had the fastest growing economy in 2020 due to its fairly recent oil and natural gas discovery. He always wanted to invest in Guyana, even before the oil boom. Even though we are just starting out, G20 YEA helped open the door to a lifelong goal. We’re excited for 2021.

One of the great moments of the virtual conference happened during the Indian bilateral meeting, where we got the chance to reconnect with the Canadian trade minister to India, HE Annie Dubé. The wildest part: She recognized our founding member Hamza from his trip to Mumbai earlier in 2020, before the global COVID lockdown, when he met with her in person. It was nice to know that the G20 does not just establish new connections, but actually helped to revive and prolong a past connection.

From One Young Entrepreneur to Another

Our G20 YEA journey started on the last day of applications, one hour before midnight. All too familiar with handing in assignments and projects in the 11th hour, we debated on whether to finish the application. It was after a long and exhausting day of meetings, but we decided to shoot for it.

Needless to say, my co-founder and I are very glad we decided to take the leap as young entrepreneurs. The knowledge and connections we have gained have been invaluable, allowing us not only to pivot successfully but to thrive in this chaotic time.

So if you are reading this, and are on the fence about joining the G20 YEA summit, we would highly recommend that you go for it. The Vimto team is looking forward to meeting you next year!

The 2021 G20 YEA, hosted by Italy, will take place October 5-8, 2021. Apply now.

How the G20YEA Summit helped me grow my business and network globally

The 2020 G20YEA young entrepreneurship summit was a great experience and a valuable opportunity to grow my business, Benjamin David Group.

This year’s summit was held in Saudi Arabia, but, given COVID-19, it wasn’t possible to hold the event face-to-face. That didn’t matter, because our Saudi hosts and official G20 YEA Saudi members stepped in and made the event possible by helping us get connected online, and Futurpreneur-led training and trade activities for the Canadian delegation were also held through Zoom.

Before I get into the specifics of the event, I just want to mention that opportunities like this one are available to anyone, but it is important to chase them. To be part of the Canadian delegation, there’s a process to follow with Futurpreneur, the official Canadian member of the G20YEA and leader of our delegation, and an application to submit. I think it’s important to be willing to participate in these things and push ourselves forward on our own entrepreneurial paths.

My journey at the 2020 G20YEA was incredible. I was able to network with young entrepreneurs from different countries and hear keynotes from speakers who are esteemed in their fields. The keynotes were an excellent beginning to the days and gave us practical lessons from industry leaders.

However, I most enjoyed the networking that took place afterwards with the other delegates. Having such a diverse group of entrepreneurs is what really made the 2020 G20YEA special for me. Being able to connect with these people not only opened my business up to new opportunities, but also exposed me to what entrepreneurship looks like globally. Access to both of these incredible opportunities made the journey a great experience overall, despite the complications that the 2020 landscape brought.

My biggest takeaways from the event came from being able to connect and meet with different trade commissioners, who gave us invaluable resources to understand how to do business in different countries. At the same time, we had several opportunities to network amongst ourselves, which opened up a promising business opportunity with another Canadian delegate, Abdaal Mazhar Shafi, partner at Quantum Lead. Just by sharing our industry, specialty and business focus, we were able to connect and start discussing how to work together. Now we are partnering with Quantum Lead to our customers’ benefit by introducing them to the other organization’s dynamic range of services. Our respective businesses also benefit from the chance to cross-sell and the expanded opportunities for operation and growth.

Having the opportunity to connect with another Canadian delegate and understand their focus outside of Canada was invaluable on its own.  But also learning from the trade commissioners themselves about how to explore new markets like the United States really opened my mind about clarifying our goals and better understanding what it takes to expand our service offerings outside of Canada. Achieving this requires a deep understanding of the market as well as a clear plan for how to access it. Through the different touch points and sessions at the event, this business goal became clearer and more achievable.

My other impression of the event was the significant diversity of our delegation. I was very pleased to see so many cultures, backgrounds and strong women making up this year’s delegation. I truly believe that the more diverse forums are, the more holistic the solutions that come from those discussions are, because of the different perspectives seated at the same table.

I’m looking forward to participating at the next summit in Italy and taking advantage of this incredible opportunity to keep expanding my network and business through the G20YEA in whatever form it may take.

For any future aspiring Canadian delegates, my advice is to come with a giving mentality: The more doors you are willing to open for others, the more doors could be opened for you and your business. As a young entrepreneur I have come to realize that running a business depends a lot on excelling and growing in the art of connecting with others. The G20YEA is a great opportunity to not only expand your network, but to better understand the international landscape.

The 2021 G20 YEA, hosted by Italy, will take place October 5-8, 2021. Apply now.

Caren Carrasco is the co-founder of Benjamin David Group.

Black History Month: Celebrating Black business leaders and entrepreneurs

As Canada’s only national non-profit offering financing, mentoring and resources to young entrepreneurs, Futurpreneur is committed to driving inclusive economic prosperity. We strive to empower diverse young entrepreneurs across Canada to build and launch successful businesses.

This February, in honour of Black History Month, we’re shining the spotlight on Black entrepreneurship leaders across the Futurpreneur network. These small business owners, mentors and activists are making a difference in their communities and paving the way for the next wave of young Black entrepreneurs across Canada.

Read their stories:

We will continue to update this page with new stories.

Futurpreneur and the Government of Manitoba team up to support small businesses

Today, Futurpreneur Canada is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Government of Manitoba that will allow us to further our mission of helping young entrepreneurs launch and sustain successful businesses across the province.

The partnership will provide Futurpreneur with $750,000 in new funding over three years, creating an estimated 150 new youth-led businesses and 400 jobs across the province. 

“We’re very grateful for this support from the Government of Manitoba as we increase our efforts to help diverse, young (age 18-39) entrepreneurs launch successful businesses across the province,” says Futurpreneur CEO Karen Greve Young. 

“The businesses we support with our loan financing, mentorship and specialized resources are pillars of their communities, contributing to local economic growth and prosperity, while also creating jobs and fostering the vitality of main streets in communities large and small. Their success will be critical to Canada’s inclusive economic recovery in the months and years ahead.”

The funding is part of the province’s #RestartMB program, which is geared toward boosting the province’s economy in the wake of COVID-19.

This investment will allow Futurpreneur to support even more young entrepreneurs in Manitoba by providing the financingmentorship and resources they need to succeed, helping them join the ranks of other Futurpreneur-supported businesses in the provinceall of whom have seen significant growth despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Wolseley Kombucha (pictured)
After finishing Futurpreneur’s Rock My Business program and signing up for our Start-Up program, Michelle Leclair opened a taproom (Winnipeg’s first-ever “kombuchery”) for her organic kombucha business in January 2020. When COVID-19 hit, Leclair pivoted to online sales. Since then, her business has grown so much, she has plans to expand to other provinces and build a larger production space in the coming months. 

Brows By G
Giovanna Minenna started her eyebrow business from a chair in her condo. After appearing on Dragon’s Den, signing up for Futurpreneur’s Start-Up program and participating in our Growth Accelerator programMinenna and her husband William Russell have expanded the business to two locations with 25 employees and offer training programs across CanadaNow, they’re expanding even further with Futurpreneur’s supportdeveloping a new Browluxe line of microblading products.

Bit Space Development
This Winnipeg-based VR firm recently ranked among the top-10 world’s best virtual-reality- and augmented-reality-development companies. Bit Space has carved out a niche in the construction and manufacturing industries, creating virtual training solutions that safely and remotely prepare workers for hazardous situations. 

Felicheeta Artistry
Makeup artist Felicita Ovadje has long been a fixture in Winnipeg’s beauty community. Her studio, dedicated to championing diversity in the beauty industry and showcasing brands owned by and catering to people of colourlaunched its flagship brick and mortar location in Winnipeg in September 2020, and offers online sales as well.

Community Gym
Billing itself as an inclusive, approachable gym, Community, founded by Aime Seier, opened its doors in the spring of 2019Within two days of the COVID-19 lockdown, the gym brought fitness classes online; less than two weeks later, they developed an online stationary bike and weight rental service, delivering gear straight to gym members’ homes. This fall, they’ve dramatically expanded their class offerings and even launched a collaboration with Lululemon. 

Trainfo’s mission is to solve railroad safety issues by providing realtime updates on railroad crossings and blockages to road users and rail companies. Steady growth since their launch in 2016 has allowed them to shift their focus to the U.S. market and grow their team accordingly. Despite the impact of COVID-19, Trainfo is on track to hire over two dozen team members by year’s end. 

Want to learn more about how Futurpreneur can help launch your dream business? Click here.

G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit: A global opportunity for young entrepreneurs

Looking to meet entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world? Want to shape policy as an ambassador for youth entrepreneurship? Become part of Canada’s delegation at the 2020 G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (G20 YEA) Summit on October 29 and 30.

Before every annual G20 Leaders’ Summit, the G20 YEA brings together hundreds of the world’s top young entrepreneurs to advance youth entrepreneurship as a driver of economic growth, innovation and social change. 

As COVID-19 continues to have a massive impact on the global economy, this year’s summit will be geared toward fostering entrepreneurship as a vital part of the world’s financial recovery. 

The pandemic also means that this year’s summit is going virtual – instead of traveling to the host destination in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, delegations will participate in the summit remotely. Through an innovative virtual platform, delegates will be able to navigate the virtual conference with their own avatar, alongside 500-plus young entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial leaders from across the G20 countries. 

Here’s what awaits at this year’s G20 YEA:

Meet other entrepreneurs from around the globe

G20 YEA delegate Cassandra Pichette.

Cassandra Pichette is a three-time delegate who took part in the 2016 summit in Beijing, the 2018 edition in Buenos Aires and the 2019 edition in Fukuoka, Japan.

“Meeting many people from different fields, backgrounds and living in different parts of the world brought insights and learning that I could not have found elsewhere,” Pichette said.

“For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by entrepreneurial spirits like mine, instilling me with more energy and passion to continue to achieve my biggest goals and never give up!”

Though this year’s summit will be held remotely, the G20 YEA will still offer ample opportunities for learning and networking. This year’s summit activities will include:

  • High-profile keynote speakers 
  • Breakout sessions, panel discussions, focus groups and a pitch competition 
  • Virtual networking opportunities through profile matching and conference navigation 

Additionally, there will be a number of Canadian-exclusive events and panels:

  • Introductions to business development organizations 
  • Meetings with the Trade Commissioner Service, senior government officials and international business associations and services 
  • B2B meetings 
  • Networking events and cultural activities 

Explore the global market

Stephanie Limage (left) was a Canadian delegate at the 2018 G20 YEA in Buenos Aires.

The G20 YEA Summit offers a critical opportunity for young entrepreneurs to advance their businesses, make international connections and explore international growth. 

Stephanie Limage, founder of Futurpreneur-supported business Limage Media Group, was a G20 YEA delegate at the 2018 summit in Buenos Aires.

Through the summit, she says, Limage Media Group “established further connections and formed new partnerships in Argentina with social enterprises and businesses that have allowed us to provide jobs as well as scholarships to emerging writers and journalists, producers, audio and visual artists.”

Limage was able to form a partnership with the Minister of Culture in Buenos Aires, gaining support for their local community outreach operations. “Through this partnership we can access resources, knowledge and the expertise of the local government and its stakeholders to ensure there is no duplication of services while Limage Media Group comes alongside pre-existing community programs,” she said.

Meanwhile, Pichette says she was able to explore international growth opportunities by coming together with other leaders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The summit in Japan opened windows of opportunity through visits to incubators, accelerators, research centres and organizations dedicated to business development, meetings with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, senior officials and foreign business leaders, and B2B meetings with businesses, entrepreneurs, investors and more,” she says.

Delegates at the 2019 G20 YEA in Fukuoka, Japan.

Be heard on important global issues

The Summit offers an important opportunity for young entrepreneurs to become part of a network of champions for youth entrepreneurship, advising global leaders on issues of importance and proposing solutions to global issues.

Through the G20 YEA, delegates organize media appearances and meetings with various stakeholders. For Pichette – whose business, Be-Up, was focused on diverting plastic waste – the G20 YEA was a valuable opportunity to ensure that global leaders were listening to environmental concerns.

“The environment is a major concern in countries around the world, and the G20 provides an important opportunity to be heard by business and political leaders as well as international media,” she said.

Become part of the global COVID-19 recovery

This year’s summit is focused on entrepreneurship as a source of innovation and resilience, with leaders and delegates exploring ways that small businesses can become part of an inclusive, sustainable economic recovery post-COVID-19. 

As a delegate, you will have the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and media, and participate in government relations efforts to advance the G20 YEA’s recommendations on post-COVID recovery.

Apply now!

Ready for a unique opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs, network with business leaders from all over the globe, and shape economic policy? Apply now to be part of the Canadian G20 YEA delegationApplications will be open until September 13, 2020.

Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019


Canada was buzzing with activity this November for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2019, joining more than 170 countries in the largest celebration of entrepreneurship.


GEW 2019 centred around the themes of education, ecosystems, inclusion and policy. Futurpreneur Canada celebrated as the national host with a schedule of digital and in-person events across the country, including the popular annual GEW Community Challenge.


See how we celebrated GEW in Canada.



GEW Community Challenge


Entrepreneurs, small business owners and communities nationwide were invited to participate in the annual Futurpreneur Canada GEW Community Challenge. Members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem were asked to host and register their GEW events to be in the running for the title of The Most Entrepreneurial City in Canada.


Based on the recorded number of GEW-related events hosted per capita, we’re thrilled to announce that The Most Entrepreneurial City in Canada for 2019 is…


Fredericton, New Brunswick


Congratulations to the community of Fredericton on this achievement – a testament to your passion and support of entrepreneurship!


Special mention to Montreal who hosted the most events per city with a total of 50 events during GEW/SME!



2019 Futurpreneur Canada Award Winners


After a record 5,900 votes, we launched GEW 2019 with an announcement of our 2019 Futurpreneur Canada Award Winners. The Futurpreneur-supported entrepreneurs and volunteer mentor were recognized for their leadership, innovation and positive contribution to the entrepreneurship and small business.


Meet our 2019 Award Winners here




Trailblazers: GEW/SME


The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, joined us in Ottawa for our celebration of entrepreneurship at Trailblazers: GEW SME. Hosted at the Shopify HQ, in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada, our trademark speaker series saw some of Ottawa’s leading young entrepreneurs take to the stage to share insights on their business journeys, and the value of fostering inclusion in entrepreneurship.


A huge thanks to our speakers: Nita Tandon of Dalcini Inc., Dr. Shayne Young of Active Health Institute, Maria Rasouli of Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals, and Liz Mok of Moo Shu Ice Cream. Special thanks also to our panel moderator Dorothy Rhau, social entrepreneur and stand-up comedian.







Coinciding with GEW, Financial Literacy Month in November gave us the opportunity to share key knowledge and insights for financial management as business owners in our digital Instagram TV series, #GetFinLit.


Featured guests and topics included:


When Are You Financially Ready To Launch A Business?

Carolyn Crewe and Josh Beitel, Duckish Natural Skincare



Comment maintenir un bon score de crédit?

Taïna DiNapoli, Di Napoli Café



Tools to Manage Your Business Finances

Tariq Al-Barwani, Plentea



How a Financial Management Tool Can Help Your Business

Melika Hope, Intuit QuickBooks Canada



Watch the series here



Social Enterprise Stories


We were excited to partner with Enactus Canada and League of Innovators for a special GEW event in Vancouver, Social Enterprise Stories.


Futurpreneur-supported Blyth Gill, owner and founder of zero-waste, circular clothing service, Tradle, joined a panel of local small business owners who have used their entrepreneurial acumen and drive for social impact in their “real-world” work.




Rendez-vous Réseau M 2019


In Montreal we partnered with Réseau M for Rendez-vous Réseau M 2019. Futurpreneur Canada’s G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (YEA) Sherpa, Mégane Visette, along with G20YEA Alumni and thriving entrepreneur, Alexandra Hamel, took to the stage to talk about growing internationally and representing Quebec entrepreneurship on the global stage.



Pitch Perfect


New and aspiring entrepreneurs gathered at Spaces Queen West in Toronto for Pitch Perfect, a pitch competition with a chance for two businesses to win a $1,000 cash prize, thanks to our partner TruShield Insurance.


After two rounds of pitches, we congratulated Afnan Attia of soon-to-launch Snuggles n Bubbles, and Max Gajdel of booming business Stan A.I.




Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019!